Valentine’s Day is not always a love-filled, happy occasion. Many people spend the day remembering a lost loved one, contemplating their loneliness, or reflecting on a relationship that’s not going so well. 

But, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to end with you crying into your dinner for one. NAPHL Psychologist and Clinical Lead Sonia Wyatt (pictured) has some tips to survive the ever-polarising celebration.

Ms Wyatt said feeling sad or lonely on Valentine’s Day was totally normal as it could bring up difficult emotions. 

“Valentine’s Day is known as the annual festival to celebrate romantic love, where one might show their affection for another person by enjoying a special date, giving gifts, or sending messages of love,” she said.

“Yet, for those who have recently endured a painful breakup, who are mourning the loss of a beloved, or who feel any type of raw emotion related to being single, this day is bound to feel so much harder.”

Ms Wyatt said there was methods that could be used to minimise the impact of Valentine’s Day on your mental health.   

“In order to look after yourself on what may be an emotionally difficult day, make a plan to do something which you genuinely enjoy or find comforting.”

Top tips for looking after your mental health on Valentine’s Day:   

  • Make a date with some great friends or family who you love and celebrate the wonderful connections you have in your life.
  • Make time for your favourite hobby or activity as a positive distraction (i.e. exercise, cooking, art, meditation, a great book, favourite movie, or pamper session).   
  • Log off from social media or TV reminders of the day – don’t torment yourself with images of what other people (or your ex) is doing today.  
  • Honour your deceased loved one in a way that is meaningful for you.
  • Remind yourself that you are not alone and there are many people out there who can really empathise with exactly how you are feeling.
  • Keep in mind that many people (including couples) genuinely believe that Valentine’s day is a bunch of commercialised nonsense and choose to ignore it entirely anyway!

“If, however you find that the emotional impact of this day is much more than just a ‘rubbish day’, and you are not feeling physically safe or in control of your choices, please reach out for support,” Ms Wyatt said. 

“This could include telling someone you trust that you are not ok, speaking with your GP or other healthcare professional, or accessing online or phone support options.”

For more information on NAPHL’s mental health services CLICK HERE

 For immediate mental health support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or for support online visit beyondblue.org.au.