Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day, but I beg you, do not stress. You’re single? Don’t stress. Overwhelmed with all the work piling up right now? Please, just don’t stress. In a relationship and don’t know how to celebrate? Don’t even break a sweat.
That’s not what it’s all about. We’ve been nurtured into a society that puts a lot of pressure on being in love and proving it with chocolates and roses on this cathartic day. The anxiety might hit when you start seeing the pink and red boxes and bags of chocolates and candies start to be sold. If you make up the population without a person to love, then you just sort of trickle into the background, getting sympathetic looks from some, but eye rolls from the ones who understand your position (and if you’re smart enough to capitalize on the post-Valentines Day chocolate sales, you’re at the advantage that you don’t have to share them with a significant other).
But this shouldn’t make you panic. Don’t feel ostracized by society for being “single”. You’re not alone! You’re actually in some pretty great company…you! Yes, you! You, yourself, and you, you, you! How lucky that you get to spend some time with yourself!
My Dr. Seuss moment aside, all I’m asking is for you to be kind to yourself. On Valentine’s Day, but not exclusively then. Don’t resent yourself for being single, busy, or lonely. Embrace yourself for being extraordinary. And spend some quality time with the great person you are. I can preach to you like I’m Oprah, but you’ve got to realize all this yourself. And for those in a relationship, the love you give to yourself is still the most important, because you can’t truly love someone else unless you love yourself first. And the love you give to others is just so better when it starts from within. So here are some things to inspire you in personalizing a routine for being kind to yourself:
Perhaps fitting the generic instructions on “how to relax”, taking a bath or long hot shower, doing a face mask, or just giving yourself a well-rounded pamper, are effective when it comes to self-love. But don’t force yourself to do something if you don’t like it. Not everyone likes to sit still in a tub or put ancient seaweed mud on their face. The morals behind spa time are doing things that make you feel like you’re taking care of your body. They are the things that help you unwind the most. This is therapeutic, this feeling of physical self-improvement. But I urge you to take a moment to think about what kinds of self-pampering you would enjoy the most. And then do them.
The definition of good has its own complexities. Whether it’s something so bad that it’s good, or a fascinating documentary you’ve had on your list for a while. Again, this is personal, and you should embrace that. There’s nothing wrong with watching the entire High School Musical trilogy in one night. The same way there’s no shame in binging Planet Earth. The goal here is to watch something that will stick with you for a little bit. Maybe something that stimulates a feeling, whether it makes you happy, curious, or intellectually invigorated.
*Movie Recommendation: The Lobster, I feel is especially suited to what I’m talking about here. It’s a brilliant dark indie comedy about a strange dystopian society where single people are checked into an institution where they must find a partner in 45 days, otherwise they’ll be turned into an animal. It sounds absurd but trust me, it’s good. Also, Colin Farrell. 🙂
Take some time to let everything out on a blank page. Either purge your thoughts and feelings into a journal or unleash your inner Emily Carr on a canvas. Everyone needs an artistic outlet, whatever it may be. Or maybe this is the time for you to try something new? How about picking up a new hobby, like origami or embroidery or adult colouring?
Something that I find calms me down when I feel overwhelmed is organizing my life on paper. Either in my agenda, writing down even the smallest things in my schedule, making a to-do list (vital during the school semester), or even just brainstorming for creative projects I have. These are things that help me feel somewhat on top of my life and help me stay relaxed in moments of high stress.
While the thought of indulging in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s sounds delicious, try to remind yourself how it might make you feel afterwards (unless of course, you’re one of the lucky few who has a stomach of steel). Food is such a necessary part of taking care of yourself, because you need all your nutrients to be the superhero that you are. If you like to cook, take the time to wind down and make your favourite meal.
And I don’t mean doing a juice cleanse. This detox is more profound and requires some self-analysis. Think about the things in your life that make you unhappy or give you unnecessary stress. Can you do anything to change them? Are you able to subtract them out of your life? Assess your priorities and the things you can live without. A metaphoric cleaning of your closet (though getting rid of old clothes isn’t a bad idea). You want to cleanse out the things that take a negative toll on you. Nobody needs that, and you’ll come out of it feeling stronger than before (and better than a juice cleanse).
So Valentine’s Day, as commercial as it is, is about love. It doesn’t have to be about loving another person. It can and should also be about giving that loving energy to yourself. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, you need to love yourself before expecting others to love you too. I don’t mean this solely for being in a couple, but also for your relationships with friends and family. If you love yourself, this positive energy will radiate off of you, inspire others, and make you oh so attractive!
If you are in a relationship, that’s something remarkable too. However, don’t lose this idea of loving yourself, even though you need to now share that energy with loving another individual. Realistically, you have no guarantee if this person will be with you forever, but you do know, for a fact, that you’ll always have yourself. And if I haven’t said it enough, you are extraordinary, so cherish that.