7 Suggestions for Coping with Valentine’s Day Grief

7 Suggestions for Coping with Valentine’s Day Grief

It doesn’t take a special day to trigger a strong grief response when you’ve lost a loved one. If you’re on a grief journey, you know that the smallest things can reopen a deep wound. However, holidays can pose a particular challenge. Valentine’s Day grief can be especially powerful when you’ve lost your significant other because it’s a holiday centered around togetherness, love, and romantic relationships. Try as you might, it’s impossible to completely avoid all the associated marketing and triggers, too.

If you find yourself in the throes of Valentine’s Day grief as you navigate the death of your spouse or partner, try the healthy coping mechanisms below.

1. Throw Out the Rule Book

There is so much societal pressure surrounding grief, isn’t there? Many people feel the need to put on a brave face to mask Valentine’s Day grief, while others may feel guilty if they smile or enjoy themselves at any point in the day. So, first things first: stop trying to follow a societal rule book on grief. Save yourself the energy and anxiety, and just do you on Valentine’s Day.

2. Journal Through Your Grief Response

Journaling is a common suggestion for anyone experiencing grief because it brings many benefits. Whether you’re putting pen to paper or your fingers to the keyboard, putting your feelings into words can make them begin to feel more manageable. Remember that anything you write is for your eyes only, so let your writing be raw and real. If you need a prompt to help you get started, list the various feelings associated with your Valentine’s Day grief and then ask yourself why you think you’re feeling each one. You might also choose to write about a fond memory from a past Valentine’s Day, or how you and your significant other would be spending the day if they were still alive.

3. Do a Symbolic Burial

When we’ve lost someone that we love deeply, we often attach immense importance to physical mementos that remind us of them. Some people gain a sense of comfort and healing from Valentine’s Day grief by burying such an item in the ground in a private ceremony of love and remembrance. If you aren’t ready to say goodbye to your most cherished items, consider burying a copy of a special photograph instead. Doing so can feel like a special way to say goodbye to the relationship you shared, while acknowledging the love you still feel.

4. Focus on Your Physical Health

Any kind of intense emotions, including Valentine’s Day grief, can be exhausting. For some people, it may be easier to attempt to “turn off” both heart and mind by focusing on the physical body instead. It can be difficult to take care of your physical health needs as you grieve anyway, so look at Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to focus on getting rest, eating healthful foods, exercising, or even scheduling that check-up you’ve been putting off.

5. Practice Functional Coping

Many times, we think of “coping” as something both active and positive. Indeed, there are a few examples of such coping mechanisms on this list. However, “coping” is whatever you do to get through the day. If the way you choose to cope with Valentine’s Day grief isn’t a thing of beauty ready to be posted on social media, that’s okay. If getting through the day means setting up camp on the couch and mindlessly watching FRIENDS all day, know that it’s perfectly acceptable to do what feels right for you.

6. Wallow

Here’s the truth: your functional coping for Valentine’s Day grief might look like a tried-and-true pity party. You’ve been through something very challenging and, whether your loss is fresh or whether it happened a decade ago, you have permission to feel sad, lonely, angry, scared, or anything else you feel. Believe it or not, it’s okay to wallow in those feelings for a day, too. So, don’t deny yourself the chance to fully sit in your feelings on Valentine’s Day. They are valid, and you aren’t likely to find peace or healing by trying to ignore them anyway.

7. Create a Meaningful Memorial

It may feel helpful to channel your Valentine’s Day grief into a lasting memorial for your departed spouse or partner. Consider busying yourself on the holiday by creating an online memorial website to honor your special person. Online memorials offer a lasting, meaningful way to remember anyone you have loved and lost. You can choose to keep your memorial website as a private tribute, or you can share it with friends and family. An online memorial is a central location to share photos, videos, stories, and memories. However, they mean much more than that. These personalized websites are a safe space where you can gain comfort through honoring your special person as you continue the hard work of healing. They are an ever-present and easily accessed reminder of your loved one’s life, loves, and legacy. You can learn more about ForeverMissed’s easy-to-use memorial website templates here.

Navigating Valentine’s Day grief may be a process you revisit every year, and you may choose to cope differently during various seasons of your life. Remember that your grief is valid, you are capable of overcoming the challenges of this holiday, and there are brighter days ahead.

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