If you’ve recently lost a spouse, partner, or significant other, you may be experiencing loneliness on Valentine’s Day. And that’s completely normal and to be expected. Your natural inclination may be to sit at home and just try to deal with your loneliness. However, to make the day easier on yourself mentally and emotionally, here are a few activities to consider that may help you make it through the day feeling more engaged and less lonely.
1. Schedule a Self-Care Day
Give yourself a little love this year by scheduling self-care activities on Valentine’s Day. By doing so, you not only get out of the house, but you also have a chance to treat yourself to things that bring you joy. For example, you could schedule a massage (foot, back, full body, whatever you prefer). Or you could get a manicure, pedicure, or facial.
Alternatively, you could choose to focus on your spirit and attend a retreat or educational conference. Simply choose something that relaxes you and makes you feel recharged. And if you’d like to invite a friend to join you, do so!
2. Make Plans with Friends
A second option for combatting loneliness on Valentine’s Day is to make plans to spend the day or evening with friends. By including other people in your day, Valentine’s Day won’t feel as lonely because you won’t be alone. Instead, you will laugh, talk, and deepen your connection to the important people in your life.
You could go out to dinner at your favorite spot. Plan a road trip. Go to the movies and see the most action-packed movie possible (no rom-coms allowed). Scope out a good place to hike and enjoy the outdoors. Head to the golf course, the local fishing hole, or the new axe-throwing joint. Or you can poll the group and ask each person to choose an activity and make a full day of it!
3. Volunteer with your Favorite Charity
Studies show that volunteering decreases loneliness and social isolation while also improving your physical well-being. So, take time out this Valentine’s Day to volunteer at a charity close to your heart. And if you’ve never volunteered before, that’s fine. With a little advance planning, you can get signed up with a local organization that’s in need of your help.
You could volunteer at an animal shelter, tutor kids, help with the homeless, build homes with Habitat for Humanity, sit with the elderly, or deliver meals with Meals on Wheels. There are so many volunteer opportunities to choose from and each one will introduce you to new faces and new passions.
4. Exchange Valentines with Friends
Do you remember exchanging valentines in elementary school? You can do the same with your friend group this Valentine’s Day. Think of it like a Secret Santa gift exchange. You could draw names and each person gets one gift. Alternatively, you could draw inspiration from grade school and each design your own valentine box and place it on your porch. Then, throughout the day, your friend group can drop cards and treats into the box at each other’s homes.
If you’d prefer to exchange in person, you can always have a valentine brunch or dinner where valentines are given and received. You could create your own cards or grab one of those packs from the store. The point is, by exchanging with your friends, you still get the love, support, and chocolate that comes with the day and you will feel less lonely.
5. Sign Up for a Group Activity
If you’re new to the area or just like to try new things, you could sign up for a group activity on Valentine’s Day. You could do a fitness class, a painting class, an educational course, a walking group, a dance class, a wine club – wherever your interests lie. With group activities, you have the chance to meet new people while also learning a new skill or indulging a passion. What a lovely evening it would be! You just might meet your new best friend.
6. Stay Off Social Media for the Day
With social media, we’re connected to more people than ever before. While that can be good on some days, on others it becomes a curse. If you are struggling with loneliness this Valentine’s Day or are simply missing your special person, it can be painful to see so many others celebrating their own love stories. While you are certainly happy for them, it doesn’t mean you want to be confronted with your own loneliness so openly.
If you struggle seeing others’ social posts, consider staying off social media for 3-4 days surrounding the holiday. This way, you won’t be bombarded with posts and can protect your own mental and emotional health. Even after 4 days, you may see a post or two pop up in your newsfeed, but you will avoid the thick of it.
Remember to Honor Your Feelings
While these 6 activities will help you combat loneliness on Valentine’s Day, it’s important not to ignore what you’re feeling. There are going to be times throughout the day when you feel down or deeply miss your special person. When these feelings come, don’t be discouraged. This is completely normal and natural.
Take a moment to honor your feelings. If you need to cry, scream, or journal what you’re feeling, do that. It may also help to find a way to honor your loved one’s memory on Valentine’s Day. By doing so, you honor the love you two shared in a special way. For a few ideas on ways you could honor your loved one’s memory, go to Honor Your Loved One this Valentine’s Day. May you find hope and connection this Valentine’s Day even as you mourn the loss of someone dearly loved.