Tips to Help Widows and Widowers Feel Better on Valentine’s Day

Here are some commendations to help people who have lost a spouse or partner handle the challenges of facing Valentine’s Day without their loved one:

1. Do something special with a friend
This is a good time to rely on your emotional support system and contact a friend to meet for coffee, a meal, or to take a walk with you. Try to be around people who can make you happy and feel comfortable. It can be a lot easier to get through this day when you visit with someone instead of spending it alone. You might even want to use this as an opportunity to share with your friend some pleasant memories about your loved one.

2. Pamper yourself
Sometimes you haveto be your own Valentine. Give yourself permission to indulge yourself. If that means getting a pedicure, reading a book whenyou would normally feel compelled to take care of household business, or binging on your favorite TV series—make that happen.

3. Write a letter to your loved one
There are probably many things you want to tell this person and regret that he or she isn’t here to listen. Consider getting those feelings out of your head and down on paper. Write a letter and describe what’s going on in your life. Ask questions. Then, if you’re able to do this, contemplate how your spouse or partner would respond, and consider writing a letter from that person to you. This approach can be healing if you’re comfortable going through this process.

4. Volunteer
It’s amazing how good you can feel when you are able to help someone else. Think about a cause you believe in and contemplate signing up as a volunteer now for a future event. Or, do something special to help someone you know who needs assistance. It could be something as simple as making a meal, running an errand, or walking their dog.

5. Turn off the news
Sometimes no news is good news. You may not feel like hearing about the latest health crisis, weather disaster, or other topic that can create negative emotions on Valentine’s Day. So, step away from watching TV news and select an upbeat program that can bring a smile to your face.

It’s difficult being bombarded with ads and reminders on Valentine’s Day of the value of having a loving relationship after you’ve lost your spouse or partner. You can’t change that holiday, but you can do something different on that day that could be comforting.