Taking Care of Yourself This Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we all know what that means. Candy hearts, pink and red everywhere, and cheesy cards in every store. Some people love all of this, and revel in the feeling. Others absolutely hate the holiday.
But whatever your feelings towards Valentine’s Day are, there’s one important thing to remember: take care of yourself. This season can be hard on many people’s mental health, whether single, partnered, or somewhere in between, and it’s important to recognize that. So today, let’s talk about some ways that you can take care of yourself on Valentine’s day.
First, it would help to understand what makes this holiday difficult. After all, what could be bad about a season dedicated to love? Well, there are a few things.
For single people, Valentine’s Day can often bring up feelings of loneliness, or pressure to be in a relationship. This can make you feel sad, depressed, and even make you feel like you aren’t good enough.
On the other hand, people in relationships may feel pressured to be perfect, or to do something over the top for the holiday— which you should only do if you want to. This kind of pressure can be stressful, and it can create feelings of doubt about a perfectly healthy relationship.
But wherever you fall, there are some things you can do to practice self care on Valentine’s Day.
Some general tips
First off, if the holiday makes you upset or you hate it, don’t ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist. This tactic doesn’t work— all it does is push those feelings further down, which makes them harder to deal with.
Instead, acknowledge that the day is coming. If it makes you feel bad for any reason, knowing that it will happen is the first step towards making it better.
Similarly, being entirely pessimistic will likely make you feel worse. If all you think about is how much you hate Valentine’s Day, how stupid it is, or how bad it will make you feel, then of course it will be bad, because you are convincing your brain that it has to be. Instead, try to find at least one positive that you can stick to, even something as small as the abundance of chocolate.
It’s also a good time to focus on what you’re grateful for. This can help counteract feelings of not being good enough or not having the “perfect” relationship. Instead of focusing on those, you can make a list of all the good things you have, whether in your relationship, with yourself, or your life as a whole.
Another good thing to do is try out meditation or yoga. These practices can help you get more in touch with your body, relieve stress, and understand your mind more. This way, you can be more prepared to deal with whatever stress the holiday may bring.
It’s also a good idea to take a break from social media, because it can be bad for anyone. Do you love the holiday? You might see a lot of people talking about how much they hate it. Do you hate it and feel lonely? Seeing all of the people happily celebrating will just make you feel worse.
So taking a break from social media during this time can help you focus more on yourself, and avoid worsening any negative feelings you may have.
Another thing you might have to deal with on Valentine’s Day, and that social media can worsen, is unhealthy expectations. This could be the pressure to be the “perfect” partner, an expectation to be with someone, or even issues related to body image and how you feel about yourself.
Whatever these expectations may be, try your best to let them go. Acknowledge that you have these feelings, and that they aren’t healthy, and then tell yourself “I’m just fine the way I am.” Because that is one of the best self care tips when it comes to Valentine’s Day: you are just fine the way you are.
Tips for single people
Of course, there are certain issues that only single people have to deal with around Valentine’s Day, and some tips that will be especially helpful for those of us who are by ourselves this holiday.
I think one of the best things you can do is treat yourself to something nice. Think of what you might do for a partner, and then do that for yourself! You can buy or cook yourself a nice dinner, get yourself flowers, make a nice card, get some chocolates, or do anything else that you like.
This is a way for you to remind yourself that you are important, and to promote self love. When you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it’s good to focus on self care, and reminding yourself that you matter, and you are just fine the way you are.
Cooking a meal for yourself is an especially good way to do this. Not only do you get a delicious meal out of it, but the ritual of cooking that meal, knowing it is for you, can be good for your mental health. Especially if you enjoy cooking, it’s a great way to take care of yourself on Valentine’s Day.
Lastly, if you’re really feeling lonely, try to spend some time with other people. Of course, with the pandemic still raging in the US, this might be hard. But if you can spend time with even one friend, you can feel less lonely, and remind yourself that you are loved by someone. And for the gods’ sakes, don’t end up as the third (or fifth) wheel for anything. That will only make you feel worse.
Tips for those in relationships
Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that Valentine’s Day is all happiness and love. There can still be some negative feelings, and there are things you can do to help alleviate those.
First, have a conversation with your significant other. Talk about how you both feel about the holiday, what you’re comfortable with when it comes to celebrating, and any expectations you both have. This makes it easy to know where the boundaries are, and it gets rid of pressure to be perfect, because you know exactly what each other wants, and you can work with that.
Use this holiday not as an opportunity to just be extravagant— although do that if you wish— but as a time to take stock of your relationship, and all of its good sides. Remind yourself how happy you are, how much you love the other person, and all of the good things that you are getting out of the relationship.
When it comes to gifts, consider doing something homemade, from arts and crafts to cooking and baking. These gifts are often less expensive, and they are more personal, so you have a great opportunity to convey your love for your partner. Plus, everyone loves the sentiments that come with homemade gifts.
Having a happy time
Yes, Valentine’s Daymay be rough for many, and you might even hate it. But whatever your feelings are, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, and make sure that you stay mentally healthy. And who knows, maybe you can even enjoy it after all!
Do you have other tips for dealing with stress around this holiday? Lovely moments you want to share? Leave a comment below or let us know on social media (@therapeutichealingjourney on Instagram and @llctherapeutic on Twitter)! We’d love to hear from you.