In my nearly half a century of living, after spending nearly half my years working with people going through a divorce, IWhen we think of the classic “perfect” Valentine’s Day, we tend to associate it with romantic love. The giving and receiving of flowers, chocolate, and maybe a shiny bauble. When we’re young, we may visualize sharing it with the partner who makes us feel elated, just by being around them. As we age, the perfect day may be one of sharing with someone who is there as our lover, partner and friend. Ideally, someone who loves us because of our quirks rather than in spite of them. Regardless of the gift or relationship we ascribe to the day, Valentine’s Day is typically a day we associate sharing with another person.

Whatever Valentine’s Day conjures for you, for many of us, being single on Valentine’s Day can leave us feeling lonely, sad, or even full of shame. We imagine all those coupled people are better off, empathizing and supporting each other in their every move. And given the lifetime of images we’ve been handed of what the perfect Valentine’s Day is supposed to look like, it’s no wonder we feel like ours simply doesn’t compare.

But what if we shake off that traditional definition of romance on Valentine’s Day? Then, can we start feeling better? You bet.

Focusing all of the amazing, loving energy welled up inside you on sadness because you do not possess a special someone is a self-destructive waste of time.

With a shift in perspective, Valentine’s Day can be used as a launchpad forward to focus on the one person you can always trust…you.

If you have been following me for a while, you already know where I’m going. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to engage in deep and radical Self-Care. Here are my five self-care tips curated just for you to make Make Valentine’s Day an “I Love Myself Day!”

1. Give Yourself Some Me Time

Take a much-needed break from all of those responsibilities to other people and obligations. They’ll all be there tomorrow. For today, take a step back and consider what you need to truly nourish your soul. Even if that something feels “lazy” or like something you’re not “supposed” to do, such as sitting in bed watching movies all day. It’s just a day, and if that’s going to help you press reset, go for it!

2. Take a Walk

There are few things that feel as healing and loving to me as taking a nice long walk outside. Whether exercise is your thing or not, the act of placing yourself in an alternate environment and getting your blood pumping (even just a little) will do wonders for your body and mind. Plus, taking a walk outside can interrupt whatever negative thoughts you may be ruminating on when you’re stuck in your same indoor routine!

3. Meditate/breathe

For a deep sense of bliss and relaxation, put on a half-hour guided meditation. If you’re not accustomed to meditating on your own, sign up for a local meditation class. You could also try on a guided online meditation app such as Calm or Headspace if going to a class is not your thing. Another wonderful, easily accessible tool that can help you reset your day is a few rounds of deep belly breathing. Breath in through your nose for a slow count of three. Hold at the top. Breath out through your nose (or through pursed lips) for a count of five. Repeat this exercise three to five times.

4. Engage in Relaxing Activities

Do more of what you love. Take a cooking class with a friend. Paint, write, draw. Take a nap. Read. Listen to uplifting podcasts or watch an uplifting movie. Cook yourself a beautiful meal. Maybe even clean out your closet. When you get rid of unnecessary clutter, you give yourself the gift of space (both physically and mentally). Take two hours to bag up all the things you no longer need and donate them. Admire your work and allow yourself to feel a great sense of accomplishment and even a burst of newfound peace.

5. Make Galentine’s (or Malentine’s) Day Plans

If you are alone and don’t like being by yourself, by all means, make plans. Reach out to an old pal who you don’t get to see or speak to often and invite them to take a walk, share a meal, grab a drink or tea. If it feels like all your friends are coupled up and you aren’t inspired to reach out to friends from the past, consider taking a pre-organized class with others on this day. Check out what’s happening in your community. You may be surprised by the variety of opportunities to bond with new interesting people.

Remember, the most important kind of love is self-love. Self-love is the radical acceptance of who we are. It is the love that allows us to be our best selves. It gives us the power to recognize who and what we can change and who and what we need to accept. It prevents us from engaging in the needless, and senseless comparison of our lives to the lives of those around us. Self-love allows us true emotional freedom. Happy Gal/Mal/Valentine’s Day to you! You are in great, beautiful, loving company.

P.S. Want more tools and resources to stay positive during a divorce? Download my Free Divorce Survive & Thrive Kit below!


With support and strength,


logo for Gabrielle Hartley, Esq. and Better Apart Divorce Coaching and Mediation


Revolutionizing the conversation around Divorce, one internal narrative at a time.


DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. 


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