Whether you’re reeling from a recent breakup or happily single, February 14th can be a tricky day to navigate when you’re flying solo.
For the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, we’re bashed over the head with messages of coupledom. It’s only natural to want to be able to join in on the lovefest.
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to love yourself most of all.
On the day of luuuuuv, here are 7 things for you to do for that special someone (I’m talking about YOU).
Use this list to create a love-packed day for yourself, or just choose one or two items on the list (one of them only takes 15 seconds, and most of them cost little to no money!).
1. Make reservations.
Not making reservations for two at a fancy-schmancy restaurant (for a fancy-schmancy price)? Pull out your planner right now and make a reservation for one—dedicated quality time to spend with yourself.
So many of us don’t give ourselves permission to dedicate guilt-free time to spend with ourselves. Block out at least a couple of hours to spend doing something you absolutely love.
Read for pleasure. Watch a movie you’ve been dying to see or an old favorite—or a marathon of your favorite TV show. Get a massage. Take a luxurious bubble bath. Play your guitar. Go for a long gratitude walk. Do your very favorite thing.
2. Make yourself a super-rad mix.
For me, and for many people I know, few things have the transformative power of music. There’s nothing like a thematic mix “tape” to get you through tough times, or create the mood and energy that will support you in moving forward.
Spend part of your Valentine’s Day making yourself a totally amazing mix CD (or playlist).
You can tailor the theme to your current situation. For example, if you’re getting over a breakup, you can make a mix of high-energy, empowering songs, or bluesy, I-feel-your-pain songs.
I’ve known people to make “[Your Name]’s Sassy Lady Mix,” “_____’s Kickass Mix,” “_____’s All-Purpose Heartbreak Mix,” “_____’s Happiness Mix,” “Chin Up Mix,” “Piss Off Mix,” “Pent-Up Mix,” “Stop Your Sobbing Mix,” “Soooooo Over You Mix,” and “Letting Go Mix,” just to name a few. (On another topic, there’s also “_____’s Career Inspiration Mix,” for all my career transitioners out there! And, of course, the “Dance! Dance! Dance! Mix”–do you really need a reason?)
3. Create an Evidence Box (or a Happy File/Folder).
An Evidence Box is a collection of words and objects that remind you of your own awesomeness. The words and objects in the box serve as reminders of your greatness, and your power of inspiration. They represent what you have the power to create with your love, your wisdom, your warmth–the way you engage with those around you each and every day.
I have my own Evidence Box. In moments when I feel tired, discouraged, or uncertain, this box contains my evidence: evidence that I am loved, and a reminder that I have mattered to somebody.
To make your own Evidence Box, purchase a wooden or metallic box that you like, or decorate a shoebox with wrapping paper or magazine collage.
What goes into the box?
- Cards or notes that people have written that thank you or acknowledge the difference you made for them
- Photographs of fantastically happy times—or a photograph of someone who believes in you and always supports you
- Print-outs of emails that touched you or made you smile
- Quotes from work evaluations or testimonials of your amazing work
- Anything else that makes you smile or reminds you of how great you are
Anytime you get a new piece of evidence, you can add it to the box. And anytime you doubt your power, your beauty, or your strength, you can take out your Evidence Box and tap into all of your accomplishments and the way you’ve touched other people’s lives.
This is a great project for any day of the year—what better day to start than on the day of love?
4. Literally hug yourself.
Yes, I’m serious. We all just want to be held sometimes. Often, when you’re feeling lonely or craving a partner, part of what you’re craving is physical touch.
Especially when doing the brave work of transition, people often wish to cuddle or to be held.
It is totally normal to want that physical touch—and it can be hard when there’s no one around to give it to you.
Silly as this feels, just try it.
Give yourself a 15-second-plus hug.
Really put yourself into it, as much as if you were hugging someone else. Put all the love into it that you would put into hugging a partner, a family member, or a good friend. It might help to close your eyes and channel the feeling of a really good hug you’ve had. It might help to smile and to breathe.
I’ve had clients report that the self-hugging practice, once they got over the initial self-conscious silliness of it, actually made a huge difference for them.
(Of course, hugging friends and family can help too. But if it’s just you, don’t let that stop you from getting your hug on!)
5. Do a chore that you really hate.
Yes, you read that right! Doing something to improve your physical environment and take care of your space shows love and respect for yourself. It’s a way to nurture yourself.
Beyond that, tackling a dreaded task frees up your energy by removing something from your to-do list.
Choose a household chore that you have been putting off for a long time, put on some music or radio station that you love—and just do it. Then find a way to enjoy it being done!
For example, clean the tub; then take a bath. Delutter your desk; then enjoy writing a letter at it. Declutter the living room; then enjoy reading a book or watching a movie or having a friend over.
6. Buy flowers (or a plant!) for yourself.
Give yourself something beautiful to look at. A bouquet of flowers is on the list of things that many people never consider buying for themselves. Why shouldn’t you give flowers to someone who is absolutely worthy of them—you?
7. Write yourself a love letter
telling you all the things you love about yourself, listing all the things you’re proud of yourself for, and thanking yourself for all that you’ve accomplished.
Address the letter, stamp it, and put it in the mail. You’ll get it a couple of days later. Better yet, give the letter to a friend with instructions to mail it to you weeks or months later. Or, seal it, write the date of next Valentine’s Day on the envelope, and open it up a year from now (a new Valentine’s Day tradition!). Chances are you’ll have forgotten what you wrote, and it will give you a boost!
Alternatively, write a letter laying out your dreams for yourself in the upcoming year. Again, date it 2/14/14 and open it next year. That will give you a chance to celebrate your progress and/or get you back on track.
How will you love yourself this Valentine’s Day? Share in the comments below.
Do you know someone who’s dreading February 14th? Share this article with him or her.
Finally, don’t forget that February 13th is Galentine’s Day!