While many people celebrate love and romance on Valentine’s Day, for some people, it can be a day shadowed by pain and loss. Mental health issues from depression, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all trigger harmful negative emotions. Dr. Stevan Lahr from Family and Children’s Services discusses how to combat loneliness with KOTV News on 6.
“Loneliness is not a sign of mental illness by itself,” Lahr said. “Anyone can feel alone. Loneliness is also different than being alone. Someone who has friends and family around doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel alone. There are many different reasons why someone may feel lonely or be alone.”
Lahr said poor self-esteem can be a contributing factor, and with the age of social media, it’s easy to start comparing to others, which can trigger negative feelings. No one knows the backstory of everyone. It’s easy to accept everything as truth without further evaluation.
“The longest relationship you have is with yourself,” Lahr said.
Although the holiday is marketed towards couples, there is nothing wrong with focusing on yourself, he said.
In addition, below are four other mental health tips mental health professionals suggest for Valentine’s Day:
- Celebrate your most important relationship – the one you have with yourself!
The relationship you have with yourself will be your longest relationship in life, so it’s important to treat yourself well. Think about what reenergizes you. Valentine’s Day is a time to feel loved, so show yourself how much you love yourself.
- Invest in all your relationships.
Valentine’s Day is a day for love, but not just romantic love. Make the day a day of gratitude where the people in your life feel your appreciation.
- Practice mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness can be found in a variety of forms. Find a mindfulness app or a free podcast, turn down the lines, and focus your attention on your breath and your emotions. If sitting quietly and journeying through meditation does not sound helpful, consider coloring in a calming book or writing a journal entry. Doing this regularly has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress and can help you cope if emotions become too strong.
- Seek support if necessary.
If you are really struggling this Valentine’s Day, speak to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist, and get the help you need. If you or someone you know needs to talk, it’s okay to ask for help. For help, call COPES at 918.744.4800 – your local crisis and emotional support helpline or call/text 988.