Avoiding the Slings and Arrows of Valentine’s Day

The day of hearts and roses is approaching. If you’re divorced or headed in that direction, re-envisioning the way you consider this Hallmark holiday could save you a lot of heartache. Here are five strategies to consider.

1. Play Cupid: Make a list of all the people who you appreciate — from your next door neighbors who waters your plants when you’re out of town, to your best friend who lives in Tokyo — and send them little missives to brighten their days. No need to spend a fortune. A box of classic Valentines like the ones you gave friends in grade school will suffice.

2. Treat Yourself: There’s no need to wait on someone else to give you a Valentine. Buy yourself flowers and a box of your favorite candy. Or splurge on a massage or pedicure. On a budget? No problem. Send the kids to grandma’s and pamper yourself with a nice, warm bath, a nutritious meal, and a good night’s sleep. Feeling low?  Make the ultimate demonstration of self-love and care, by scheduling a Valentine’s Day appointment with your therapist.

3. Set Aside the Bow and Arrow: Even if you think you’re “over” your marriage, Valentine’s Day may stir up emotions, making it a minefield of resentments. Consider calling a truce for the day. If your relationship is contentious, resolve to keep Valentine’s Day a no-conflict zone. If necessary, limit communication on that day to avoid unpleasant exchanges with your soon-to-be-ex.

4. Be Heart Smart: Sometimes we make things harder on ourselves by revisiting memories of Valentine’s past. If your feeling blue, do yourself a favor and don’t listen to your Pandora “Love Songs” station. Likewise, skip the Netflix marathon of romantic classic movies like When Harry Met Sally or Love Actually.  In fact, while you’re in the throes of divorce, seek out upbeat tunes and films that inspire a positive outlook. Likewise, if your ex has moved on, resist the urge to check out his social media accounts to see how he and his new Valentine are celebrating the day.

5. Share the Love: Nothing defuses a pity party faster than focusing your attention on someone else in need. Consider dropping off Valentine’s to your local veteran’s hospital, retirement or nursing home. Putting your own loss into perspective may help you get through this tough time.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is commercial holiday. It doesn’t have to have weight or meaning in your life. You can choose to celebrate or ignore it. And next year may be a different story altogether.