When we think of the classic “perfect” Valentine’s Day, we tend to associate it with romantic love.  The giving and receiving of flowers, chocolate, & maybe a shiny bauble. When we’re young, we may visualize sharing it with the partner who makes us feel elated just to be around. As we age, the perfect day may more be one of sharing with someone who is there as our lover, partner and friend. Ideally, someone who loves us because of our quirks rather than in spite of them. Regardless of the gift or relationship we ascribe to the day, Valentine’s Day is typically a day we associate sharing with another person.   

Whatever Valentine’s Day conjures for you, for many of us, being single on Valentine’s Day can leave us feeling lonely, sad, or even full of shame.   We imagine all those coupled people are better off, empathizing and supporting each other in their every move. And given the lifetime of images we’ve been handed of what the perfect Valentine’s Day is supposed to look like, it’s no wonder. 

But what if we shake off that traditional definition of romance on Valentine’s Day?  Then, can we start feeling better? You bet.

Focusing all of that amazing loving energy welled up inside on sadness because of that special someone is not your present reality, is a self-destructive waste of time. 

With a shift in perspective, Valentine’s Day can be used as a launch pad forward to focus on the one person you can always trust, you.  

If you have been following me, for a while you already know where I’m going.  Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to engage in deep and radical Self-Care. Here are my five self-care tips curated just for you to make Make Valentine’s Day an “I Love Myself Day!” 

1.     Give Yourself Some Me Time:  Take a much needed break from all of those responsibilities to other people and obligations.  They’ll all be there tomorrow. For today, take a step back and consider what you need to truly nourish your soul.  Even if that something feels “lazy” or like something you’re not “supposed” to do, such as sitting in bed watching movies all day.  It’s just a day, and if that’s going to help you press reset, go for it!

2.    Take a Walk:  There are few things that feel as healing and loving to me is taking a nice long walk outside.  Whether exercise is your thing or not, the act of placing yourself in an alternate environment and getting your blood pumping (even just a little) will do wonders for your body and mind.  Plus, taking a walk outside can interrupt whatever negative thoughts you may be ruminating on when you’re stuck in your same indoor routine!  

3.    Meditate /breathe:  Few things can be as calming as a half hour guided meditation.  If you’re not accustomed to meditating on your own, sign up for a local meditation class.  If going to classes is not your thing, try on a guided online meditation app such as Calm or Headspace.  Another wonderful easily accessible tool that can help you reset your day is a few rounds of deep belly breathing.  Breath in through your nose for a slow count of three. Hold at the top. Breath out through your nose (or through pursed lips) for a count of five.  Repeat three to five times. 

4.    Engage in Relaxing Activities:  Do more of what you love.  Take a cooking class with a friend.  Paint, write, draw. Take a nap. Read.  Listen to uplifting podcasts or watch an uplifting movie. Cook yourself a beautiful meal. Maybe even clean out your closet.  Few things can be as loving as giving yourself the gift of space. Take two hours to bag up all the things you no longer need.  Donate them. Admire your work and allow yourself to feel a great sense of accomplishment and even a burst of new found peace.

5.    Make Galentine’s (or Malentine’s) Day Plans:  If you are alone and don’t like being by yourself, by all means, make plans. Reach out to an old pal who you don’t get to see or speak to often and invite them take a walk, share a meal, grab a drink or tea.  If it feels like all your friends are coupled and you aren’t inspired to reach out to friends from the past, consider taking a pre-organized class with others on this day. Check out what’s happening in your community.  You may be surprised by the variety of opportunities to bond with new interesting people.

Remember, the most important kind of love is self-love.  By self-love is the radical acceptance of who we are. It is the love that allows us to be our best selves.  It gives us the power to recognize who and what we can change and who and what we need to accept. It prevents us from engaging in the needless, and senseless comparison of our lives to the lives of those around us.  Self-love allows us true emotional freedom. Happy Gal/Mal/Valentine’s Day to you! You are in great, beautiful, loving company.