Decorative hearts are scattered everywhere, flower arrangements are at the front of each store you enter, and the candy is pink and red-hued in celebration of this special holiday. Valentine’s Day is upon us and the reality is that this day can be incredibly challenging for many people. Valentine’s Day can evoke many different emotions including loneliness, grief, and more. This day can bring a lot of pressure on individuals and couples. If you are not in a romantic relationship, it can feel like you are being left out of the celebration of love. Whether you feel the day is incredibly cheesy or feel an air of magic this time of year… you don’t have to have a romantic interest in your life to make the most of this day. Read along to find ways to foster self-love and fill your day with tenderness this Valentine’s Day!
1) Be Mindful of Your Thoughts
Your thoughts can greatly influence your mood and your behaviors so take some time to pay close attention to them surrounding this holiday if you are struggling. Cognitive distortions can be defined as irrational or inaccurate thoughts or beliefs that can ultimately lead an individual to view things more negatively than they truly are. Many of us fall into the trap of cognitive distortions but they can be incredibly subtle and difficult to recognize if you aren’t paying close attention. A few cognitive distortions to be mindful of this Valentine’s Day might include overgeneralization and fortune-telling. Have you recently gone through a breakup? You may find yourself experiencing thoughts like “Well, they broke up with me. I always mess up my relationships and I am never going to love again.” This is an example of overgeneralization where you may have taken one event and generalized it to a pattern that may not truly exist. Once you identify that this thought is a cognitive distortion, take time to truly look at the evidence for and against the thought. Often, you will realize that there is no true evidence for the thought. Recognizing that there is no evidence to uphold that thought can be empowering and allows you to reframe to a more helpful mindset such as “This relationship did not work out for me. There were areas we both needed to grow in. I can have a healthy relationship in the future when I am ready to try again”. The second thought is much more realistic and less damaging than the first. Be kind to yourself and be mindful of your thoughts.
2) Buy Yourself The Flowers
You don’t need a partner to treat yourself. You can buy yourself flowers! Take Valentine’s Day to treat yourself to a solo date! Decide on the agenda. Would you prefer to stay in or go out? Once you decide what you want to do, focus on what you will wear! Do you have an outfit that makes you feel like you are just radiating confidence? Put that outfit that just popped into your mind on! Who says we have to dress up for the sake of others? Dress up for yourself. You are worth it and deserve to put your best foot forward for yourself. Whether you stay in or decide to venture out, focus on treating yourself to either your favorite meal or splurge on something you typically don’t.
3) Relax and Recharge
If going out is not your preference on Valentine’s Day, then take some time to listen to your body and feed it what it needs. Have you been feeling fatigued and like you need rest? Give yourself permission to call it an early night. Has your skin been crying out for hydration? Try out a special face mask. Have you found it challenging to quiet your mind recently? Engage in some meditation and deep breathing grounding techniques. Take some time to do an intentional body scan and give yourself whatever you need to recharge.
4) Celebrate The Relationships You DO Have
Romantic love is not the only form of love there is. Platonic love is real and it is valid. Take time today to cherish and celebrate the relationships that you do have in your life. Tell someone you care about how much they mean to you, share with someone how you are spending your day and ask how they are spending their day, or take a leap and organize a meet-up with those you love to spend intentional quality time together. Get creative! You could enjoy brunch with your loved ones, a rom-com movie marathon with close friends, or a themed party. Reflect on and enjoy the meaningful relationships that you do have in your life.
5) Reflect and Journal
Valentine’s Day is often characterized as a day to tell those you care about how much you love and appreciate them…but what if instead you focused on telling yourself these things? Pouring into our cup is how we show up the best in all areas of our life. However, our cup is often the cup we neglect to fill. So take some time to reflect and journal today! Journaling can be a healthy outlet for your feelings and it can also be a great way to process and reflect. Some journal prompts that can spark inspiration include: What feelings do you associate with Valentine’s Day? What are attributes that you love about yourself? What are some of the accomplishments that you are most proud of? How would those that love me describe me?
No matter how you choose to spend Valentine’s Day on your own, remember that romantic relationships do not define you. You are much more than your relationship status.
If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness or need assistance with challenging those pesky cognitive distortions, our counselors would be honored to walk alongside you in this journey and provide support. Feel free to reach out to us to schedule a free consultation to see if our counselors would be a good fit. Happy Valentine’s Day!