Valentine’s Day can be a negative trigger for some, depending on your relationship status and what this day means for you as a couple or on your own. For those who are single, it can be a giant neon sign reminding you that you’re on your own. For those in relationships, it can put added stress on cracks that may have been forming over the last several months. As the day approaches, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the day (especially during lockdown) – and manage the feelings it may bring to the surface.
Turn off the pressure.
If you’re partnered, romance may be the furthest thing from your mind right now. Many of us are feeling overwhelmed and tapped out. Ditch Valentine’s Day plans if it is too stressful to plan for, or do something low-key. Have a frank conversation with your partner about why you don’t want to do anything special, reminding him or her that’s it not about them. If you’re single, turn off the pressure on yourself. Try not to fixate on being single. Give social media a little pause if seeing celebratory couples gets you down. Most importantly, don't forget that self-love is the greatest form of love.
Identify any cracks (so you can work to fill them).
For many couples, the pandemic may have exacerbated pre-existing communication problems. A lack of personal space, restricted social activities, and a constant “togetherness” can amplify small issues or make them bigger than they are. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to have a debrief on your relationship. Granted, talking about your problems is not the most romantic thing to do – but if framed as an opportunity to make things better in the long run, it can be a very rewarding and positive experience.
Turn V-Day into Me-Day.
If you’re single, it gets difficult to have to do everything alone. It’s natural to feel down and lonely on a day that celebrates couples. Try to focus your lens inwards by practicing self-care. Simply put, self-care is identifying your needs, and taking steps – no matter how small – to meet those needs. So, do something that makes you feel good, like takeout from your favourite restaurant, or a warm bubble bath. Call a friend who is good at lifting your spirits. And, remind yourself that being alone doesn’t mean you are alone.
Feel the feels.
There is often a shame associated with admitting we’re lonely, when in fact it is such a common feeling, especially now. Even those coupled can feel very lonely, despite having someone with them all the time. Be honest with yourself and others about how you really feel. Don’t be ashamed about feeling lonely. Don’t be ashamed about feeling down. And, don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
Remind yourself that being alone doesn’t mean you are alone.