Valentine’s Day can be one of the most commercial and stressful holidays of the year. Many people either love it or loathe it. While some say they enjoy the holiday, express love, and spend time with their significant other, others experience depression, anxiety, or stress. This can be especially true for those in recovery from addiction.
Emotional Reactions to Valentine’s Day
February 14th represents love found, lost, or never had. This holiday may bring up specific feelings about being alone if you’re single. The pressure some people feel to have a significant other can increase feelings of depression or anxiety. If you are single, you may wonder why you’re not with someone or if you’re worthy of love. This Valentine’s Day, remember, you are worthy of love.
In your life, you will go through many things. Some of them are pleasant and bring joy. In contrast, others can break your heart and confidence. Maybe you lost or damaged a relationship while you were using substances. Or perhaps you were single before you entered a treatment program. Whatever the case is, think of your life as a constant evolution. Sometimes things don’t happen on the timeline you want them to occur. Instead, you meet a person, join a group, or make a life change when you are ready.
Before you are overly harsh, remind yourself you made choices to change your life. The decision to enter an addiction treatment program and replace harmful behaviors with healthy habits will lead you to a life filled with new beginnings and opportunities. In addition, you opened up your life to those who share the same goal you have; a life free of alcohol or drugs. Communication is integral to finding love, whether it is honest talk with yourself, a therapist, friend, or a loved one.
How to Cope
Regardless of your relationship status, there are ways to manage your feelings about the day, including:
#1. Ignore the Day
No one said you have to celebrate or acknowledge the day. Push aside the ads, social media campaigns, or store displays. If stories of love create feelings of depression or anxiety, redirect your energy to an activity that brings you peace. Go out and join friends who aren’t celebrating the day. Be active, meditate, or create your version of the day. It’s up to you how you spend the day. You can choose to take back the meaning of the day and treat it like any other day of the year.
#2. Find Your Focus
Be kind to yourself. Ignoring Valentine’s Day isn’t easy, so instead, you may want to embrace the idea of love and treat yourself. After all, loving yourself is essential to your self-confidence and recovery. A few ideas to treat yourself include:
- Throughout the day, enjoy some of your favorite foods. Do you associate certain foods with good experiences? Go ahead and make your favorite dish, bake some cupcakes, or indulge in a piece of chocolate.
- Write a list of intentions you would like to complete for the day. Think about what is important to you and what you would like to accomplish on the 14th or going forward.
- Paint, dance, play a sport or do whatever makes you happy and re-centers your mind and body.
- Suppose you can sleep in late or take the day off. This is a perfect day to have a spa day, go on a hike, or take a road trip. Relax and enjoy the day.
- Do you journal? Spend some time writing down things you’re grateful for. Even if you don’t journal, set aside time to think about what is good in your life.
- Go to a meeting. Find support from those who share your goal to maintain sobriety.
#3. Avoid Triggers
If you feel triggered by the meaning behind Valentine’s Day, find ways to avoid your triggers. Avoiding triggers may include having to:
- Turn off love songs or romantic shows. They can increase your feelings of depression, loneliness, or anxiety. Instead, watch or listen to something new. Alternatively, you can turn off everything and go outside and listen to nature. Spend time in a green space or the beach.
- Don’t go to a place where you spent time with a past love interest. Instead, find a new place where you can build happy memories.
- Find your people. Join a group and participate in activities you love or want to learn. Group activities build friendships and support systems.
#4. Do Something for Another
Valentine’s Day is challenging for many people. Take an inventory of your friends and loved ones. Do you know someone who lost a significant other? Give them a gift. A gift basket, flowers, something homemade, or time spent together can mean a lot.
#5. Maintain Your Routine
Sometimes the best thing to do for yourself is to keep your routine. Find comfort in the stability of daily habits.
Valentine’s Day can increase feelings of depression, anxiety, or loneliness. The pressure to have a romantic interest or give the perfect gift can be intense. For some, the day reminds them of being single. People can feel self-doubt and the urge to find comfort in past behaviors instead of letting outside influences determine what the day means to them. Find people to spend the day with, enjoy a hobby, or create a day of self-care. Find what centers your mind and body by listening to yourself. Use the recovery services that your addiction treatment center makes available. Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers encourages their alumni to participate in their Alumni and aftercare programs. We invite you to explore our Band of Brothers Podcasts to discover how to make recovery a lifetime habit. Our men’s program is spiritual-based, which helps you refocus on what is important to you. To learn more, call (801) 308-8898 today.