Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and may bring up a myriad of emotions for you. Perhaps you’re dreading the holiday because it reminds you that you’re single. Or maybe you’re happy being single, and want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but you’re not sure how.
I like to think about Valentine’s Day as a reminder to practice self-care, self-compassion, and an opportunity to express my love to my friends and family.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate love.
“Love is not just an emotion, it’s an ability. Celebrate you and that you have the ability to love.”Clarissa Silva
Why don’t you use this day to honor and cherish yourself? Ultimately you’re the only one that’s going to be with you 24-7, so why not celebrate YOU on Valentine’s Day?
#1 Cherish and love yourself
Envision your perfect day. Start from the moment you wake up.
How are you feeling? What do you want to wear, who are the people you interact with, and what type of mood are you in?
Step by step, envision what you want Valentine’s Day to look like for you. Think about how you want to cherish and love yourself for simply being you.
“When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”RuPaul
Remember that on Valentine’s Day, you want to truly love and cherish yourself.
What does the perfect evening look like for you? Does it include ordering pizza, watching a movie and eating ice cream? Or do you like to snuggle with a warm blanket, your favorite book and a glass of wine?
Now schedule this perfect day in your calendar and make it happen. You’re important and practicing self-care is a great step towards feeling happier and more balanced in your life.
#2 Practice mindfulness
Oftentimes we are lost in thought, worrying about this or thinking about that. It’s rare that we are actually in the present moment.
What do you think would happen today if you focused on being fully mindful and having present moment awareness?
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”Eckhart Tolle
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love. In all its shapes and forms. If you practice being mindful, you will realize how fortunate you are to be surrounded by love.
Try taking a mindful walk and notice what is around you.
When you’re drinking your favorite meal or beverage, slow down and notice the smell, texture, flavor and temperature. Focus on being present, and be grateful that you can eat and drink.
I also recommend practicing a loving-kindness meditation.
Sometimes Valentine’s Day can bring up feelings of jealousy or envy because you’re single and not in a relationship. When you try the loving-kindness meditation, focus on the feelings and sensations that come up for you.
#3 Have a party
Invite your single friends and spend the evening doing something fun and festive that all of you enjoy.
Perhaps you host a potluck with a theme of “Foods you Love” or you get crafty and make cards for people you love.
The purpose of this gathering is to surround yourself with people you love and to celebrate the camaraderie that you share.
#4 Write love letters
What I love to do on Valentine’s Day is to send cards to my friends, family and colleagues. These are the people in my life that have supported, encouraged, guided and loved me unconditionally.
Why not honor people in your life that you love?
Do you remember the last time you got an actual card in the mail? Remember how happy you felt? Well, this is a chance for you to share that feeling with others.
It’s pretty easy to do this.
Go to the dollar store and pick up a half dozen cards. These cards are inexpensive, cute and festive. Don’t forget to buy some stamps while you’re out shopping.
Think of the person you have in mind and express in writing how much you love and appreciate them. Ask yourself, why they are important to you. Can you remember a specific event that helped you realize the significance of this relationship?
Take a few minutes and jot these thoughts down on a card. Let them know that Valentine’s Day is a reminder of celebrating love, and that they have a warm soft spot in your heart.
#5 Write in your journal
You can also take a few minutes to write down how you’re feeling in your journal. Journaling is a wonderful self-care practice and you can read more about it in my article on journaling for beginners.
You can write whatever comes up for you.
In her article on 5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day, Clarissa Silva suggests writing yourself a love note and documenting all the things you love about yourself because it helps increase your self-esteem and self-worth.
I recommend being transparent about your feelings when you’re journaling.
Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated because you’re thinking about your failed relationships and wondering why you’re still single. Or maybe you’re feeling lonely and sad.
Whatever the case may be, allow your feelings to surface and write them down in your journal.
I remember one of the worst Valentine’s Day I had. It was February of 2005, and I had moved back home because I was severely depressed.
I felt like the loneliest and most unlovable person in the world. I was in my dark cave, and did not think anyone could reach me.
When I read my journals from this time, I notice that I had called my friend Billy (who I had known since high school). Even though he was tired from a crazy work schedule, he noticed the tone of my voice, and immediately came over to my house.
Billy gave me a hug, a Valentine’s card (he knew I liked the holiday), sat with me, and said, “You’re not alone Pantea. I’m right here with you.”
To this day, I am grateful to him for loving me on a day that I felt that no one could reach me. If you want to read more about my experience, check out my article on overcoming depression and anxiety.
#6 Laugh…it’s the best medicine
According to Psychology Today, laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain. Sounds wonderful doesn’t?
To cultivate laughter, watch this PSA from Cherry Bomb Comedy to hear all about the benefits of celebrating S.A.D. instead of wishing you were celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other.
And if you’re in a relationship, get ready to hear a bunch of reasons why you might not have it that great after all.
#7 Practice self-compassion
Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to practice self-compassion.
Self-compassion is a loving practice of being patient, using kind and gentle language, and being actively soothing to yourself.
When you’re practicing self-compassion, you will feel less stressed and more resilient.
Researchers from Stanford University did a study and demonstrated that those who practice self-compassion experience less distress, anxiety, depression, and shame. Practicing self-compassion also increases feelings of well-being, like optimism, connectedness, and self confidence.
To start practicing self-compassion, you can talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend.
Imagine your best friend was struggling or feeling emotional today, what would you tell them? How would you want them to feel after they expressed their thoughts to you?
Now extend that same practice towards yourself.
Talk to yourself in a patient, loving and kind way. Remember that by practicing self-compassion, you will experience a positive difference in your mood and outlook.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can bring up a mix of emotions. To help you shift towards the positive, consider Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to practice self-care, self-compassion and focus on expressing love to those who are most important to you.
There are many activities you can do to enjoy Valentine’s Day, including hosting a party, writing love letters, journaling and laughing… funny movies anyone?
You can also practice loving-kindness meditations and being more mindful of everything around you. You will be surprised by how much love and beauty is around you when you simply slow down, breath and look around you.
Most importantly, remember that today is an opportunity to love, and cherish yourself. Focus on practicing self-compassion and talk to yourself as you would talk to your best-friend. Notice the positive changes in your mood and thoughts once you make these shifts.
What have been some of the fun ways that you have celebrated Valentine’s Day? What did you enjoy doing and what recommendations to you have for others? Please share your stories and comments below.
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