The Feast of St. Valentine is coming up. In three days, to be exact. If you’re spending this day alone, that’s okay! No need to dread it. You are all you need.
After a glimpse at the Wikipedia page pertaining to Valentine’s Day, I can tell you that this holiday originated from a few martyrdom stories. The most popular account is that of Saint Valentine from Rome who was imprisoned for performing marriages for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. When he was in jail, he healed the jailer’s daughter, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as farewell. The story has been romanticized since.
Anyways, that is to say, you don’t need this day to be romantic. While couples will likely show each other that they care for each other (and statistically, are most likely to break up afterwards), you don’t have to feel left out because there is a wonderful practice called self-care!
Get a full seven (or eight) hours of sleep. Wake up feeling good.
In our age of energy and bustle, sleep is the most luxurious thing you can gift to yourself. While it’s tempting to stay up Monday night preparing for the next day’s lab, or reading another research paper in preparation for next week’s seminar, it’s not worth it if it compromises your ability to experience tomorrow. Besides, it’s better to sleep earlier and do your work early in the morning than to sleep later and drag out your work as your efficiency slows.
Give thanks. Be genuinely grateful for the day.
Gratefulness and joy are so closely related! Even if you don’t feel so great, acknowledging the things you take for granted can give you a different energy at the start of the day than caffeine can.
Can’t think of anything? Look at what you are wearing. Where you spent the night. Which people make you happy. (Bonus points if you send them a card telling them how much you appreciate them.) What your plans are today. What you are about to eat for breakfast. All of your amazing abilities. If none of these things make you smile a little bit, I don’t know what will!
Slow down and enjoy breakfast (lunch, and/or dinner) with someone.
Last week was a really good time for me because for every meal, I sat down with someone and enjoyed some good conversation. Especially on Valentine’s Day, it’s good to know that you’re not alone, because company doesn’t refer to partners who are solely romantic.
Last semester, I would often grab a breakfast sandwich on the way out of the door, unwittingly missing a chance to spend more time with the friends who live under the same roof as I do. Don’t do that to yourself. Especially not on this day.
Bring out your best pens. Your best paper. Don’t wait for “another day”.
Have you ever been given a really nice notebook, but haven’t had the courage to begin writing in it? A nice yarn, spice, or body butter, that you haven’t been willing to use, because it’s special? Well, today is special, because you’re special! It’s time to bring out those things that are gathering dust. Treat yo’self.
Give yourself a spa day.
Light them candles. (Unless you live in a residence hall at Wellesley. As fire chief of Bates, I must tell you NOT to light them candles.) Take a hot bath or shower. Bring out those bath bombs. Use that expensive lotion you’ve been gifted with and spend a few minutes treating your skin. Sit around in your most luxurious lounge clothes. Enjoy the sensation of being.
Music and dance.
Listen to your guilty pleasures today! Oldies but goodies! Show tunes! Piano quintets! Swoon-worthy guitar solos! Rap, if that makes you happy! Sing and dance along like nobody’s watching. Cry your eyes out or laugh like a madwoman without fear. Love the gifts of sound and space and movement.
Confession: The only climaxes I ever get are from music (and eloquent passages in literature). When I’m alone, I sing and dance. I improvise on my violin and piano and voice. I play existing tunes. This is one of my favorite forms of self love.
Write in that notebook. Read that new book.
Crack the spine of the book you’ve been saving for a perfect rainy day, or finish that book that you’ve been meaning to finish.
Use your best pen to write in your best notebook. Don’t know what to write? Draw. Don’t know what to draw? Take a walk and draw what you see. Bonus if you can find flowers in February. (Of course, that depends on where you live.)
Oooh, how I love my loose-leaf teas. I brought several jars of them, plus herbal teas with me to college, along with a handmade clay pot plus enough teacups to host a tea party. (We are in Boston, after all…) One of my favorite things to do early in the morning or late in the afternoon is to set some water on my kettle, put on some tunes, and drink to my own well-being. The internet is flooded with benefits of drinking hot water and tea. 100% recommend over coffee, even if you just take a Twinings or Bigelow teabag and a mug for a spin in the microwave.
See also: Tea: More Than Just a Beverage
Pick your favorite things you did today and do them again.
Treat every day like Valentine’s day! Every day is special, every day only comes once. Show your love to yourself and make your life extraordinary.