No Rainbow Heart Should be Lonely or Broken

Holidays are tough when you are single and without an SO to share them with. And Valentine’s Day seems to be one of the worst. Why? Because during the other major holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving, Christmas), you are usually around family and friends and at least attending some holiday events, even though single. But Valentine’s Day? That’s the holiday for couples to be together – to go out, to exchange cards and gifts, and to enjoy the intimacy of their relationship.

And here you are with the Valentine’s Day Blues – looking at a day and night without a special someone by your side. It can be downright depressing as you think about what you’re going to cook yourself for dinner and what shows to watch the rest of the evening.

Time to Kick the Pity Party to the Door

The easy thing to do when we are feeling blue about something is to build upon that sadness with other negative thinking and self-talk. And when we continue to feed that negativity, we sink lower and lower into the depths of self-pity.

One negative event or situation somehow translates to our lives in general, and we begin to think or say things like, "My whole life is just a mess," "I just hate everything about my life," "I’m just no good at much of anything," "I’ll never find a true love."

It’s like a snowball running down a steep hill. And those Valentine’s Day blues can carry over into tomorrow and thereafter- oof!

So, exactly how do you reverse this? As the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote, "Let me count the ways."

There are so many things you can do to meet and conquer the challenges of being sad. While some of these may not be right for you, some will be. So, here is your guide to getting over those Valentine’s Day blues and any carryover that they may have.

Your Guide for Beating Valentine’s Day Blues

This is a long list of to-dos. Read through each one carefully. If it could work for you right now, get on it. If it could work for you tomorrow, get on it tomorrow. Let’s go.

For Valentine’s Day Itself

  • Go to a Local Happy Hour Instead of Going Right Home from Work

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    Maybe a co-worker who also has no plans for the evening will go with you. Just remember this: Valentine’s Day blues should not be used as an excuse to get yourself “snockered.” This option is to just have a couple of drinks and socialize a bit. You’ll probably see some couples being all cozy and such, but you will probably see other singles too, and that can be a good vibe for you right now. See? There are other “unattached” people out there who are having a good time.

  • Treat Yourself to Your Favorite Food

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    Who says you have to cook? When you are ready to have dinner, go get takeout from your favorite place, or, if you feel like it, eat there. Maybe that co-worker or one of your relatives can join you too.

  • Treat Yourself to a Shopping Trip

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    Stores are all open late, even on Valentine’s Day. And guess what? You’ll see that lots of other people are out shopping this evening too. Buy a new outfit, a new pair of shoes, some cologne or makeup, or something to decorate your place. Why not? It’s not like you’re buying an expensive gift for your squeeze. Buy a gift for yourself – it’s a great mood lifter to have something new.

  • When You Get Home, Do Something New and Fun

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    So, now you are finally home. And there are still hours left to your night. You could wallow in your self-pity and watch some shows, or you could take some initiative to do something different. If you haven’t already, join an online dating service, get a quick profile filled out, and start looking for people to chat with. There are others online at all hours of the day and night. Most of these services will begin finding matches for you immediately, and some of them will be online right now. You can chat with specific individuals or join group chats. And who knows? You might just find a match to hook up with this coming weekend – something to look forward to!

When Those Valentine’s Day Blues Carryover

Yes, it can happen. You had a bad Valentine’s Day, and you are still feeling the effects the next day. Nothing seems to be any better, and you are just going to drag yourself through this next day and the next. You’re in a major "funk."

Again, it is easy to stay in that funk. But you don’t need to. Here is a huge list of things you can do to bounce out of it.

  1. Make a List

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    But you can find more things to be grateful for too. Dig deep into all of those things that are right and good in your life. Once you have that list, put it on your fridge. And leave room for you to add good things as they happen daily. Along with that list should be one large word above it – Gratitude. When you can remind yourself every day of the good things, your mood will lift, if only just a bit.

  2. Schedule Activities with Friends and Family

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    So, you don’t have a relationship right now. This doesn’t mean that you retreat to your home and hibernate. It means that you get out there. This is one of the hardest things to do when you are feeling low because you just feel tired and worn out. It’s easier to flop on the couch with TV or video games or just take a nap instead.

    Start small. Meet someone for lunch; go to a happy hour with coworkers; attend that relative’s wedding you were going to decline. If you work, you know that evenings can be a killer. So try to plan one small or short activity after work, so you don’t go straight home.

