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How to get through Valentine's Day if you just went through a breakup

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Summary List Placement

Healing from a breakup is never easy, but Valentine's Day can make moving on a seemingly impossible feat, thanks to constant lovey-dovey messaging and shopping promotions.

Plenty of new singles will be celebrating Valentine's Day without a partner. A September report found 67% of users went through a breakup in 2020, compared to 34% in 2019.

According to therapist Charmain Jackman, a little planning can help the newly single transform Valentine's Day into a meaningful and happy holiday.

Consider a social media detox

On Valentine's Day, couples flock to social media to publicly profess their love and how they're spending the day. These images, while sweet, can sadden someone fresh out of a breakup. 

Instead of enduring non-stop social media chatter that could remind you of your ex, Jackman suggested deleting your apps and blocking Instagram and Facebook from your computer.

A social-media detox is also an opportunity to further heal from your relationship, Amy Chan, a relationship advice columnist for more than a decade and author of "Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart," previously told Insider.

"And it's not because they're a bad person. Detoxing from your ex doesn't mean that you hate the person or it ended on bad terms. It also doesn't mean you can't be friends again in the future, but you do need a period of time for your mind, body, heart, and soul, to transition from a relationship that's intimate or romantic to something else," she said.

Map out your perfect self-care day ahead of time

Instead of waiting until February 14 to decide how to cope, Jackman suggested creating a plan ahead of time for how you want to spend the day.

"It can be very hard and lots of things will trigger the person's memories. So I think the more that you can schedule out your day, that helps you keep busy or engaged in activities that are focused on you, or connected with friends or family members," Jackman told Insider.

If you're stumped on how to keep your day engaging and fun-filled, consider a rom-com binge with friends on a group-streaming service, a silly PowerPoint night with roommates, or virtual game night with your family.

Pour into hobbies you've been neglecting, or find a new one

You can also use the day to love yourself more.

"We can lose parts of ourselves when we get connected with other people," Jackman said. Thinking about the hobbies you abandoned during your relationship, and fostering them again, could help you reconnect with yourself.

Take time to reflect on what you learned in your relationship

If you've had some distance from your breakup, reflecting on the highs and lows of the relationship could help you prepare for future love.

"Sometimes people avoid doing that because they don't want to go there and [deal with] those emotions, but it can be a really helpful exercise to do some of that internal work," Jackman said.

If you're not used to this type of exercise, Jackman suggested her favorite reflection method, journaling.

You can use paper and pen, or speak into your voice notes for a virtual version, she said. Ask yourself the following questions to get started:

  • What did I appreciate about this relationship?
  • What didn't work for me in this relationship?
  • Was I vocal about my issues? Or did I minimize or subjugate my feelings in order to keep things OK?
  • Where did I feel like I lost myself in the relationship?
  • What qualities am I looking for in my future partner?
  • How do I want to be intentional about how I am and how I enter a new relationship?

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