Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to celebrating love and romance — couples shower each other with chocolates, flowers, and gifts and remind their partners that they are loved. However, if your “happily-ever-after” recently ended and you are going through a divorce or a hard breakup, the holiday can be especially difficult.
The day can serve as a reminder of the heartbreak and failed relationship, and the feelings of loneliness and unhappiness can easily transition into a deep depression, especially if you already struggle with mental health. Here are some tips to help maintain positive mental health after a breakup
Whatever the reason for the breakup, or whoever initiated it, it doesn’t matter. A breakup is difficult regardless and can leave those involved with feelings of loneliness, embarrassment, guilt, confusion, and sadness, among many others. This is normal and it’s ok to accept your emotions and take some time, but it’s also important to watch for symptoms of depression and seek help if you think you may be suffering.
If your symptoms last for more than a few weeks and include weight loss or weight gain, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, sleeping too much or too little, or thoughts of death, see a doctor immediately. It may be beneficial to speak to a professional or join a support group and learn healthy coping methods.
2. Focus on Other Relationships
Valentine’s Day is about all kinds of love and not just to celebrate couples. Lean on your close friends and family members during this time and talk to them about your feelings. Leaning on the shoulder of a loved one will help you realize that you are not alone, even if your breakup made you feel as if you were.
If you anticipate Valentine’s Day being hard for you, spend it with ones you care about. Take your parents or siblings out for dinner, host a “Galentine’s Day” party with your girlfriends, or join the guys to watch tv and order takeout. Spending the day with friends and family can serve as a much-needed distraction and give you an outlet to vent and remove the weight off your chest. Even after February 14, making plans with those closest to you and putting them as a top priority in your life can be very beneficial and therapeutic. Build new friendships and reconnect with old friends.
3. Care for Yourself
In the wake of a bad breakup, it can be easy to slip into a new routine of unhealthy habits. You may not see the need to look your best for anyone, opting to forgo showering, brushing your teeth and hair, and dressing. Your feelings of sadness may take a toll on your sleep schedule and diet, and can even impact your performance at work and other relationships.
Focusing on your physical health is essential to addressing your mental health. Make it a point to eat healthy, stay active, get quality sleep, and maintain good hygiene. Avoid turning to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes as a means of coping. Feeling good physically will help your emotional state as well.
4. Explore Your Interests
During a marriage or a long-term relationship, it is common to compromise your interests and hobbies to instead pursue ones that you as a couple enjoy doing together. You may have put aside your love for painting to spend more time with your partner going on dates or forgotten about the joy biking brought you, but it’s important to find yourself again apart from that individual.
Now is the time to be selfish. If you want to travel to a new city, book the ticket. If you want to learn a new skill, sign up for a cooking class. If you’ve been considering a new look, cut your hair. This is your time to find what makes you happy.
5. Plan for the Future
While to some, the end of a relationship means their plans for the future have been ruined, but looking at a breakup as a new beginning instead of as an end is crucial. A serious couple may have talked about a future with a wedding and married spouses may have dreamed about owning a bigger home or traveling in retirement together. But just because a relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t mean those dreams won’t either.
With a breakup comes new opportunities and the freedom to follow your own dreams. Many people don’t like change, but change can be a good thing. Consider your own wants for the future and make a plan for how and when you will achieve them. Research your dream job openings, make a wish-list for your ideal home, and trust the journey.
At the time, a recent breakup can feel like the worst thing to happen, but eventually, you will realize that it may just be the opposite. You shouldn’t stay in a relationship that you aren’t happy in and focusing on your other relationships and the person you want to become afterwards, can do yourself a big favor.