Whether you celebrate it or not, Valentine's Day can be a lot. There’s nothing like being surrounded by loved-up couples, heart-shaped balloons, and romantic-themed cocktails to make you think of your own dating life. However, if you find Valentine's Day hard, there are some practical steps you can take to lift your mood. Feb. 14 is all about love and you should extend that to yourself.
As Psychotherapist Amy Launder explains, Feb. 14. can be tough for a number of different reasons. For those who are single and don't want to be, it's not ideal. However, it can also be hard for someone who’s in a relationship, but not happy, Launder says, as they "might be confronted with the disparity between what they wanted their relationship to be and how it actually is."
Sex and Relationship Therapist Peter Saddington adds that, because Valentine's Day "pushes the idea that everyone else is in love," it can make people "feel different to everybody else, which introduces shame or anxiety." Saddington continues: "And if you’ve had a difficult end to a relationship that wasn’t your choice it can re-open grieving."
Do something different
Speaking about techniques to help you on Feb. 14, Saddington advises: "One way to deal with how Valentine's Day makes you feel is doing something radically different. It’ll challenge you and take you out of your norm and make you start thinking in different ways. Go roller skating or visit a place you’d never go. It’ll force your mind to concentrate on that and will take you away from sad thoughts."
Launder agrees, suggesting a comedy show, a trampoline park, or just someone you can celebrate with your friends. You could also try something new, like pottery, art, yoga, and pole fitness. Or, if that doesn't appeal, you could do something you familiar, as long as it relaxes you and you enjoy it.
Launder suggests taking a break from social media and instead spending you time "planning and investing in yourself: What are your goals in life, work, finance, and what are you going to do each day/week/month in order to move you closer to these goals?"
Or, treat it like a normal day
Psychologist Chris Beale, on the other hand, has a different approach: “Try to treat it like a normal day,” he says. Hopefully, less attention you give the holiday, the less effect it will have on your mood. If you go about your business as usual, the end of the day will come before you know it.
Beale adds: “keep to whatever routine you’d normally have and try to treat yourself in some way ... look after yourself and connect with other people if you can.”
If things feel more serious
If Feb. 14 is bringing you down in a serious way, it may be worthing digging a little deeper to understand why. You shouldn’t downplay the negative feelings you if they are really bothering you. As Beale says, “If you find that Valentine's Day is triggering feelings of anxiety then it’s worth talking about it. Are there other things at play?”
If you feel very anxious or upset, talking to someone professional is one option that could help. "If you keep finding yourself in the same position and haven't found a way forward then talking to a counsellor may unlock what the problem is all about," says Saddington.
Creating special rituals of self care around Valentine's Day can turn it into more of a positive holiday, so don't be afraid to prioritise number one this year.