When trauma has occurred in the context of a relationship, relationships themselves can become a trigger. For that reason, it can be hard to date in the aftermath of a bad relationship. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to date, but it can be hard to get to the point where we’re ready. The atmosphere that Valentine’s Day creates can make the healing process a bit frustrating, especially when our close friends are in relationships. But that’s okay! We can be happy for our coupled friends and take care of ourselves, even in the face of heart-shaped chocolates and cupid-themed decorations. Here are some tips for having the best February you can while we’re healing.
1.) Plan a “Galentine’s Day”
Ladies celebrating ladies! As seen on the show Parks and Recreation, plan a get-together with your lady friends and just appreciate the shiznet out of each other. You can buy each other gifts, write cards, have typical decorations of cupids and hearts, or just spend some time together. It’s a great time to let your friends know that even though they might be in a relationship, you will always love and care for them. And, it’s a great time for your friends to communicate that their relationship isn’t going to stop them from spending quality time with their lady friends.
2.) Treat yourself to some discounted gifts on February 15th
What’s better than 75% off candy? Answer: nothing. As patronizing at it can be to see every store you go to filled with bright pink decorations and shelves lined with romantic gifts, it also means that all those gifts will become super cheap the day after Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to be bitter towards the holiday when you’re filled with the anticipation of discounted heart-shaped Reese’s.
3.) Make a date with yourself
Put some “you time” on the schedule, and make a plan do things you love. Maybe cook yourself your favorite meal, or take a hot bath with your favorite book. This is good to do anytime of year, but in February you can put a little extra effort in there and plan a really nice date. Maybe some rose petals in your bath, or chocolate covered strawberries will add the extra bit of elegance.
4.) Do something you haven’t done since childhood
Self-care comes in many forms, and one of the most important aspects of healing after trauma is being able to reconnect with yourself. Is there something you liked to do as a kid that you haven’t done in a long time? It can be certain video games, crafts, drawing, coloring, anything. Carve out sometime to do something you really used to love, and just have pure childish fun with no agenda.
5.) Try a “Loving Kindness” meditation practice towards yourself
As much as many of us claim that we like ourselves, it can be hard to practice giving ourselves the same grace and kindness that we extend towards others. Especially in seasons where America celebrates being in a couple, it can be hard to see yourself ever getting to that point if you aren’t friends with yourself yet. Essentially, a Loving Kindness meditation consists of making a list of well-wishes, and wishing those things towards yourself, someone you’re indifferent to, someone you love, and someone who’s hurt you. Being able to make it through all those different people can take some time, so just focus on you for now. List your well-wishes (for example: May you be well, may you be happy, may you be loved), and try to internalize them with each repetition. You may be surprised by the emotions that come up when we starting actively wishing good things you, yourself, but it can also be a liberating experience.