For many of us, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to do something romantic — to buy flowers, go out for dinner, and stare lovingly into the eyes of our partners. But what about those of us who reject the notion that we should celebrate our love for only one commercialized day of the year?
My answer is this: Instead of stressing out about whether or not we have a date, why not celebrate our brilliant and beautiful selves instead?
Who says you need to have a partner to be whole? The idea that anyone (usually a woman) is supposed to live her life in pursuit of a relationship to feel fulfilled is, well, a little pre-historic. Many of us live fulfilling lives exactly as we are. And for some of us, it’s way easier dating ourselves — we don’t have to put up with the BS of parenting a man-child! I hate the idea that there is this misconceived idea that there is something wrong with us if we are single.
Now, I’m not here to say we shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day — even though it has some pretty dark origins. For those who do, I say good for you. I support you. But I am also here to ask why not take the opportunity to show ourselves a little more love? We spend the majority of our busy lives seeing to other people's needs — partners, children, or older parents — and we neglect our own.
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This is the perfect time to spend a few hours showing ourselves the love we deserve.
Take yourself on a solo date.
Go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant, head to the movies, or take yourself to an art gallery or museum. Or even better, splurge on a weekend away! If you’re more of an introvert or want to avoid all the couples celebrating Valentine’s Day together, get takeout, turn off your phone, and spend some quality time with your sofa and Netflix.
Hug your dog.
One of the reasons we feel good spending time with partners is that touch, or cuddling, can release the feel-good chemical oxytocin. That, in turn, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and elicits feelings of happiness. But you don’t need a partner to experience it — you can hug your pet, a girlfriend, or your child. Snuggling a pet is way simpler too — animals don’t talk back!
Make yourself breakfast in bed.
If you have to work on Valentine’s Day, you could prepare yourself a quick and easy smoothie bowl or if you have even less time, what about a Matcha Latte and your favorite meditation before getting ready for work?
Have a Great British Bake-off.
Challenge your girlfriends to a baking competition! Make your favorite cupcakes, or pie, or another recipe. You could make it double the fun and have a cupcake and PJ party with your girlfriends.
Get a massage or a manicure/pedicure.
What better way to celebrate yourself than to show your body a bit of love by getting completely pampered for a couple of hours? If your budget is tight, why not make an at-home spa day? You could make your own sugar scrub, light some candles, put on a facemask, and give yourself a foot massage and pedicure.
Take yourself shopping.
Buy that top you’ve been looking at for a while or the piece of furniture you’ve been ogling at the thrift store. Check out Goodwill for some treasures! I’d imagine they’re positively overflowing post the Marie Kondo cleanouts going on across the nation!
Have a long soak in the bath.
Make some cocoa, take your favorite book, light some candles, and sit back and chill for at least twenty minutes. Even better, add some Epsom salts to relax your muscles and de-stress.
Write yourself a love letter.
Take a moment to celebrate all of the things that make you who you are. What values do you admire about yourself? What have you achieved that you’re proud of, and what are some of the things that you’ve done that deserve recognition? What do you love about the challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. You may even want to reflect on ways you could be more supportive of yourself, like attending more yoga classes or meditating each day.
Buy some decent chocolate.
Splurge on a bar of your favorite chocolate and eat it unapologetically. You deserve it.
Make a gratitude list.
Make a list of all the things you love about your life and how they fulfill you. Which people in your life are you grateful for? Which relationships do you cherish the most?
Perhaps my best tip of all, though, is to banish the myth that you’re somehow incomplete for not sharing the day with a romantic partner. You’re perfect exactly as you are. Don’t let the Valentine’s Day messaging tell you otherwise!