It’s that time of year.

Perfect looking couples in ads, shows, and movies.

Stories of love and pictures of happily-ever-afters.

But what if you are a never-married single…

or divorced…

or widowed…

or maybe you feel alone in a relationship…

The upcoming holiday of flowers, chocolates, and diamonds can seem overwhelming and blues-inducing.

For so many people the question becomes, “What can I/we do to cope with February 14th?”

What if, instead, the question became, “What can I/we do to actually experience joy during this time that can be painful?”

Take Steps to Joy and Love this Heart Day

Make a Plan

If you seek relief from all of the heart messages, be prepared to the best of your ability by making a plan for Valentine’s Day or sometime that week. Reach out and schedule volunteer time to help others, plan an outing with friends, or have a game night at your house with friends.

Buy yourself flowers and enjoy bringing the outdoors in—bright colors, sweet smells, and visual warmth are all gifts flowers give us.

Give Love

If this is a difficult holiday for you, consider demonstrating love to someone else who might feel lonely. Helping others often helps us feel a sense of purpose and meaning while in the midst of our own difficult stuff.

Take a small bouquet to an elderly neighbor. Offer to take dinner to a sick or mourning friend. Find out their favorite restaurant, get takeout, and go to their house. Just sit, eat, and be with them. Whatever they need.

Valentine of Thankfulness

Valentine’s Day symbolizes all love, not just romantic love.

Buy and send cards (yes, real cards through the mail) to send someone from your past. An old family friend, teacher, neighbor, or former business leader for whom you are thankful. Write a message to them about their positive, healthy impact on your life and how their wisdom and input shaped you. Give them thanks for their dedication to the role of teacher, friend, or leader.

This can be especially helpful to someone older who might be in a wondering season of life—your show of appreciation for their work and care might help them to see positive results from life seeds they sowed and help them have a sense of satisfaction and purpose in a season of wondering where and when their life made a difference.

Invite In

If you know someone for whom Valentine’s Day feels like a fiery dart, contact that friend by phone, text, or email. Let them know you have them in your mind and on your heart. Include your friend in a fun Valentine dinner gathering or party.

Make a plan with them for another day during Valentine’s week to help them celebrate friendship—lunch, movie, dinner, music event, museum exhibit.

May you remember above all else, you are a unique, beloved creation of Almighty God. Praying your Valentine’s Day will be a celebration of love in your life.

Take steps to transform this Valentine’s Day.

May you bloom with great joy!