Editors Note: This post about Valentine’s Day was originally published in February 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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.
My worst date on Valentine’s Day
In my mid 20’s I was in a relationship with a guy I’ll call George.
George and I had been dating for about 9 months and he knew how important the holiday was for me. I had mentioned how much I love Valentine’s Day on several occasions and I assumed he understood how special it was for me.
I guess I underestimated George.
Guess what he did for me on Valentine’s Day?
He showed up late to pick me up for our date and acted as though everything was normal when I expressed feeling sad that he had not taken into consideration how important the holiday was for me.
Needless to say, my relationship with George was short-lived because he and I ultimately did not want the same things.
Feeling jealous of others? Yeah…me too
When I was single, I remember that Valentine’s Day was tough because I would feel jealous and sad when my friends had someone special to celebrate with and I was all alone.
It took me a long time to embrace Valentine’s Day as a single girl.
“Love is not just an emotion, it’s an ability. Celebrate you and that you have the ability to love.”Clarissa Silva
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate love.
So 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?
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day when you’re single
This is the one guide for all the single girl’s and guy’s out there who want to celebrate and have the best Valentine’s Day ever!
1. Cherish and love yourself on Valentine’s Day
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 loving-kindness meditation
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 focus on noticing what is around you.
When you’re drinking your favorite meal or beverage, try consuming it mindfully.
Slow down and notice the smell, texture, flavor, and temperature of what you’re eating. You’d be surprised to see how much more you enjoy your food!
Focus on being present, and be grateful that you can even eat and drink!
Notice and be grateful for the food and drinks that you are devouring since not everyone has the same privileges that we do.
You can also try practicing a loving-kindness meditation which will help you feel centered and grounded.
Sometimes Valentine’s Day can bring up feelings of jealousy or envy because you’re single and not in a relationship.
I remember those feelings quite well, especially in my early 20s when I was single or in a dead-end relationship and feeling sad that I was unable to celebrate the holiday with someone that truly loved me.
When you try the loving-kindness meditation, focus on the feelings and sensations that come up for you.
Remember not to judge your feelings or thoughts that arise. You’re human and it’s natural to have complex feelings.
The important takeaway is just to be present with your thoughts and feelings.
Know that a thought is just a thought.
A feeling is just a feeling.
They will come and go and do not define you as a person.
3. Celebrate by hosting a Valentine’s Day party
Invite your single friends and spend the evening doing something fun and festive that all of you enjoy.
Perhaps you choose a theme of “Foods you Love” and during your dinner party you each share why you are eating the food and any positive memories you associate.
You can also have a craft party 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 write and send a love letter.
Go to the dollar store or Trader Joe’s 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.
Here are some questions you can ask to help you write your love letter:
- Why is this person important to you?
- Can you remember a specific event that helped you realize the significance of this relationship?
- Do you have a special memory that you want to share?
- How has your relationship impacted your life?
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.
You will notice how happy you feel while you’re writing the card and how impactful it is when the person receives it.
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 a great way to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
You can write whatever comes up for you. Don’t censor yourself and write freely allowing yourself to express whatever thoughts and emotions are crossing your mind.
In her article 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.
Feeling depressed on Valentine’s Day?
I remember in 2005 I had just moved back to Santa Barbara after graduating from UC Berkeley.
This particular February was one of the worst Valentine’s Days I recall because I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.
I felt like the loneliest and most unlovable person in the world.
I felt as though I was living in a dark cave and did not think anyone could reach me, let alone sit with me in the darkness.
If you struggle with depression and anxiety, holidays can sometimes feel unbearable. It’s important to reach out to someone since the intense thoughts can become overwhelming.
When I recently read my journals from 2005, I notice that I had called my friend Billy (who I had known since high school).
Even though Billy was tired from a crazy work schedule, he noticed the tone of my voice and asked if I was alright. I did not want to bother him and said “I’m fine.” He said, “Hang in there, I’ll be right over.”
Ten minutes later Billy showed up at my house, gave me a hug, and 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 when I felt that no one could reach me.
Stay connected and pick up the phone
When you struggle with depression, anxiety, or loneliness it can be extremely hard to be by yourself during any holiday.
So think about people around you who may also be feeling that way, and reach out to them.
Don’t just send a text.
Pick up the phone, make a call and ask the person how they are feeling today and that you’re thinking of them.
You would be surprised how much that means and how important it is to feel a sense of connection with others.
Most importantly, you may be surprised by how much this may help YOU and your loved one feel better.
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 it?
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.
Or host a movie night and pick one of the 50 best comedies of all time to watch with your friends!
7. Practice self-compassion on Valentine’s Day
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.
Take control. Feel better.
Start your Self-care Journey.
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 experienced 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?
- What would you want to know is true?
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, and self-compassion.
Focus on expressing love to those who are most important to you including your friends, family, and colleagues.
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 be more mindful of everything around you.
You will be surprised by how much love and beauty is around you when you simply slow down, breathe and be observant when you look around.
Most importantly, remember that today is an opportunity to love, and cherish yourself.
Focus on practicing self-compassion and talking 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 do you have for others? Please share your stories and comments below.