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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and from experience, I know how hard it can be to be alone. Before meeting Kyle, I was always the single friend. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit just how much practice I have spending Valentine’s Day alone. I made a standing appointment with my counselor on every even remotely romantic holiday to avoid being triggered into an eating disorder relapse. In retrospect, I needed someone to objectively tell me that I was/am enough on my own. I needed someone to tell me it was just another day, and that just like every other day, even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes. Basically, I needed someone to remind me to love myself.
As she would point out holiday after holiday, the key to enjoying any touchy celebration as a single gal is simply to let go of all the pressure. So what if all your friends have dates? Who cares if you stay in and watch He’s Just Not That Into You? A good way to put things into perspective is to mentally switch places with your best friend. Would you judge her or him for being (gasp) single on Valentine’s Day? No way! Show yourself the same compassion and love. Of course, self-love is something you should show yourself every day, and there are thousands of ways to do it. Some holidays, Valentine’s Day in particular, can have an edge when you’re going through a tough time, so a little extra TLC should be afforded. If you need ideas for what to do on Valentine’s Day when you are single, here are 5 tried-and-true activities that’ll get you in the right headspace and eventually have you loving Valentine’s Day altogether.
1. Treat Yo’ Self
So many valuable Valentine’s Day lessons can be learned from Park and Recreation, one of which is designating a Treat Yo’ Self Day. On Treat Yo’ Self 2018, get takeout from your favorite restaurant. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Book a massage. Buy that bag you’ve been eyeing. Dress up. Do something out of the ordinary for yourself… just because you deserve it.
If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to go crazy. A bouquet of flowers costs $3 at Publix. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s costs less than $5 at Walmart or Target. Renting a movie costs $4ish on Amazon. Just swallow the modest cost and indulge a little.
Shop the Look: Striped Be Mine Heart Tee, $60 | Navy Capri Pants, $138 (This exact pair sold out during the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale, so I’ve linked a nearly identical style) | Nude Heels, $120 | Vera Bradley White Peony Tote, $228 | Triad Ball Drop Earrings, $13 | Daniel Wellington Navy Striped Watch, $105
2. Write Yourself a Letter
If you’re convinced you’re doomed to be single all your life, pop open a bottle of wine and write yourself a letter for next Valentine’s Day. Talk about how you feel, what your goals for the year are, and what you’re looking for in a relationship. Contrary to what some cynics believe, anyone can fall in love. Oftentimes the hard part is figuring out what we actually want or need in a partner. Open your letter in exactly one year. I did this two years in a row, and I was always amazed how much I’d grown. Plus, it’s compelling to see how even the most broken hearts heal. You may be depressed and mulling over an ended relationship, thinking the world is coming to an end. When you open the letter one year later, you’ll laugh at how silly it all sounded. Trust me, it’s one of the most positive and introspective experiences a single girl can have on Valentine’s Day.
3. Be a Secret Valentine
It’s true– science supports the benefits of giving. According to Psychology Today, “People’s sense of happiness is greater when they spend relatively more on others than on themselves.” Think about all your other friends who are single and moping on Valentine’s Day. Send one (or all) of them a care package. If you have a network of single girlfriends, organize a “Secret Valentine” exchange. That way, nobody will be present-less on Valentine’s Day!
If you feel like you’re the only single friend you’ve got, I’ve been there, too. It’s tough to say the least when you feel like your friends and family can’t relate to your feelings. In these cases, join an online Secret Valentine program! I did it two years in a row with other single bloggers and absolutely loved it! Not only did I get a bunch of awesome stuff in the mail, I also made a handful of new friends. If you have trouble finding a group to join, start your own! Post about it on Facebook or Twitter and ask people to sign up via Google doc. It’s super easy!
Shop the Post: Striped Be Mine Heart Tee, $60 | Gold Lip Tease Mug, $25 | Heart-Shaped Marshmallows, $8 (similar product linked; exact product is only sold in Target stores) | MAC Liptensity Lipstick, $21
4. Turn Off Your Phone
Social media can be deadly for single gals on Valentine’s Day. Do yourself a favor and turn off your phone. If you’re with friends at an epic Galentine’s Day celebration, you don’t need it anyway. Exchange phones with a girlfriend, so you’re not tempted to check it every 10 minutes. If you’re home alone and just want to binge on Netflix shows, don’t give into the temptation of potentially stalking your ex. Make it easy on yourself by turning it off and leaving it in another room.
If you do keep your phone on for whatever reason (work, kids, emergencies), stay off social media at all costs. Social media only highlights the best staged moments in other people’s lives. I do it for a living, and let’s be honest– I’m not going to post about how Nala keeps peeing inside the house or how Kyle and I got into an argument about dishes. It’s not reality, and subjecting your heart and mind to it on a day when you’re already feeling vulnerable is setting yourself up for sadness.
5. Celebrate “Do You” Day
Why is St. Valentine so important anyways? Replace the term “Valentine’s Day” with “Do You Day.” It totally changes your perspective. Instead of dwelling on just how single you are, spend the day doing whatever the heck you want with whomever the heck you want. Get dressed up for no reason and go to a girlfriend’s house. Watch scary movies, have a cat calendar photo shoot— just unapologetically do you.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!