Valentine’s Day seems to be one of those holidays that you either totally love or totally hate, regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. There’s tons of pressure put on us by society, family, and friends to have an EPIC Valentine’s Day. We’re bombarded with ads for flowers and jewelry and have to hear the question, “What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” about a hundred times leading up to the day.
It can be an extremely stressful and upsetting holiday, but only if you let it be. Follow these tips to protect your mental health this Valentine’s Day.
If You’re Single
Ignore society’s pressure
Society makes it seem like the right way to live is to be in a relationship. Sometimes being single seems to be looked down upon — but that’s a sham! There’s no shame at all in being single, even on Valentine’s Day. Don’t feel like you need to be in a relationship or dating somebody to enjoy the holiday.
Indulge in self care
Since you aren’t showering someone else with love on the holiday, why not shower yourself in some self-love? Show yourself some love by taking great care of yourself, doing your favorite self care activities, whether it’s taking a bath with a fancy bath bomb, doing some yoga, going for a run, journaling, or meditating. You know best what will benefit your mental health.
Who says you can’t be your own Valentine? Okay, so you might not want to go out to eat by yourself on “the most romantic day of the year,” but you can treat yourself to ordering in some of your favorite foods and watching a movie or binging a show. Buy yourself chocolates, flowers, or both if you feel so compelled… because…why not!
Plan something with friends or family
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be romantic. You can celebrate other types of love, like friend love or family love. Planning something to look forward to on Valentine’s Day can take the gloom and doom out of the holiday. Instead of worrying about how you’ll feel alone, you’ll be excited about hanging out with friends or family. For example, you can wrangle your single friends together and plan something fun, whether it’s a chill movie night in or a big night out.
Seek support if necessary
If you end up alone on Valentine’s Day and are feeling down, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Text or call a trusted person, whether a licensed therapist or a friend in your circle, and let them know that you need to vent. If you find yourself slipping into the territory of harmful or suicidal thoughts, it’s a good idea to call or text a crisis hotline such as Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (call 1-800-273-8255).
If You’re in a Relationship
Ignore society’s pressure
Yep, the first same tip as for the single folk! There can be even more pressure if you’re a couple to do something elaborate or buy your partner expensive gifts. Every couple is different, and not everybody is going to want to go out to a fancy dinner or long for a necklace from Kay Jewelers — despite how TV commercials make it seem. Try to shake off the pressure of having a “perfect” day.
You can’t expect one another to be mind readers, no matter how long you’ve been together. Here’s a revolutionary idea: have an actual conversation about what you both realistically want to do for the holiday, or if you’d even like to celebrate at all. Just because there’s a holiday, it doesn’t mean you have to observe it! This can be a great way to manage your expectations.
Plan in advance
If you do decide to do something for Valentine’s Day or give each other gifts, do not leave planning for the last minute! If you and your partner have an idea of what you want to do on Valentine’s Day, make a reservation at the restaurant in advance, buy tickets for the show before they sell out, whatever the plan may be — get an early start. Also, don’t wait to buy gifts or order flowers. Scrambling for last minute gifts equals anxiety central.
Again, every couple is different. You probably already realize that your relationship is different than the relationships other couples, right? Everyone’s different, afterall and therefore, your Valentine’s Day isn’t going to be the same. When you hear about friends’ plans, try not to compare your plans to theirs. This is also a good time to stay off of social media. Your feed is sure to be flooded with people bragging about their holiday, and seeing all of this can make you second guess yourself and question what you and your partner are doing. If your plans are good enough for you and your partner, and make both of you happy, that’s all that matters.
Remember the meaning of the holiday
Sure, all these companies want you to think the meaning of the holiday is to buy the coolest, most expensive gift for your partner, but it’s not — they’re just after your cash. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating love, and you don’t necessarily need lavish gifts or meals to prove that you and your partner are in a good place. Celebrate you and your partner’s unique love, appreciate the relationship you have, and be grateful.
Remember these tips leading up to Valentine’s Day so you can have a stress-free holiday, or at least feel a little bit less stressed than you did before. When it comes down to it, it’s just another day of the year, and on February 15th, everything will go back to normal.