Newly Divorced? Here’s How to Survive Your First Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday for anyone who is single. If you’re recently divorced or separated, February 14th can be an especially heartbreaking day. Rather than dreading Valentine’s Day each year, it is possible to experience a mostly peaceful, positive day. Here’s some advice to make the most of the day, even if you’re newly divorced or separated.

Celebrate your friendships

Take time this Valentine’s Day to honor the friends in your life who loved you and supported you through your divorce. There are a variety of ways to honor these supportive people in your life, whether by writing and mailing heartfelt “thank you” cards or by hosting a party at your house in their honor. Many divorcees are now holding Divorce Parties, a ceremony celebrating the end of a marriage or civil union. Your friends will most likely know you need support during this difficult holiday, and there’s a chance you might even have some single friends who will greatly appreciate being invited to come be social rather than sitting at home by themselves on Valentine’s Day.

Celebrate with your children

If you have children with your ex-spouse, chances are this holiday will be difficult for the kids, too. Now is the perfect time for creating new family traditions by making Valentine’s Day a family holiday. Celebrate the love between yourself and your child or children. Take them to a movie, go out to dinner, play a board game, or spend time doing a special activity that you all enjoy. Whatever you may choose, there are countless ways to make the day easier for all of you.

Celebrate Singles Awareness Day

If all the couples you know are out celebrating Valentine’s Day, consider celebrating a new holiday just for singles like yourself. February 14th is sometimes celebrated as Singles Awareness Day (SAD) and there’s nothing “sad” about it. Even homemaker website has started backing the growing holiday trend.

Celebrate another holiday instead

The good folks of New Orleans have the right idea. Since Valentine’s Day often falls around the same time as Mardi Gras, many people are choosing to celebrate Mardi Gras instead. Another option is to celebrate Brazilian Carnival – which also occurs around the same time as Valentine’s Day. In fact, Brazilians don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day during the month of February at all; they celebrate Carnival first and wait until June to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even if you can’t make it to New Orleans or Brazil, chances are that there is a local bar, club or event venue in your area having a Mardi Gras- or Carnival-themed party. Grab a fun and festive outfit and a colorful mask, and prepare to dance the night away in style!

Celebrate by giving back

One of the best ways to feel a sense of gratitude and fulfillment is by giving back to your community. By helping others in need this Valentine’s Day, you’ll feel a sense of purpose and take pride in knowing you’ve done a good deed. Some ideas: volunteer time at a local homeless or an animal shelter, visit an elderly relative, or babysit for a friend so they can enjoy their holiday. As inspirational speaker Anthony Robbins says, “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.”

In conclusion: even if you’ve recently divorced, it is possible to make it through Valentine’s Day without feeling stressed, sad or depressed. This Valentine’s Day, try to surround yourself with supportive people, celebrate love in all the ways it manifests in your life, and remain focused on rebuilding your life. Above all else, know that you don’t have to go through this alone – and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

About the Author

Michelle Peterson has been in recovery for several years. She started to help eliminate the stigma placed on those who struggle with addiction.