Today, I have a divorce gift for you. Alas, it is not a box of chocolate from CVS. Or a tacky Mylar balloon. Hell, I don’t even have any fancy dinner reservations or a bottle of wine for you.
But I think I have something more useful.
What I have for you today is a revelation about Valentine’s Day and how it can be true gift for us…if we let it.
Let me explain.
I’ll admit it—in the past, I was never a big fan of this holiday. I thought that if you really cared about your partner, or your friends, or whoever, that you should really show that love all 365 days of the year, instead of thinking that you could get away with just buying them a heart-shaped box of cloyingly sweet chocolates and call it good.
For a short time after my divorce, I became even more cynical about the holiday, because to me it represented what I thought our culture and our media was doing wrong when it came to relationships, and I started to resent the holiday and rail against it as being yet another example of how society looked down on people who didn’t have a partner. I remember spending many and hour (and maybe too many glasses of wine) with other cynical and heartbroken girlfriends, bemoaning the fact that Valentines’ Day was just another way to exclude people in the population who were divorced, those who had recently broken up with their partner, or those who were single by choice.
But when I started this journey with Surviving Your Split, as this community of readers on the road to divorce recovery grew, and I listened to your brave stories of starting your lives over, I realized something.
Valentine’s Day—and every day that we move on from divorce—is a chance to fall in love with ourselves.
So many of us during our marriages did everything we could to be the best partner, the best spouse, the best parent we could be. But during that process, we forgot to tend to our own hopes and dreams. We were so busy taking care of other people that we forgot to give ourselves a break and treat ourselves kindly. But that self-neglect stops today.
Let Valentine’s Day be the day you put yourself first.
Something critical that we forget in the hurricane of divorce is to practice self-care. We get so caught up in logistics, finances, and trying to carry on although we are feeling stressed, guilty, angry, or heartbroken that we do not give ourselves the opportunity or the time to heal.
Moving on from divorce, getting your confidence back, and getting the happiness you deserve can only happen if you take care of yourself first.
And it’s easier than you think.
Self-care is a better gift than the chocolates! Image via NutritionCheckup.
Exercise: How to practice self-care.
Practicing self-care does not necessarily mean you pack your bags and head to a fancy spa resort tomorrow. If you can, that’s great. But for those of you just trying to get through the day, there are plenty of things you can do right now to show yourself some love.
Step One: List what you will do this next week to treat yourself right.
This list does not have to be fancy or expensive. Some of my own examples include the following…
-Schedule a deep-tissue massage this week. My muscles are killing me and I know it’s stress-related. I will choose a therapist that I know and trust, and if I don’t know of one, I will look for online reviews or get a recommendation from friends.
-Exercise or some physical activity at least three times this week. This does not have to be anything crazy where I will get injured. I will sign up for a gentle yoga class on Wednesday and Friday, and see if I can find a fun dance class on Saturday. If those things are not available where I live, I will find something I can do online.
-Say “no” to something I don’t want to do at least once this week. I always feel like I’m doing things I do not want to do that do not serve me. This week, I will say no. I will turn down going to that networking event because I would rather cook myself dinner instead.
-Soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts. Bring a book to read, a glass of water, and let my body relax as I transition to a more peaceful mind, before I crawl into bed.
Step Two: Repeat Step One next week.
And the week after. And the week after that. Hell, if you want, why don’t you actually print out a calendar of the month, or pull out your planner if you have on, and plan ahead? If you schedule time for yourself every week, and treat self-care as you would any other appointment, you will start to incorporate it regularly into your life, which is the point, because…
Taking care of yourself should be the center that your life revolves around.
It’s that simple.
Make self-care part of your day. It’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Image via Pinterest.
The more you put yourself first and take care of yourself, the less stressful, less anxious, and less painful your life will become.
And that’s a lesson—and a gift—that goes beyond Valentine’s Day.
So, what self-care gift will you give yourself this week? Feel free to share with the HYPERLINK community on the blog, or send me an email!
I would love to hear from you on this topic. Let me know what you plan to do to take care of yourself and treat yourself right. Because you’re worth it.
Next time, we are going to discover how to love how things are in your life, even if they don’t seem ideal. I can’t wait to continue sharing with you how you can celebrate the happiness you deserve.
Talk to you soon!