6 ways to cope with Valentine’s Day right after a break-up, according to experts

source
Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection
  • The hype of Valentine’s Day can be tough for all singles, but especially for people who’ve recently experienced a break-up.
  • Insider spoke to five relationship experts on the best ways for newly single people to cope with the holiday.
  • They said to remember that love is not just romantic: friends, family, personal space, and self-care are all forms of love in your life worth celebrating.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Valentine’s Day can be a hard time for many single people. With seemingly-never-ending stream of images happy couples on your Instagram feed, reruns of old romantic comedies on TV, and buzz from coworkers about their romantic plans with their partners, the day can leave people feeling particularly lonely.

But the Valentine’s Day FOMO (fear of missing out) can be even worse for people who have recently gotten out of relationships.

“Breaking up can be difficult, and given the hype that is often attributed to this day, recently losing a partner can have people more in their feelings about a break-up versus if the break-up happened at some other time of the year,” Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown, a New York-based clinical psychologist and founder of Renewed Focus, told Insider.

Insider spoke to five relationship experts on their advice for how newly-single people can cope with the holiday.


Make plans with your friends.

source
Maha Rose

Valentine’s Day can make people feel especially lonely if they have recently gotten out of a relationship, so it’s import for people to reach out for help when they need it. Friends and family can be great for providing support and love on February 14.

“Even though you feel like you might be a burden because you’re feeling so beat down, maybe bruised by this ending of a relationship, I would definitely suggest to reach out to the people that know you, that understand what you might be dealing with,” Anisah Miley, a New York-based licensed clinical social worker, told Insider.

Remember that love is not just romantic, it encompasses platonic love, too. Flip Valentine’s Day into a “Pal-entine’s Day” celebration of friendship.

“Love comes in many forms and our society is overly obsessed with the hallmark idea of romantic love,” Joanne Davies, a clinical hypnotherapist, told Insider. “Even if most of your friends are in relationships, there is a good chance they’d love an excuse not to have to subscribe to the cliched idea of what the night should look like.”


Treat yourself to some self-care.

source
MJTH/Shutterstock

Converting the day into an excuse for a night of self-care can also be a great way for someone to show themself some love.

“Take some advice from Lizzo ‘I’m my own soulmate. I know how to love me,'” Davies said. “Go all out. Get your house and yourself ready with the same love and attention you would if you were expecting a hot date.”

Taking a hot bath, journaling, and treating yourself to some good food are all ways people can celebrate themselves on the day.


Start a new Valentine’s Day tradition.

source
Pixabay/Creative Commons

Rather than feeling obligated to participate in the conventional dinner and date with someone, start new traditions to help associate positive memories with the day.

“Sometimes Valentine’s Day is overwhelmed with dinners, hearts, flowers, and candies,” Robinson-Brown told Insider. “Perhaps do something fun and different and start a new tradition like giving blood, going to a workout class, attending a concert or an event.”


Be mindful of the media you expose yourself to.

source
Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock

Break-ups can be even harder now that social media makes it so difficult to avoid seeing people. It’s important to be mindful when you scroll through your timeline on Valentine’s Day.

“Stay away from your ex’s social media as this may be a trigger especially if that individual is out doing something or has seemingly moved on,” Robinson-Brown said.

This message extends to all kinds of media: even your cable line-up and Netflix queue may be littered with Valentine’s Day-themed movies and shows.

“Be careful of how you’re consuming all types of media,” Miley said. “It’s that day that’s filled with those Instagram posts, the people who on this day, the most important day for love, the best things that are happening in their love lives, and that could hurt.”


Reengage in old activities or hobbies.

source
Richard Drury/Getty Images

Getting back into old hobbies that brought you joy but may have been de-prioritized during your relationship can be an extremely productive way to focus on what really brings you joy and love.

“Think about the things that may have been pushed aside or deprioritized while in a relationship and potentially engage in some of those activities,” Robinson-Brown told Insider.


Recognize that it’s OK to not feel OK.

source
Tetra Images/Getty Images

Ultimately, break-ups are a hard grieving period, and like with any grieving period, it’s important to let yourself feel the hurt.

“The first step is recognizing that something has elicited an emotional response and noticing what emotions you’re feeling,” Davies said. “Then accept that you feel this way without judgment. When we deny our emotions, labeling them as wrong or foolish or shameful, we just hurt ourselves more.”

While the pain be difficult, it can be important in the long run to feel it in order to work through your emotions fully rather than linger on the hurt.

“Sometimes you have to have the breakdown to get to the break through,” Cyndi Darnell, a sex and relationships therapist, told Insider.

Processing with friends, through journaling, or with a mental health professional can also make the process easier for some people.

“Feel them. Identify them. Journal about them. Call a friend to talk about them. Make a therapy appointment,” Rachel Wright, a relationship & sex expert, told Insider.