10 Ways to Spend Valentine's Day When You're Newly Divorced

Valentine’s day is both loved and hated; It is viewed as a celebration of love and an over commercialized non-holiday. Whatever your feelings are, it can be difficult to face the onslaught of hearts and romance when you are still feeling the sting of divorce. When it seems like everyone around you is in love, feelings of loneliness and inadequacy may become amplified. During this time it is important to take care of yourself and do things that make you feel good and happy. Here are 10 feel good ways to celebrate valentine’s day this year.

1. Friendship day

In Finland February 14th is known as friendship day. Declarations of love to significant others are viewed as out of place. They instead exchange small gifts with friends and celebrate their friendships. There are no hearts or red and pink themes, they instead focus on what the friend would like and exchange unique and personal gifts. If you want to avoid the hearts and the teddy bears, celebrate as the Finnish do and show your friends how much they mean to you. You could send them cards telling them how grateful you are for their friendship, or surprise them with little gifts. Alternatively, if you have a few single friends you could arrange to celebrate friendship day together and plan a gift exchange.

2. Volunteer

Spend Valentine’s day giving back to your community and people who are less fortunate. If you’re feeling down about yourself and your situation, nothing can help you gain perspective like dedicating your time to people in need can. You could go to a soup kitchen, or spend time at an animal shelter. You could go to an old age home and spend time with people who have lost their significant others, or don’t get many visitors. By focusing on brightening someone else’s day you will inadvertently be bettering yours as well.  

3. Pamper yourself

On valentine’s day you want to feel loved and important. There’s no better person to provide those feelings than you. Focusing on self love on valentine’s day can be a great way to help yourself heal and move forward. Treat yourself like you always wished your Ex would; buy yourself flowers and chocolate, spend the day at the spa, cook yourself a fancy dinner, etc. Do what makes you feel good.

4. Make time for your favourite things

Have you always wanted to take a pottery class? Or start learning Italian? Maybe you like to paint and haven’t touched your brushes in ages. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to try or love to do and never have time for, dedicate valentine's day to that. Focus on doing the things you love and dedicate more time to them then you’d usually ever let yourself. Plan ahead and make valentine’s day something to be excited for. Rather than dreading the day and all that comes with it, make it something to look forward to.

5. Splurge 

One benefit to being single on valentine’s day is that you don’t have to worry about spending on a pricey dinner or buying someone else a gift. You can instead save the money or spend it on yourself. Put it away towards a trip or a new car; something you’re saving towards. Or splurge and buy yourself those new shoes or that nice wallet. Focus on yourself and what you want.

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6. Spend the day with your kids

If you have kids valentine’s day can be a great day to spend with them. As a child valentine’s day is about making crafts and giving a valentine to everyone in your class. It’s less about love and more about fun and friendships. You can spend the day making valentine’s crafts and baking, or take them out on a “date” and do dinner and a movie. Focusing on your children and celebrating the love you have for them, will keep any feelings of loneliness at bay and remind you of what really matters in your life.

If you don’t have children of your own you could offer to babysit for a couple that does, and let them go out for the night. You’ll feel good for helping out a friend and have lots of fun playing with their kids.

7. Throw an anti-valentine's day party

If you can't get past the bitter feelings you have towards valentine's day an alternative to celebrating it, is protesting everything it stands for. If you know a few other single people who don’t have plans you could throw an anti-valentine’s day party. You can take a page from Valentine’s Day the movie and beat up a heart shaped piñata, or you could put on some rom-coms and bash all of the people in love and the unrealistic expectations they set for real people. Getting together with friends and indulging all the negative emotions that you're feeling can be very cathartic.

8. Go to a singles event 

If you feel you’re ready to get back into dating, or just want to see what’s out there, you could go to a singles event. Most cities will have several different singles events going on on valentine’s day, from mixers at bars to speed dating. This can be a fun low risk way to put yourself out there and meet new people. At worst you’ll feel good for trying and not staying home, but at best you could meet the love of your life and come out with a new perspective on valentine’s day.  

9. Laugh

As the saying goes “laughter is the best medicine.” If you’re feeling down one of the best things you could do for yourself is to laugh. You could call up old friends that you know always have a great time with and plan a fun night out. You could also spend the evening at a comedy show or stay in and watch hilarious movies. Enjoying yourself and having fun are the key to lifting the negative feelings you have surrounding valentine’s day.

10. Ignore it altogether

The final option you have is to ignore the day altogether and treat it like any other day. It technically isn’t even a holiday; everyone still has to go to work and carry on with regular responsibilities. So, if you don’t feel like celebrating or even acknowledging that it is valentine’s day then you don’t have to. You can carry on with your regular routine and let the “holiday” pass unnoticed.

However you choose to spend this valentine’s day try to focus on the love that you do have in your life and remain optimistic for the future. If you do struggle though, forgive yourself for not always keeping it together and seek help when you’re ready. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or other forms of support.