  3. Join a Gym and Force Yourself to Go

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    This is one thing you could do right after work. You may have never been heavily into fitness, but maybe it’s time to start. Gyms are pretty competitive and are offering lots of great deals – find one close to work or home, go out and buy some workout clothes, and get at it.

    There are three possible benefits here:

    • You’ll get in better shape, and you’ll like what you see in the mirror better
    • You’ll get your brain producing those endorphins (hormones that make you feel better)
    • You just might meet someone of interest to hit the juice bar with after the workout

  4. Lighten up on the Alcohol and Drugs

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    Using substances to “numb” your feelings is a bad idea and a big failure. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink after work or sharing a joint with a buddy. In fact, that’s a bit of a social occasion. But don’t stay at home and do this alone every evening. Again, it’s just too easy to get into that habit, and this will just deepen your funk. You’ll feel worse afterward.

  5. Ditch the Sad Music

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    Oh, it’s so easy to wallow in your self-pity by playing sad music that reminds you of a lost love or how lonely you are right now. Just don’t do it. Whatever genre or era of music you like, there is plenty that will get you jamming instead. Don’t sit in silence with your sad thoughts either. Get that music going as you clean that bathroom or cook that meal. Better yet, brush up on your dancing skills while no one is watching. Again, it’s all about those endorphins.

  6. Ditch the Sad Movies

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    The film industry is full of sad and depressing movies. But it is filled with comedies too. Everyone’s sense of humor is unique, but you know what makes you laugh. Think back on the movies that really made you laugh and replay them – lots of times if necessary. If you’re fresh out of ideas here, try "Bad Trip," "Don’t Look Up," "Honk for Jesus," "Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe," or "Jackass forever." You can go back before your generation to films like "Arthur," "Joe and the Volcano," "Animal House," and "Vacation," or hop into the newest, like "80 for Brady." And right now, those rom-coms (you know, "boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get married" stuff) may not be the best idea.

  7. Get Into Some Volunteer Work

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    There are huge options here. What are your talents, interests, and skills? Take a look at how you can use them to make someone else’s life or condition better. From volunteering in a homeless or battered women’s shelter to tutoring kids in poor neighborhoods, to animal shelters, to building and rehabbing homes for the poor, to coaching kids’ teams, to hospitals and nursing homes, the possibilities are endless.

    And here’s the thing about volunteer work. You will easily see how blessed you are to be in your current position and how there are people out there who have far more to be sad about than you do.

    The other benefit? You’ll just feel good about yourself because you are making a positive contribution.

  8. Get off The Mental Treadmill

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    Are you replaying old sad memories from either your recent or distant past? The more you put your thoughts on these things, the longer your funk will last. It’s just not healthy. And face it.

    Can you change anything that has already happened? No, of course not. While it’s hard to break this habit, try something psychologists often suggest. Come up with a few happy memories - a vacation you once took, a special Christmas when you were a kid, a big success you had at work, etc. Once a sad memory hits, immediately cut it off and go to that "happy place" of one of your fond memories. This will take some practice, but it is really a matter of developing a new habit.

  9. Take a Trip

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    If your budget allows and if you can get off work, where is a place you have always wanted to see? Take a road trip, stay in a great hotel, and see the sights. Or, take a cruise, now that travel has opened up. There are all sorts of specific types of cruises, including those for singles of all types. If you can afford the money and time, you have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain!

  10. Take a Class

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    Getting another degree may not be on your list of life goals (but if it is, great – g for it). But academic coursework is not the only coursework out there. Have you always wanted to learn to draw or paint? Have you always wanted to explore graphic design or making jewelry? What about DIY projects of any type? There are classes all over the place for these kinds of things.

    And as you look at possible classes? Don’t even consider online coursework. These won’t get you out and around other people. Only in-person classes will do. Check out what is offered by your local community college or vocational schools.

