It will not be news to many of you that valentine’s day can feel like a difficult time of year. It could be that you are single and want to be in a relationship, have gone through a break up, experienced the death of a loved one, or are in a relationship that is struggling at present. Consequently, this time of year can accentuate feelings that something is missing.
First, this is normal. Congratulate yourself on being normal.
Here are some more thoughts on bits and bobs that could help, along with knowing you’re normal:
It’s okay to struggle today. Allow those feelings to be there. For some, ‘turning the holiday around’ and focusing on ideas such as self-care and friendship, can help (see point 3). However, it could be that expressions like ‘self-care’, ‘be kind to yourself’ and ‘this too, shall pass’ make you want to scream, throw things, panic or feel even worse . . . and that’s also okay. Sometimes the kindest and most useful thing you can do for yourself is to be where you are and not attempt to force yourself to be anywhere else.
You can be kind about how you go about this – e.g. drinking to drown those feelings, obsessive social media stalking, and finding someone to take it out on . . . Not so kind to yourself. However, finding inanimate and safe objects to punch, having a good cry and talking to someone can be useful tools.
If you choose to talk to someone you know, try saying something along the lines of . . . “If it’s okay with you, I’m going to talk about how crappy I feel . . . and it’s not because I want any advice or feedback, it’s just that listening would be so appreciated and just what I need right now”.
Alternately, if you don’t want to speak to someone you know, counselling can be a useful tool for this. The objectivity and separateness of a counsellor is one of the key reasons why the practice works in the way that it does. It’s a space where you can go and release any feelings you have without anxiety about the impact this release will have on the other person.
Is Valentine’s the ‘trigger’ as opposed to the problem? What I mean by this is, are the feelings that come up for you on this holiday pointing you towards a feeling or feelings that are in fact ‘around’ for you at other times of the year? Or perhaps, seemingly ‘present’ all the time?
The good thing about this is it’s not actually Valentine’s Day that’s the issue! it’s just that you try to ‘shove these feelings away and get on with things’ or something akin to this the rest of the time.
As a result, Valentine’s Day has ‘triggered ‘up something that you are trying to ignore. If you feel able, pay attention. . . As in Point 1, rather than ignoring the emotions try ‘allowing’ them instead . . . They are important indicators about ‘what’s really going on’. What can your feelings tell you about what you want? What you are missing? What the root problem really is?
Refocusing your attention on this day could be helpful. Point 1 may be useful for you, but it may be that you are in a different space and a focus away from allowing is exactly what you’re after. Instead you want a Valentines that feels good for you. You choose yourself. You choose a relationship with yourself first. Here’s some ideas on how this could look:
- What do your best mornings and best evenings look like? How could you incorporate these elements into more mornings and evenings to make them look like this?
- What would it be like to charge your phone overnight in a room that isn’t your bedroom?
- How could you improve your office environment? Or your journey to work?
- Do you have transition moments between customers, clients, colleague interactions? How could you improve those?
- Perspective – as with Christmas, concepts and ideas about this day being ‘perfect’ for everyone else can creep in. Thoughts such as; “everybody else is in a happy relationship” and “I am the only miserable person today” or “I am the only single person around today”. These thoughts can get out of perspective and are fictions of the mind as opposed to fact. Everybody else is not in an amazing relationship and you are not the only single person currently, nor the only unhappy one. Try to pull back from this drainpipe of spiralling thoughts.
- Going back to Point 2 . . . What is how you are feeling telling you about what’s important to you? Maybe you feel ready for a game plan about working towards whatever this is . . .
Finally . . . Who do you love? Not necessarily romantically, any kind of love . . . Those people are in your life. Let them know. Post them a card, send them a message via phone.
Celebrate those you love. Then also choose yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day!