Sarah Barr from the New Beginnings Counselling Service has advice for what to do if you are feeling lonely this Valentine's Day.

 “Be with someone who makes you happy!”

It is believed Valentine’s Day began as an early Christian celebration, of a saint named Valentinus. So it had absolutely nothing to do with hearts, love, cards, flowers and so on. It has since became associated with love, and completely commercial.

I have never personally ‘gotten’ Valentine’s Day, maybe because I am not a big romantic, or maybe I believe if you are in a relationship, that relationship should be celebrated every day in some way? I find it very commercial and it can be an isolating and lonely time for many people, for different reasons. Maybe I am anti-Valentine’s.

Valentine’s Day can trigger many unhappy reactions and emotions in people. Maybe you have had a bereavement, or are in an unhappy relationship or maybe you are single. February the 14th, can highlight this, and cause distress. Valentine’s Day can be a lonely day for so many people, young and old alike.

Valentines Day, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas can be an extremely difficult and lonely time. By being aware and showing kindness to our friends, family and neighbors we can help them through it.

” I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone”- Robin Williams

  • Loneliness

Many older people can go from week to week without any meaningful interactions with anyone. It is also being highlighted that younger people are feeling increasingly lonely too.

More people are living alone, social interactions are often through social media, which results in less face-to-face interactions. This can lead to low moods and anxiety in many people. Resulting in negative and sometimes paranoid thinking patterns.

  • Is loneliness in Ireland at an epidemic level?

The definition of an epidemic is the rapid spread of an infectious disease which is contained to a specific group of people or location. Britain and Northern Ireland have been revealed to be the loneliness place in the EU –The Office for National Statistics. Ireland is not at this level yet, however it is an issue that is a cause for concern.

  • Reasons for loneliness

There are many reasons, that members of our community are feeling lonely. Ranging from living alone, negative feelings or anxiety towards social interactions or events, families living further apart and working longer hours. We can also be surrounded by people but feel alone. Perhaps you are in a relationship, that is no longer making you happy.


If you are single and feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day why not try to organise something with your friends. Remind yourself that not everyone has a partner, and that fun and friendship are not only limited to couples.

If you are recovering from a break up, Valentines can be especially hard. Setting aside specific time for self care on the day can help. Treat yourself, have a relaxing bath or re-connect with an old friend.

Surviving Valentines will mean different things to different people. For some it’s about a drama free day, for others it will be sadness at a relationship that has ended, and for some it will simply be another day. The secret to getting through Valentine’s Day is there is NO secret.

By figuring out what the day means to you, showing gratitude for what you have. If you are feeling lonely, reach out. There are services available in Donegal that can help. You do not need to suffer alone. Speak to your Doctor, or contact a counsellor. You are not alone.


~ Sarah

New Beginnings Counselling