Is it really already time for Valentine’s Day? Do you wish to avoid it altogether but don’t know how? If it’s the first time in a long time that you are without a partner at this time of year, take advantage of the opportunity to make it about you! Although it may seem unlikely there is anything you can do but hide under a rock until it passes, there is another way.
1. First, recognize this time will be different and, likely, include sadness. But don’t view the past before separation or divorce with rose-colored glasses. Sorting out expectations for this largely Hallmark holiday may have made you a little despondent, or even angry, in past years too. Now, of course, it’s different, and you perhaps feel more isolated or even a loss of identity while going through divorce. But different can be good if you make the decision to create a mindset to take care of yourself. The advantage, this year, may be that you have some time to yourself to decide what you want and need, whether it’s time to be alone or surrounded by people you love. But how? Your budget may be tight and your spirits low. Recognize your mood and take action!
2. Do you love bubble baths but never have time for them when the kids are home? That’s a low-cost way to indulge. And maybe light a candle (or three) too.
3. And, by the way, let’s not forget the pleasure you may need. What do you enjoy that you may have forgotten in your years with a partner? Whether it’s taking a hike, chatting with a friend, or taking a drive in the country, make time and space to do it – for you!
4. After the bath, think about next moves in comfy sweats and an achingly cozy cashmere hoodie. Take a walk if you can and contemplate options as you soak in any nature you can find. Let your mind wander or simply breathe in what you see. Adding a gentle yoga or meditation class right now may make you feel more centered and calm. And it may be comforting to watch a favorite movie from your past that reminds you your life is more than just this moment and that choices, and surprises, await.
5. When it’s time to eat, think of what you most enjoy rather than your children or former partner’s preferences. You may want to bake or buy a few of these indulgences for yourself and maybe have a few inexpensive gift items on hand too. Once you’ve done the work of you, make the plans you choose: when to be with company and what time to spend alone. With a renewed sense of what matters to you, make plans accordingly!
The point is to be good to yourself during this time, not just on Valentine’s Day, and remember that what you need, during or after divorce, matters more than ever right now. If you have children, recognizing what you enjoy, who you are, and want to be now while showing up for them as that person will be powerful role modeling. Showing your children and yourself that you can cope with change, even become a bit stronger and more resilient in the process, will set a terrific example for them well into the future. You matter, and remembering that during a time of adversity will serve you well into the future.