Most of us think of Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate romantic love. Hearts, flowers and chocolates with your romantic partner. But what if you don’t have a partner, your partner is abusive, or Valentine’s Day brings reminders of previous trauma?
Many of us struggle to live up to the ideals we see on TV, in advertising and on social media, whether we are in a healthy relationship or not. That’s why days which are supposed to celebrate love and togetherness can highlight how different, alone or low we feel.
These feelings may be even more difficult during these ‘Corona times’. You might not be able to spend time with people you care about. Or you may not feel comfortable meeting new people and connecting with others. And your usual ways of coping may not be available. So how can you look after yourself around Valentine’s Day?
The charity MIND have some really helpful resources and personal stories on loneliness, low self-esteem, mental health in relationships, and what to do if you’re struggling
If you have experienced abuse, there’s not one way to cope with the feelings that Valentine’s Day might stir up. But if you can do things that make you feel good, that’s a fantastic step in the right direction.
- Surround yourself with support: seek out friends and family who make you feel happy
- Call a helpline: Refuge’s helpline 0808 2000 247 is open 24 hours. They also have a ‘live chat’ function and a British Sign Language service (details here)
- Contact Yellow Door about receiving therapy or other support: www.yellowdoor.org.uk / 02380 636312. Our helpline is also available every Wednesday 4-7pm. 02380 636313
- Put your own needs first: do whatever makes you feel good and at peace. It could be watching a funny film, going for a walk, or reading a magazine.
- Remember that being showered with gifts and compliments is nice, but what really matters is healthy relationships. And relationships absolutely do not need to be romantic.
Apparently in Finland, Valentine’s Day is known as Friend’s Day (Ystävänpäivä), and everyone’s included. Friends, family, neighbours, colleagues – anyone who makes your life happier. So this year, I’m going to celebrate Valentine’s Day by going to go for a walk with my best friend, buying some daffodils for my sisters, and eating chocolate. I think from now on, I’m going to be like a Fin.