As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I’ve noticed that the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day can be a bit rocky, with more couples hitting rough patches and breakups. Even in my own dating relationships before getting married, I noticed that there was a tendency to break up right before Valentine’s Day. So what gives? Have you wondered why this lovey-dovey holiday seems to stir up so much drama?
According to research from 2014 by William J. Chopik et al., partners in romantic relationships that are already weakened were five times more likely to break up within the two weeks before Valentine’s Day than they were any other day of the year! And while some people don’t associate Valentine’s Day with depression, if you have recently gone through a breakup or you are dealing with ongoing disappointment in your dating life, Valentine’s Day can lead to stress and feelings of depression. So if your relationship has recently ended or you are feeling disappointed about being single, here are 5 tips for surviving Valentine’s Day alone.
Tips for Surviving Valentine’s Day Alone
Make Plans with Friends
Valentine’s Day might be all about hearts and flowers, but it doesn’t have to be a bummer if you’re single. One of my best memories of Valentine’s Day is from a year when I and many of my friends were single. We planned a big dinner with about 15 single friends and had an absolute blast. There was lots of laughing and no pressure or stress from it being Valentine’s Day. So call your friends and schedule something fun together – dinner, bowling, or a movie night. Skip the romantic drama and instead make memories with some of the special people in your circle.
Practice Good Self-care
No plans or company for the day? That’s okay! Use the day to take care of yourself and maybe even a little more so than usual. Have you been wanting to go for a hike and just haven’t found the time? You can use the week of Valentine’s Day to find the time to do some things that you have been wanting to do. Want to get your hair done or schedule a massage? Valentine’s Day, or in the days around Valentine’s Day, allow yourself to bump up your self-care.
Keep it Low-Key
Not in the mood for all the fuss? That’s fine! If you don’t love the idea of Valentine’s Day, you can choose to treat it like any other day. Stick to your routine, skip the heart-shaped chocolates at the checkout line, and just do you. Give yourself permission to skip the hype and treat it like any other day.
Be Your Own Valentine
Feeling down about being alone on Valentine’s Day? Take matters into your own hands and be your own Valentine. Is there a special Valentine’s treat or a special Valentine’s meal that you’d like? Is there a certain item that you wish someone else would buy for you? Purchase it for yourself. You can even choose to send yourself some flowers. This gift or flowers will be extra special because it’s from the person who knows you best—YOU.
Make it Special for Someone Else
Okay, so if Valentine’s Day isn’t your jam, you can find enjoyment from it by making it special for someone else. I never really liked Valentine’s Day until I had kids. Making it a special day for them and helping them celebrate with classmates changed my feelings about it. If you’re not into the whole Valentine’s Day thing, consider brightening someone else’s day. Know someone who could use some love on Valentine’s Day? Maybe someone who has recently lost a significant other? Here are some gift ideas for making someone else’s day special:
Gift basket with tea, coffee, or other goodies
A promise of time spent together
Homemade cookies or other treats
Consider the Bigger Picture
Don’t forget the reasons why you’ve chosen to be single. Maybe you haven’t met the right person, or maybe you’ve met the right person but the timing just hasn’t worked out. It’s okay to embrace being single and enjoy the perks and independence that come along with not being in a relationship While a great relationship can bring joy, being stuck in a less-than-great one is far worse than being single. Also, remember to not compare yourself to those you see posting about their relationships on social media. What you see on social media as on Instagram and Facebook might not tell the full story.
Thinking Beyond Romantic Love
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about hearts, flowers, and happy couples. It can also be about spreading love to friends, family, and most importantly, to yourself through self-care and self-love. By trying these tips, you can make Valentine’s Day a day of positive feelings and connections, regardless of your relationship status.
Whether you’re married or happily solo, remember to be kind to yourself and not put too much stress on yourself because of the highly commercialized holiday. If you are finding that you are feeling more anxious or depressed around Valentine’s Day and want to speak with a mental health professional, feel free to contact us.
For more information about dealing with Valentine’s Day depression and tips for surviving Valentine’s Day alone, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.