First love, first kiss, the first time, the first moment. These firsts open up a world of possibility. Then there’s another kind of first. That painful first step after the difficult experience of a breakup or divorce: first birthday, first Christmas, the first anniversary, the first Valentine’s Day. Days which once held special meaning can be difficult milestones, emphasising the fact that you’re no longer together.
“All the firsts are tricky – especially Birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations,” says relationship expert and Divorce Coach, Stacey Lewis, Founder of The Divorce Source and author of Divorce 101: Survive and Thrive.
“Just knowing that it is natural to find these first occasions painful can help make it a little easier to get through the day,” says the relationship coach who advises to still make Valentine’s Day a day of love. “Use the day to bring focus on the other loves you have in your life – be it a parent, friend, your child or your puppy.
As February is dedicated to love, it can be a challenging month to negotiate. Here are 4 key ways to help you to not only survive this time, but to thrive too:
Schedule time in your diary for things that make you happyMake plans with people who love and cherish you and try to do something special to spoil yourself.
Heads up tip: Do NOT listen to soppy love songs or the song you danced to at your wedding.
Party timeDepending on where you are after your divorce or break-up, you could throw a Valentine’s party with a difference. Invite people that uplift you, play upbeat funky music or watch a comedy show. Surround yourself with people that are on your team and that make you feel happy.
Heads up tip: Avoid too much alcohol as this can be a downer.
Start nurturing hopeThere is no time like the present to start nurturing hope. That being said, it is likely that you may feel a little down on this day. Forgive yourself and allow yourself to feel a little off-balance.
Schedule in daily happy time ( AKA time for things that make you happy, even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day) and self-nurturing time at least once a week. Self-nurturing needn’t be expensive – it can be as simple as having a long lazy candlelit bath or listening to beautiful music and relaxing.
“Write down these words: This too shall pass. And it will. Nothing is forever. You WILL get through this,” declares the coach, known for helping people through this difficult time.
GratitudeWrite a list of all the areas where you have love in your life. Write a daily list of five things for which you are grateful. Gratitude makes you magnetic to even more abundance and happiness.
“Buy yourself a beautiful bunch of roses – the day after Valentine’s day,” suggests Stacey, “…. and revel in the fact that you basically paid half of what all the other suckers paid the day before.” Yes, the (extremely odd moment of) bitterness can have its perks.
Despite the possible sadness around Valentine’s Day, the period after a breakup or divorce is an important stage to give yourself time and space to grieve, feel, rage and ultimately heal.
“It is important to remember that ‘happiness is an inside job.’ Nobody can be responsible for your happiness. It is up to you. You need to learn to love and nurture yourself again, as well as allow yourself to rediscover who you are, before you start actively looking for love again.
I do believe one should ultimately have an open mind and heart about loving again, even after a heartbreak or rejection. It’s possible!” concludes Stacey.