Heartbreak is painful and devastating. It is a universal experience and yet entirely isolating. Plus, going through heartbreak during the festive season is no fun. If you’re going through Valentine’s Day alone for whatever reason; a breakup, having recently lost your partner, or just not having that special someone to celebrate with, we’ve put together a short list of things we hope will help you feel a little better.

1. Take a mental and emotional inventory
Image by Matthew Henry.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, check in on yourself to see how you’re feeling. It’s easy to suppress your feelings, put on a brave smile, and try to power through the day like you are not affected by it. However, that only prolongs the hurt and could potentially make you feel worse.

Listen to yourself and decide if you need to stay off social media on Valentine’s Day, spend some time with your girlfriends, or perhaps spend the day doing something you love to ease the pain that comes with the day.

Regardless of how you’re handling the heartache, getting fresh air always helps. If you need some time alone, go for a run or a swim. If you need a friend, go on a hike or head to Putrajaya Equestrian Park, where you can have breakfast at the Ekues Cabin Cafe and watch horses train. There’s something calming about being near horses, so if you like looking at or being near horses, you’ll enjoy this place.

If you find yourself drifting too far into your thoughts and need to get out of your own head, go dancing. Pull out that outfit you’ve been saving for a special occasion and hit the dance floor. Havana Bar & Grill in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur (KL), hosts weekly Salsa and Kizomba dance lessons. Lindy KL organises social dance nights if you’re up for picking up a new dance style, but if you want to let loose to some good music with your best gal pals, Latin Tropical Yoko’s in Bukit Bintang is the place to be.

3. Spend a day in with friends
Image by Kelsey Chance.

It never ceases to surprise me what good friends and a home-cooked meal can do for the heart and soul. Spend the day with people you can cry your heart out to, and end the day with plenty of laughs and hugs. Whip up your favourite comfort foods, have brunch at home, and spill your heart over a big moka pot of coffee.

Binge-watch a few good TV shows and ask your friends to help you organise your (ex)partner’s belongings that you might need to mail back. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand with whatever task that feels too heavy to accomplish alone.

4. Find love at a pet cafe
Image by Andrej Lišakov.

A quick way to release those endorphins is by getting around a few furry friends. Head to a pet cafe near you and spend the day doting on the animals. Pets have a way of calming us and making us feel loved. They’re more aware of our feelings than we realise and are able to ease our sadness just by being around.

Not everyone owns a pet, but almost anyone can get to spend the day with cuddly friends. Purradise Cat Cafe and Cubs & Cups are a couple of places where you’ll find four-legged friends all day.

5. Put a movie on, plus some recommendations
Image by Kevin Woblick.

When I’m having a particularly down day and staying off social media seems challenging, I find that putting on a good film helps. So, I’ve listed a few personal favourites to help get you through the day, starting with Mamma Mia (Part 1 & 2). This film will have you singing, laughing, crying, and feeling like the dancing queen you are.

If you’re looking for a film that reminds you of pure and honest love, watch Flipped. Little Women is an excellent girlhood-to-womanhood story and a reminder that life and love can exist in so many different forms. 50 First Dates is a lovely early 2000s rom-com that will leave a smile on your face. And, if you need a film that will leave you in your feels, watch Disney’s Up. You’ll need tissues at the ready for this one.

6. Check your ‘one-day-when’ thing off your bucket list
Image by Spenser Sembrat.

We all have that one thing that we wait to do. We say that we’ll eventually get to it when it’s the right time; when I’m married, when I have kids, after my kids grow out of their toddler phase, after that project is done at work, or when I’m ready.

The truth is, you’re ready. To book that flight, apply for that course, take up that class, make that trip across the continent to see your best friend, go to that concert, you’re ready. Now is as good a time as any to give yourself hope for a new life. A life without the person you thought you’d share all this with.

Abundant life is yours if you choose, no matter how or why that relationship ended. It served its purpose in its time, and now it is time to reimagine its purpose for the present.

7. Rest
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No matter how strong we are, life takes a toll on all of us. If at the end of the day, all you can muster up the strength to do this Valentine’s Day is to rest, then so be it. Grief is not only mentally and emotionally taxing; it can be physically exhausting, too.

Have a lie-in and take breaks as you need in between the day. Everything passes with time and it is okay to take time for yourself right now to do nothing but rest.