February can be a tough month. Not only are weather conditions dreary, chilly, or unpredictable, but Valentine’s Day leaves many in the emotional cold. All the well-meaning reds, pinks, Cupids and hearts can inspire feelings of loss, sadness, and rejection. If you’re someone drowning in co-workers sharing news of flowers or posting endlessly about their significant others on social media, keep in mind that these are chosen snapshots, not an entire relationship story. These couples still have arguments, annoyances, and some may not even be together for next year’s Valentine’s Day. If the sights and sounds of Valentine’s Day put you into a sad mental and emotional headspace, a new perspective and purposeful action can help this polarizing holiday work for you.
Take a one-day (or weekend) break from social media. SM is there to promote work and keep up with friends and family, make people laugh, etc. All good things. The minute it encourages negative self-talk, put it on pause. You won’t miss anything important by taking a break, but you will miss the endless parade of who got what from whom, who’s going where, whose significant other adores them, etc. Unplug for the day—you’ll feel better and realize that a lot of relationships posturing people engage in is more to convince themselves rather than you.
Call/text a friend/family member and arrange a time to get together. Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate all kinds of affection, not just romantic. Send a fun card to a friend you haven’t seen in a while or a friend either recently single or going through a difficult time. Let people know you’re thinking of them. Take the emphasis off what’s going on with you and use it to help someone else.
Do something nice for a child. If you aren’t a parent, aunt or uncle, think about your friends’ children- who might enjoy a fun Valentine/candy/gift? Who might like an IOU for a movie date? Showing kindness to children is a surefire way to learn perspective—making a child happy is worth just as much as receiving a bouquet of roses. It also provides an opportunity to pass on the true meaning of Valentine’s Day—shows through your example that everyone has friends who care about them. V Day should be a time to show kindness to everyone, not just people wearing an engagement ring or who happened to walk into a relationship that month.
Watch a scary Valentine’s-themed film. My two favorites are My Bloody Valentine (both the 1981 and 2009 versions) and Valentine (2001). Holiday-centric horror can shift the perspective of that holiday for the viewer and encourage them to focus on something other than their lack of participation. Scary movies also get our blood pumping and our thoughts racing, excellent medicine for those feeling down or unmotivated. Taking that tip further—think about throwing a Valentine’s party! Create a diverse guest list of people you enjoy regardless of age, gender, or relationship-status and show these movies, play games, etc. Spend time with people you enjoy while ‘taking back’ the holiday to include everyone. Single people relish an opportunity to take part in an activity and many couples will breathe a sigh of relief at having something fun to do that doesn’t involve fighting the rest of the city for dinner reservations.
No one should be made to feel excluded as a byproduct of greeting card stores angling to sell products and cards. Attitude is everything and one of gratitude is valuable. Don’t allow social media, irrelevant chatter, or insensitive friends/co-workers ruin your day. Use February to show those you care about that you’re there for them and to make the holiday fun and accessible for everyone.