It’s like one day, we wake up to see that someone had painted the town red. Coffee to-go cups are scarlet and covered in cartoony pink hearts. Every corner store aisle is sprinkled with stuffed bears and pastel candies.
Yet, it’s that dreaded time of year for many: Valentine’s Day.
For some people, it’s much more than a bummer. It can remind us of those we lost too soon, those we feel we failed, or those who we feel failed us. It can cause us to spiral through all the times we’ve felt lonely or unloved this year.
To put it simply, it can be triggering if you are unattached or hurting. That’s why we don’t have to treat Valentine’s Day the lovey-dovey way movies and commercials do. We can make it our own.
First: Practice Self-Celebration
The longest relationship we’ll ever have in our lives is with ourselves. We should really treat ourselves better! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to ask ourselves, “What gives me energy?” and plan a whole day around it.
Taking a hot bath, splurging on one of those fancy bath-tray things, and indulging in a light-hearted novel or podcast is a great way to spend the night. (Separate from doom-scrolling through social media, of course.)
We shouldn’t think of it much as a day to love, but rather a day to feel loved. That’s something we always have the power to give ourselves. Try it!
Next: Invest in The “Little” Relationships
Valentine’s Day does not have to be about our romantic relationship(s), but rather our greatest current relationships. Our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers are great people to write cards, bake goodies, or give small gifts to.
Showing gratitude is one thing that research shows contribute to a more positive outlook on life. It does wonders for our mental health by reducing feelings of anxiety and reminding us that we’re not as alone as we sometimes feel.
Valentine’s Day morning is the perfect time to break open a journal and reminisce about our favorite people.
Finally: Go All Out with Your Friends
Take notes from Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation and party with your favorite platonic people this Valentine’s Day! Friends are the foundation of our mental health. When doctors check in on our mental health, their first question is usually, “Who is your support system right now?”
Support systems—read systems, not one individual person—are imperative to developing resilience and confidence in ourselves.
Don’t let your friends make all the plans while you follow blindly. Show them how much you care by hosting a night in, catered by comfy clothes, board games, or your favorite movies.
If you’re really craving the “commercialized” Valentine’s Day, go to a local restaurant for their Valentine’s Day special. However you do the day, share it with a friend! There are no real rules on Valentine’s Day, so make it your own.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Support
Whether we’re grieving the loss of a loved one, feeling the pain of a long-term relationship coming to an end, or suffering through another year of feeling alone, it’s important that we have people to lean on.
Sometimes we cut ourselves short when we hear ourselves complaining to friends. We don’t want to feel like we’re inconveniencing them or acting selfishly. (Though good friends likely want be there when you really need to vent or break down.) Either way—it can affect how much we want to share with them.
Working with a therapist is different. I’m hired to not only listen to people’s problems but to help them work through them and feel more at peace with themselves. EMDR therapy is a great way to start paying attention to unaddressed hurt, betrayal, grief, or any stuck feelings in your relationship past. Let’s work through those feelings together and help you find meaningful ways to heal.
Schedule an appointment with me today to get started.