It goes without saying that this Valentine’s Day will be like no other. Not only is it unlikely that couples will be able to celebrate the day of love outside their homes, but people are generally finding themselves more isolated than ever before. People who became newly single struggled to date during the pandemic, while the long-term, happy singles have been unable to spend much time with their loved ones.

This year, we want to spread as much love and positivity on Valentine’s Day as possible. It’s not just about romantic love: it’s about having the ability to love yourselves, your friends, and your family. We have spoken to people about what Valentine’s Day means to them this year. Their answers might just surprise you and put a smile on your face.

Galentine’s Day is on the radar

For newly single Steff Hanson, a content creator from Worcestershire, it’s about celebrating her close friends with Galentine’s Day. The day was created by Parks and Recreation’s fictional feminist Leslie Knope and is about “ladies celebrating ladies”.

Steff explains, “A few months before the first COVID lockdown, I got out of a 15-month long relationship. I experienced heartache for a long time, so I didn’t celebrate 14th February last year because I was too sad.

“This year, my heart has healed, but I’ve unable to date anyone because of the pandemic. So, me and my best friend are doing Galentine’s Day because we’re always there for one another. We’ll be sending each other a card and a present.” We love the idea of spending a virtual Galentine’s Day with your favourite girlfriends, in your cosiest nightwear and with a glass of wine in hand!

As well as sharing the love with her closest friend, Steff is also using the day to spread love and positivity to loved ones who has been through a difficult time. “I will also be sending something on Valentine’s Day to my other best friend, who lost her husband to cancer not so long ago, as well as my great aunt, who lost her husband a few years ago too.

“They both live alone and are unable to go out because of the pandemic, so I want to cheer them up by sending them something heart-shaped/love-themed.” What a thoughtful gesture!

It’s about more than gifts

Relationship coach Juliette Smith also believes this is a time to spread love to our nearest and dearest. She says, “My experience of the past year is that people have become very protective of their nearest and dearest. That’s understandable because survival is our most basic instinct.

“But as well as our need to survive, we have other needs that include love and belonging.” Juliette highlights the origins of Valentine’s Day, which was born out of a focus on love – and not just romantic love. She says it’s “the kind of love that’s been in abundance since the pandemic began”.

For Juliette, sharing love is about more than giving gifts. It’s about being kind to others. “We should remember that love isn’t just what happens when someone sends us a card or a present. It can also be a feeling; an inner experience which doesn’t have to be romantic. We can feel love when we’re kind and compassionate too.”

Self-love is important, too, according to Juliette. She says, “We can choose to shower ourselves with love and care. By taking some time out, we can silence our inner critic and be grateful for who we are and what we have. Remember, it’s hard to love others if you don’t love yourself.”

We couldn’t agree more!

Appreciating what we have

A common theme amongst the responses we received was around appreciating the people in our lives. For Segilola, this is driving the desire to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. “People have come to realise that tomorrow is not guaranteed, so they appreciate that they need to vocalise how they feel to their loved ones before the chance passes them by.”

Author and blogger Segilola also agrees that Valentine’s Day goes beyond romantic love. “Valentine’s for me is first and foremost a time for general love. When I was a child, I didn’t know any better. It was a time my sister and I made cards for our parents to remind them that we loved them. That’s a tradition that I grew up with.” We love this adorable childhood tradition!

This sentiment, however, can be forgotten due to the non-stop nature of our lives. Segilola concludes: “We get so busy with our everyday lives that we forget to remind the people that matter to us how much they mean to us.” Let’s make a commitment to changing that.

Making it a Valentine’s Day to remember

We love the themes that have come out of our discussions around what Valentine’s Day means to people. Celebrating your love with your partner is beautiful. But, now more than ever, we need to spread the love to everyone important in our lives. And we can’t forget to treat ourselves with kindness. Self-compassion is a sure-fire way to appreciate yourself in these potentially isolating times. You then give yourself the platform to be there for your loved ones who may be struggling.

As Steff says, “I’m making Valentine’s Day this year about showing love to people who need it more than ever. I will be making it special for them by writing lovely, thoughtful words to them and showing them I care.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.