I have to confess… I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. And not just since my divorce. I’ve always disliked it and the commercialisation of love; the pressure to spend money and make grand gestures of love on a particular day just doesn’t feel right to me. But… I know for many people, it’s an important day and after separation or divorce, it can be very lonely and painful. A reminder of what all that you’ve lost. But it need not be.

If Valentine’s Day IS important to you, here are some ways you can celebrate Valentine’s Day as a single person.

There are PLENTY of people to share the love with on Valentine’s Day other than a significant other, partner, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. Think of all the people in your life, that you deeply love and care about. Perhaps there’s another person in your sphere who may also be feeling lonely or isolated and dreading this day of celebration.

Friends. Family members. A neighbour. The elderly couple who live around the corner. A single mum / dad you know or a single younger person. Someone you come across in your weekly routine.

Kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way to not only making someone else’s day special, but also offsetting some of the loneliness you may be feeling yourself. Fill up your Valentine’s Day with kindness, generosity and yes, love.

Celebrate love and everyone you care about / who cares about you with your kids. Write a list of all the people you love and get the children to contribute their own suggestions. Talk about ways you can show your loved ones how special they are to you and your children.

Rather than thinking “romantic love” expand your definition and think of people you appreciate and find a way to express your gratitude for them.

You could:

·      Make them a cake or a meal and deliver it to their home

·      Pick some flowers from your garden and make them a beautiful posy

·      Make and post a homemade card

·      Write a letter telling them what it is you love about them and much you respect and appreciate them

·      Surprise them with a personally delivered coffee

·      Invite them to breakfast / lunch / dinner at your place or a picnic at your favourite park or beach

Probably the most important person to love, honour and celebrate on Valentine’s Day is YOURSELF. Do something special for yourself. Write yourself a letter, filled with all the things you love about yourself. Write down all the “wins” big and small, you’ve had over the past year. Buy yourself a big bunch of flowers, dinner out or a special something you’ve been wanting. Or simply sit quietly with yourself and acknowledge how far you’ve come, what’s changed and all you’ve achieved since you first separated and started on this messy, growth journey that is divorce.

Valentine’s Day need not be lonely or steeped in consumerism. Often, the most wonderful gift you can give someone is your time. The very best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is also the simplest and the cheapest. Spend TIME with the people who are important to you. Tell them why you love them. Give them the gift of YOU.

Happy Valentine’s Day.