“Learning to Love Yourself Whilst By Yourself Valentine’s Day 2021”

While it’s clear that we aren’t necessarily living in the most social of realities as of right now, it still seems true that many of us will feel the sting of loneliness much more potently around this time of year. For many, Valentine’s Day can bring about a particular kind of sadness or bitterness, fanned by the plotlines of rom-coms or the newest commercial tactics attempting to lure you into buying more heart-shaped goodies. These are feelings that we’ve gotten used to around February and, in truth, they’re completely normal. But we’d like to believe that we’ve moved past the trope of the sobbing, spiteful, binging woman throwing anti-Valentine’s Day parties and destroying hearts (á la Jessica Biel’s character in the movie, Valentine’s Day). While, occasionally, it can feel good, even healthy to let out any anger or frustration that you have towards the holiday on said holiday, the notion that one little day has the power to break down strong, accomplished women just because they’re not romantically linked to anyone is a little disconcerting. Everyone wants to love and be loved—that much is undeniable. But lacking a romantic partner absolutely does not mean that Valentine’s Day has to stand as a day of dark and gloom. Instead of throwing an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party (which is more likely to just create more unnecessary negative energy), lean into the theme of love and use the day to nurture your relationship with yourself. Take back your Valentine’s Day and take care of yourself with the following self-care tips:

Set the Mood

Before you do anything, you should get yourself in the best possible atmosphere for a day of self-care and self-love. An important note and reminder: tailor it for you. You’re the one enjoying this day, so you should be in an environment where you feel most comfortable and relaxed. Maybe you feel best when you feel confident and sexy, so put on your favorite matching set and zhoosh up your hair a bit. Or maybe you feel most like yourself when you’re in your comfiest pair of PJs, ready to hunker down for a movie marathon. Follow your heart, so to speak. Dim the lights, light some candles, play your favorite self-love playlist (if you don’t have one, we’d definitely recommend you try and find one). Get in the bathtub or bulk up the couch with cushions, pillows, and blankets. Maybe you can even tidy up your living space if you’re feeling in the mood and/or if that helps clear your headspace. You’re the leading lady of your own life. So, on this day of self- love: own it.

Go Phone-Free (If Possible)

If you find yourself in a position to do so, it might be the right move to “un-plug” for the day. With social media acting as a quick route for comparing yourself to others, on a day where you want to focus to be all on you, you’ll want to avoid the temptation to peek at other people’s posts. Even the strongest, most independent of us can feel small in the vast world of the Internet. So take a break from Instagram-scrolling for a bit and focus your energy instead on reading the last few chapters of that book you’ve been meaning to finish or on binge watching (or binge re-watching—no judgement) one of your favorite series. Lock your phone in a box for the day or just shut it down completely. If you need your phone for work, maybe just set a one-minute time limit on your social media apps and use your phone strictly for business. You could also try hiding your socials in a folder or on another page on your Home Screen. Out of sight, out of mind, you know?

Make Something

One sure way to feel love for yourself is by feeling like you have accomplished something. And what’s a better way to know that you’ve accomplished something than by making that something with your own two hands? This can take the form of baking some sweet treats (you’ll probably want something indulgent to nosh on whilst practicing your self-care anyways), cooking up a more ambitious dinner, completing a puzzle, or maybe even crafting something like with a DIY candle-making or bookbinding kit. Working your way through a process step-by-step and ending with a beautiful, final product can almost be meditative, healing. By doing deliberate motions with an end-product in mind, you can remind yourself that this mindset can be applied to most anything in life. You can be as in control of your life as you are with your knitting. Know that you can accomplish most anything, even if for today that just means making a killer chocolate cake.

Allow Yourself to Indulge

This one may seem obvious, but it’s true and it’s important. Allow yourself to indulge a bit, however that manifests in your life. For some, this may mean going on a bit of an online shopping spree or having an extra glass of wine. For others, it might just mean allowing yourself to indulge in the pleasure of having time to relax, where you don’t feel the pressure to be “productive” or to check things off of a list. Indulge in life at a slower pace and take some time to just be with yourself, whether through mediation or just through personal reflection. Indulge in a favorite song, movie, or series, playing it over and over without guilt. Sit in the bathtub for over an hour, no matter how wrinkled your fingers might be getting. This is an exercise in allowing yourself to do the little things that make you happy, no matter how excessive they might seem. If you’re only indulging in them for a day, they’re probably doing much more good for your mind than harm, anyways.

Practice Gratitude

Lastly, one of the most positive ways that you can foster self-care this Valentine’s Day is by practicing gratitude. This can allow you to focus on all of the good that there is in there life, and once you give yourself the time to reflect on it, there’s sure to be a lot. Be grateful for being present, for being cognizant enough to practice your self-love instead of wallowing in self-pity. Find comfort in your gratitude for your friends, for your platonic connections and soul families, for all of the people who exist in your life to lift you up. Knowing that there are things in your life that you feel unparalleled gratitude towards is a way of acknowledging that you love the life that you are leading and are secure within yourself and your place in the world. If possible, you might even find that you can use this gratitude to help spread love to others on Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you can find opportunities to volunteer and help others feel less lonely or you can send love notes or Valentines to your family and friends to remind them that you’re grateful for their unconditional love. Using the day of love to spread love and positivity to others can certainly act as a beam of light on the darkest of days. Redefine your Valentine’s Day and make it about love again.

 

@ginascrocca