It can sometimes be easy to forget that Valentine's Day is just another day, especially when you're living the single life. It's only as important as you decide it is, despite what the world and the greeting card industrial complex insists on telling you. Still, if you're alone on Valentine's Day, it can sometimes be tough to avoid feelings of loneliness.
"Being [lonely] on Valentine's Day's a very normal feeling. Even if you don't like to be influenced by what seems like such a commercially motivated holiday, it's still difficult to escape its impact on you if you don't have an intimate partner — or a loving relationship," Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of Training Your Love Intuition, tells Elite Daily.
A lot of those emotions come from the outside pressures of what you "should" be doing on Valentine's Day, Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples' therapist in Los Angeles, tells Elite Daily. "Much of the pain you can feel about this is related to the societal pressure to be with someone," Dr. Brown says. "We see the emphasis on coupling almost everywhere we turn: in the movies, social media, literature, cable and the internet, and commercials — so much of which involves being in a couple. It's no wonder that singles feel both internal and external pressure around this holiday."
Fortunately, you don't have to feel this way. There are ways to tune your attention to other things and people. Here's how the experts suggest ringing in this Valentine's Day if you're single and feeling the blues.
Create a gratitude journal.
When you're upset, it can be hard to focus on anything else. But by making a conscious effort to reflect on all of the wonderful things in your life, you can begin to shift your mindset. Dr. Brown suggests taking this holiday as an opportunity to begin incorporating gratitude into your daily routine. “One of the things you can do to help lift your spirits is to create a gratitude journal. At my lowest points, I've found that the quickest way to feel better is to focus more on what I do have in life, rather than what I don't have,” he explains. “Live in gratitude and your spirits may be lifted.”
Celebrate with friends.
So you don't have a steady romantic relationship in your life right now. Why not celebrate the other kind of loving connection you do have: your friendships? Make plans to do something special with your besties, suggests Dr. Wish. “Arrange ahead of time to watch a movie virtually with your friends or family members," she says. "Stay connected as you watch and comment together.”
You can also embrace the tradition of Galentine’s Day, as Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop, tells Elite Daily. “Galentine's Day falls on the 13th, the day before V-Day, but no one says you can't also celebrate it on V-day. Get back out there, flirt, have a great dinner with the gals [if it's safe to do so], and you'll forget about not having anyone," she suggests.
Be your own Valentine.
Who says your special Valentine has to be someone else? No one. You can totally choose to celebrate yourself this year. After all, the one person you'll have a relationship with for your whole life is you, so don't you deserve a little self-love? “Ask yourself: What can I do that's also special and meaningful for me? Think big or small. Make a real list of what you'd like to do on ‘your day,’" suggests Dr. Wish.
Chong agrees that Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to have a “me day.” It's all about finding ways to treat and pamper yourself, she explains. “Dress yourself in comfortable clothes, run a bubble bath with a bath bomb, get a bunch of roses for yourself and get great take-out," Chong suggests.
Get away from it all.
Sometimes, the best way to reset your mood is to get a change of scenery, explains Chong. “Go on a nature walk or hike somewhere off the beaten track. You're less likely to run into couples there... and you'll be surrounded by wild landscapes,” she says. Getting in tune with nature and away from it all can help put Valentine's Day and all its myriad pressures completely out of your mind.
Do a little early spring cleaning.
If you don't have any special plans on Valentine’s Day, it just means your schedule is open for doing something meaningful with your time. Dr. Wish suggests taking the day to do a little spring cleaning with the bonus of giving back. “Go through your closets or pantry and select things to give to charities. This activity makes you feel more in charge of you, and it also helps others,” she says.
Feeling good about being alone on Valentine’s Day ultimately comes down to celebrating the connections you have in your life and being gentle with yourself if you do experience some sadness. “We're social beings. Instead of getting angry, depressed, or resentful on Valentine's Day, keep in mind that our brains are wired to function best when we're connected to others in meaningful ways,” explains Dr. Wish. “We're also beings who function best when we like ourselves. So, do something that's important to you that makes you feel good about you.”
Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles
Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup coach and host of the Why Women Love Toxic Men Workshop