February 4, 2015
The world has been letting us know that Valentine’s Day is on the horizon since the moment New Year’s Eve ended. Walk into any grocery store or pharmacy and you’ll be bombarded with red and pink balloons, stuffed animals, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. For some, it’s a lovely reminder of the special person in their lives. For others, it brings on a pang of sadness.
Popular culture places a lot of emphasis on Valentine’s Day, whether you want to celebrate it or not (some couples do, but many don’t – there’s no right or wrong choice). This places a lot of pressure on individuals to be partnered up or somehow make the holiday “perfect.” If the season has you feeling blue, keep the following ideas in mind:
We tend to place a huge emphasis on romantic love, especially around Valentine’s Day. But don’t forget that other types of love can be just as important, valuable, and transformative. The care between family members, friends, communities, and even companion animals and their owners are all valid forms of love. Instead of ruminating on how you’re missing a romantic relationship, express gratitude for all the other meaningful relationships in your life. Physically writing out a list of people you’re thankful for can provide a huge lift in spirit.
If you’re one who hates to be alone on this holiday, an even greater way to use this bullet point to your advantage is to spend time with someone you love. Have coffee with a friend, meet a sibling for lunch, or attend/organize a group outing. Even writing a letter to someone else can be helpful. All these things are powerful reminders that you aren’t alone just because you’re single.
This brings us into our next point. Loneliness is not a fact, it’s a feeling. Just because you feel like you’re alone doesn’t mean you are. When we’re going through a tough time, we tend to discount all our other relationships and the myriad ways we matter to those around us. Whenever you’re feeling swamped in loneliness, remember that it’s only a feeling. And like all other feelings, it’s temporary and will pass with time. Until then, continue to take care of yourself.
Through good times and bad, self-care is essential. If you sense feelings of loneliness, sadness, or anxiety creeping in, doing some kind or relaxing for yourself can help alleviate those difficult emotions. Self-care looks different for everyone – the only requirement is that it’s an act that soothes you and isn’t harmful. It doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Many people enjoy taking walks, listening to calming music, journaling, or even watching a funny TV show.
When it comes down to it, Valentine’s Day is just another day of the year. Sure, it can be a nice occasion for couples to show appreciation for each other, but it’s really a holiday to which you ascribe your own value. Some people don’t even realize they missed Valentine’s Day until it’s passed! But if this holiday is especially difficult for you (perhaps because of a recent breakup or divorce), keep in mind that you only have to survive it for 24 hours. And if it helps, know that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do.