Valentine’s Day is approaching. It’s a day when we celebrate love with those we love. Yet many people dread this holiday because they are still single and feeling very lonely and isolated. These feelings may be heightened, or experienced for the first time in a while especially if you are going through a transition. You may be recently separated or divorced from your long time partner. Or maybe , even if not single, your partner may be experiencing a health issue such as Alzheimer’s or dementia and this leaves you , the caregiver, feeling very alone and isolated.
In speaking with my clients and friends, I know that there are no guarantees when it comes to any relationship. Relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners/spouses can end at any time, and for any number of reasons. Therefore, one of the best relationships you can nurture in your lifetime is your relationship with yourself. For in the end, you are the only person you are guaranteed to be with for the rest of your life.
When you are creating a healthy self- love or self-care relationship, it is important to have a good support network around you, or as I call it, a posse. In my practice, I advise clients to maintain various types of friendships. I discuss the 5 types of friends we should all have in my book “Do One Thing Feel Better/ Live Better”. I also encourage my clients to engage in various activities that bring them joy on as regular a basis as they can. Yes, I practice what I preach!
I strongly advise my clients to practice self-acceptance and self-love. I don’t personally know anyone who is 100% satisfied with every aspect of themselves. But I do encourage everyone to start with those things about themselves that they do like and build from there. Another way to start to appreciate , value and love yourself more is to consider qualities that you find appealing in others, whether they are your family members, friends, or past romantic partners. Look to see if you too possess any of those qualities in yourself. And if so, and you can love others unconditionally not only because of all their “good” but with their flaws, then develop a stronger state of self-love for yourself based on the same criteria.
If this holiday finds you sad, grieving, and lonely or feeling isolated, some tips to distract you are as follows:
- Find a way to pamper yourself. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive.
- Volunteer for a local organization that serves all the less fortunate
- Perform a random act of kindness (or two, or three…)
- Make plans with someone you know who is going through a similar difficult time
In being kinder to yourself, or opening up your heart with compassion for others, or just sharing with another in similar circumstances, you improve your chances of getting through this holiday with less melancholia. And if you have no contraindications to doing so, there is nothing that says a little chocolate treat can’t be tossed in at some point in your day.
Wishing you health and living your best life.