Celebrating Valentine’s Day When You Have Breakup Blues‏

As of this morning, roughly 50% of my unread emails are offers for various Valentine’s Day related products and services. My commute to work has featured what feels like a thousand billboards, flower shops and card shops that I swear weren’t there a week ago. The watercooler conversation in the office has revolved around Valentine’s Day plans, playlists of love songs have popped up on my Apple Music and try as I might, I haven’t been able to ignore the fact that the 14th of February is fast approaching. I won’t be opening those emails or paying attention to those shop windows because no, I don’t want a trip for two or a special dinner or a new outfit.

Before this starts reading like an anti-Valentine’s Day rant though, let me be clear about one thing—I love Valentine’s Day. We live in a world where every opportunity to express, show and celebrate love is valuable, whether that’s romantic or otherwise. I’ve never spent my Valentine’s Day doing grand romantic things, or even treating it much differently to any other day. I know that’s not what it’s really about. If I’m being entirely honest, this year I’m recovering from a breakup which is why the Valentine’s Day blues have hit me hard.
Heartbreak is brutally painful at the best of times and this year, Valentine’s Day feels like the worst of times. The last thing you need when you’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning is the constant reminder that the day of celebrating love is coming for you. However, I have decided that I will not let misery defeat me. Instead of focusing on the love I don’t have in my life, I can celebrate the love I do have. So this is my F-you to the break up blues—I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day dammit, and if you want to join me in celebrating the love you do have, here’s how:
Celebrate your friends & family: I will be kicking off my weekend with a home-cooked dinner and a nice glass of wine with some of my best friends. I will be sending my parents a card because I want them to know they are the reason I still believe in love. My friends and family are the ones who have supported, challenged and nurtured me—and if that isn’t love worth celebrating, I don’t know what is. So whether you send a card, make a call or grab a coffee, make sure you make some time to show those people in your life how important they are.
Volunteer: I will be be volunteering this weekend with a charity I have a long standing relationship with, on a cause I am incredibly passionate about. Volunteering always helps me gain perspective and gives me a sense of connectedness—one of the best feelings is being surrounded by people who are passionate about the same cause and doing something proactive together. Love is finding time to make the smallest of changes that go a long way to building a better community, so find some time to volunteer and make an impact this weekend.
Be nice to yourself: I’ve legitimately re-arranged my plans so I can have a lie in on Saturday. I’m spending my morning in bed, with a big breakfast and Netflix to keep me company. Maybe I’ll write, maybe I’ll read, who knows. The point is, do whatever makes you (and you alone) happy. Whether that’s treating yourself to some really good food, exercising, creating something or turning the alarm clock off, do something for you. I’m giving myself a break this weekend because love is being nice to yourself.
Fall in love with where you live: I moved to London half a decade ago, fresh out of university. When I first moved, I made a bucket list of things to do as long as my forearm but then life and work and responsibilities got in the way. I will be making time this weekend to cross one of those things off my list, and at the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, I’m excited to fall a little bit back in love with London. That’s the thing though—we forget that is is possible to have wanderlust for the place you live in. So wherever you are, go out and explore, have a wander.
Break-ups are the worst and one thing I’m learning the hard way is that there is just no substitute for getting through them. Everyone has their process and time does heal, but one thing I will always believe to be true is that love is important and celebrating it is important. So this Valentine’s Day, I will not roll my eyes at loved up couples displaying affection in public, I will embrace the silver linings and I will put my break-up blues away for the weekend. I will be celebrating the love I do have—for my friends and family, my community, myself and my city, and if you’re feeling a bit blue, maybe you could too?
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