Written by Miracle Hawkins, Contributing Writer
Valentine’s Day is a favorite holiday for many people, as it is a designated day to express our love and appreciation for the relationships we have. Valentine’s Day normally consists of going on romantic dates, giving gifts, flowers, and spending quality time with our loved ones. However, this year’s Valentine’s Day may feel stressful or even depressing for many people. With social distancing guidelines still in place, we are still in a state of isolation. The pandemic has also created financial issues, making it difficult to buy gifts or engage in holiday festivities. This year’s Valentine’s Day will look and feel quite different to say the least. Like the other holidays that have passed, we won’t be able to be near some of our loved ones. Also, many restaurants and venues are closed or have strict gathering and capacity limits. These changes ultimately may contribute to stress and feelings of sadness surrounding this upcoming holiday.
Holidays are meant to be a time to have fun and a chance to relax. Valentine’s Day is not only a day for us to express love towards others, but it also gives us an opportunity to demonstrate self-love and self-compassion. Self-compassion is when you treat yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support you would show towards a good friend. Researchers have found that self-compassion is associated with less anxiety and depression, and better recovery from stress (Greenberg, 2017). Instead of stressing over this Valentine’s Day, consider changing your focus and give yourself more love and support. The following are five tips on how to begin cultivating self-love and self-compassion:
- SELF-FORGIVENESS: Do not tear yourself down for a mistake or failure. Work towards letting go of any anger and resentment you may have towards yourself.
- SELF-TALK: Be mindful of your self-talk and notice if it negative or positive. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Utilize positive affirmations by repeating them to yourself daily. Practice mindfulness and focus on the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts at that moment.
- SELF-CARE: Engage in self-care activities that you enjoy daily. Self-care activities can include going on a walk, reading a favorite book, or simply slowing down to take a deep breath. Remember that it is ok to stop and care for yourself the way you care for others.
- SELF-COMPASSION: Dump unrealistic expectations and perfectionism. No one is or will ever be perfect. It is ok to set goals for yourself, but try to value progress over perfection.
- PERSONAL BOUNDARIES: Set boundaries and do not be afraid to say “no.” Your thoughts, feelings, and needs are valuable and should never go unnoticed. Let go of the things that no longer serve you.
Greenberg, M. (2017). 8 powerful steps to self-love. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201706/8-powerful-steps-self-love