Valentine’s Day is a romantic time for couples – a special day to express love. But it can also put pressure on people who, every other day of the year, are perfectly fine with their single status. Are you one of the millions of singles who is lonely on this day? Feeling alienated or insecure may leave you depressed – and worried that you don’t have the energy or motivation to do what is in your best interests.
But you don’t have to react like that. Although you can’t control whether or not you have a romantic attachment at this time, you can control how you handle Valentine’s Day.
Follow these 10 tips and you can put this one day a year in perspective and take your stress level down a notch:
1. Give yourself an emotional break and watch what happens. With a deep breath, release any negative thoughts you have about not being in a relationship. Actively dispute the notion that you are unworthy or unattractive. Choose an affirmation that rings true for you – I’m fine just the way I am; my life is full of those who care about me – and repeat it out loud, with conviction and often.
2. Take a step back and trust your instincts. Listening to your inner voice can provide comfort and reassurance about where you are right now. As you recognize your strengths, focus on why you’re happy with who you are and what’s important to you. Be sure that you’re integrating your core values and personal ideals into how you live your life.
3. Pay attention to the positives in your relationships. Notice who you enjoy spending time with and what about them brings you pleasure. And remember that your personal character and qualities make them want to be your friends. Relax into your friendships as you enjoy fuller and deeper conversations.
4. Connect often with others. Going out with a group of colleagues can sometimes be more fun than a date. And having support is especially important when you’re feeling down. You can bring more intimacy into your circle of friends. Be willing to reveal your opinions and needs so that they have access to your inner world. And encourage them to do the same with you.
5. Lower your expectations about today. Actually, there really is no perfect day, so relax. Be realistic and proactive. You can take the lead and make a plan – organize a potluck dinner, a hike in the hills or a barbeque at the park. The wonderful memories you create will last long after the day is over.
6. Give back some love. Do you have a relative or neighbor who could use a visit or phone call? Go outside your normal routine and get in touch with someone you’ve been meaning to call – it could brighten the day for both of you. Studies show that when you shift attention away from yourself to others, you actually feel better.
7. Volunteer your time. Nothing makes the day more special than a good deed. And the payback of altruism or giving back can help you see the situation from a much better perspective. Spending the day in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter helps those in need, increases your connections and can improver your sense of self.
8. Let go of bad feelings and think positive. If you continue to feel frustrated, angry or disappointed, remember that a minor change in attitude can make a big difference in how you relate to others. According to Indira Gandhi, “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” Try to find humor in your situation and fall back on laughter.
9. Focus on a relationship plan. If it’s what you want, you can define objectives that will move you in that direction. Tell those you trust that you would appreciate being fixed up. Make a list of what you expect in a partner and what changes you may be willing to make. Join a singles group or a dating website. Take whatever steps you think are vital to improve your chances.
10. Relax and rejuvenate to relieve stress. Nurture yourself and your body through regular exercise, good nutrition and proper rest. Attend to your mind and your spirit. Practice techniques of deep breathing or your own form of meditation. And set aside quiet time to do what brings you pleasure. This sort of attitude will sustain you as well as promote greater self care.
On Valentine’s Day, give yourself the priceless gift of a life less stressed. Mark the calendar with February 14th as the first day of the rest of your life. Commit to keeping your worry in check and maintaining balance in your life. As you savor your newfound power, cast a love spell in celebration of you.
© 2010, Her Mentor Center
About the Author:
Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D is the founder of http://HerMentorCenter.com, a website for midlife women and http://NourishingRelationships.blogspot.com, a blog for the Sandwich Generation. She publishes a free monthly newsletter and is the author of a forthcoming book about family relationships. As a psychotherapist, she has over 25 years of private practice experience.