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Please Don’t Wish Me a Happy Valentine’s Day

Tips to help cope with holidays that hurt

It’s Valentine's Day and you are in the midst of a divorce or a breakup or you just don’t have someone to give you flowers and chocolates and you're wished a "happy" day—probably the last thing you'd want to hear. You're hurting and not in a good place in your life for the moment and "happy" is not at all how you feel. If anything, it’s a reminder of what you're experiencing and of what is missing. Yes, you know that many holidays are "Hallmark" holidays made up to sell cards and stuff like chocolates in heart shaped boxes but it hurts all the same. So, how do you get through the day?

Here are some tips that might help.

1- Acknowledge that you're hurting. You need tender loving care for the day so be gentle with yourself.

2- Do something extra nice for you. Take the time to figure out what nice thing can you do for yourself that you probably didn't take the time to do before.You might want to get yourself flowers or some cool present. It reinforces the important reality that, in a relationship or not, it is you who will take the best care of you.

3- Do something nice for someone else who might be having their own hard time.

4- Hang out with someone who understands that you’re hurting.

This one is tricky because people are in their own world and sometimes are not sensitive or clued in to the fact that you're hurting. So if there is someone who does get it, count that as a tremendous blessing.

And speaking of blessings, do an inventory of what is right in your life. Learning to identify what is awesome in your life is a skill worth learning. Reading books and blogs on gratitude is a start. But there are those days when everything feels wrong and the best you can come up with in terms of blessings is warm running water. Everyone has those days. Try to distract yourself if that's possible—call a friend, clean a closet, go for a walk but do something other than "think." If you can't shake the mood, go to sleep early and call it a day. Tomorrow is always better when at least you’ve had a good night sleep.

Perspective matters. Life is not meant to be free of yuckie stuff. No one is exempt from both awful and wonderful stuff. Everyone goes through hard times. Everyone. That’s just the way it is. Even those who appear to live charmed lives have their crosses.

How well you cope in life matters. If your coping skills are not great, take the time to learn to cope better through self-help books or working with a good therapist. Do ask yourself whether this sad feeling is something about the situation and not some pervasive depression that needs professional attention. Sometimes feeling really sensitive or badly about something like a holiday is a wake up call to seek help for something that you shouldn't be going through alone.

So, what if it's someone you know that might be having the hard time with a holiday?

Here are some things you might do.

1- Acknowledge that you understand that the holiday might be difficult for them. Communicating to someone that you get that they might be having a hard time is comforting.

2- Ask if there’s anything they'd prefer you didn't do. When someone is going through a hard time, sometimes there are things that might make things worse so asking is a really cool thing to do.

3- Do ask directly if there's something you could do to help them get through the day.

3- And be sure to say that you care and that they matter to you.

Hugs help too.

Life never stays the same and both the bad and the good times pass. So going through a hard time is never fun but it does pass.

With wishes for better and happier days!

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