  11. Set Some Short-Term Goals

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    In a state of depression, it’s hard to think about where you want to be five years from now. Your issues are much more short-term – being single and lonely is the biggest one right now. So, don’t get all lofty with big long-term goals. Set some that will help you get out of your current funk. Here’s a few ideas:

    • You will schedule an evening out with friends or a family member at least once a week
    • You will do something outside at least once a week, if not more often – walks, fishing, a museum or art gallery, a movie, a sports bar, etc.
    • You will invite friends or family members to your place for dinner or an evening of games twice a month
    • You will clean out your closets and drawers and donate everything you no longer need or use. Clearing out junk helps clear your mind

  12. Find and Stick with Positive People

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    Whether you do this in person or online, staying around or in communication with others who are generally positive is important. The point is this: other people’s positivity is contagious, and it can rub off on you too.

    If you are on social media, stop following those who tend to be negative in their posts and outlook. Keep those who are positive, who post humorous and upbeat things, and generally stay in a happy place. Comment on their posts and keep lines of communication open.

    The same goes for online chatting. Instead of joining groups where the members are full of drama and negativity, join those with members who share some of your outside interests. These kinds of chat rooms get your mind off of the "triggers" that bring about your low feelings.

    The same goes for the people you are around at work or in your social circle. Avoid those who tend to be negative or promote drama and stick to those who tend to be positive and happy. You may have to totally cut some people off, but no real loss here.

  13. Eat Right

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    Nutrition and your mood are definitely connected. Think about what people sometimes do when they are under stress – maybe sit down with a half-gallon of ice cream and dig in, for example.

    While there is probably not enough research yet for real proof, studies reported by Harvard University do indicate a connection between food and depression. They all point to the importance of a Mediterranean diet to help relieve depression. This kind of diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats (e.g., chicken and fish).

    Take this advice for what it’s worth.

  14. Is Work a Source of Pleasure for You?

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    For many, digging into challenging projects at work is a real "high." If this is you, and you get a real sense of accomplishment when you do have successes at work, then go after some extra projects or volunteer to help others with theirs. There’s nothing wrong with being seen as a "go-getter" on the job – it might even mean a raise or promotion. But for you, it can mean relief from depression too.

  15. Get a Dose of Sunlight

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    Exposing your body to short periods of sunlight is often prescribed as a Vitamin D booster to the body. But it has another effect if it falls directly on your head. It boosts serotonin levels, and these are known to improve mood. So, get outside for about 15 minutes a day, maybe during a break or lunch. And if you live in an area where there is not a lot of sun during the winter, you can buy a light therapy box.

    And direct sun is not the only light "therapy" for depression relief. Open blinds and curtains during daylight hours when you are home and at work if you can.

  16. Get Professional Help

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    Most funks that are linked to losing an SO or not having one are short-term. It ends pretty quickly once a new squeeze comes around, or once a person begins to date again regularly. But if you find that your funk over this situation stalls you in the pursuit of a new love life, then you will need to move beyond the normal steps for relief. This will involve seeing a therapist or even an MD who can prescribe some mild mood elevation medication. The earlier you get on this, the better. A low point in one area of your life can bleed into all other parts too and make you far less productive. There are free and low-cost therapy services available. Check out a few of these resources:

Let’s Recap

Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s a holiday set aside for love, gifts, and intimacy. And yes, it causes a really bad personal vibe if you have recently had a romantic breakup or you are all on your own when everyone else has a partner for that day and for the days and maybe weeks that follow. When you are used to having a partner, it’s hard to be without one. Of course, you can run around and hook up with a bunch of one-night stands, but that won’t satisfy the real need you have. And so that funk can last and grow and become a part of your existence.

Take Action to Get Out

The remedy is to take action, even though that is the last thing you feel like doing. You have to focus on those things that will get you out of your funk – getting out, getting active, meeting up with friends, attending social events, getting involved in the community, and pursuing activities that get your mind focused on things other than not having a current love.

Take Action to Improve Your Mood

At the same time, you have to take action that keeps you healthy and improves your mood – diet, exercise, even the music and the movies you choose. Get outside as often as possible, and treat yourself to new clothes and other items that give you pleasure.

Take Action to Meet a New Love

As for looking for a new love? It won’t happen unless you do those things that put you in the company of others. Do you expect a new romantic partner to just drop out of the sky? Go to places, in person or even online, where you will meet potentials.

Don’t Give In – Get Up

Yes, it’s easier to give in to depression and sink into a real funk that can get worse over time and just leave you inert. But this is not the kind of life you really want. Go through the list above and pick those items that you can begin on right now. Then re-visit the list and add others.

You got this!

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