{Etsy photo print by CacophonyCreations}
{Etsy photo print by CacophonyCreations}

Valentine’s Day. It’s the day singles dread and couples forget about. The holiday that seems to do more for the economy than it does for our hearts. Yet, its impending date fills us with anxiety and fear. It’s the fear of being alone as much as the worry about getting the “right” gift. It’s the reason most of us hunkered down in coupledom stick our heads in the sand once we’re taken. No more agony over that dreaded V-Day!

For me, it brings up disappointing yesteryears filled with store bought roses that never met my own hands. Adolescence was a strange and heartbreaking period and one I’d never want to revisit. But it’s also a time writers like me are secretly grateful for. Sadly, the more angst, the more fuel for the typewriter.

It’s something that I regret. All those wasted years, I had been neglecting the greatest gift on Valentine’s Day. The gift of self-love.

{flickr photo by karindalziel}
{flickr photo by karindalziel}

This February has been one of those months that crush all the winter holiday months combined. Busy, chaotic, stressed out, overwhelmed. Adjectives that poured out in a sea of hopelessness. It sounds dramatic, but it feels that way. And it felt like my own craziness was causing a wave of disasters all around me. Almost everyone I’ve spoked to lately seemed to be as or more frazzled than me.

It seems trite or maybe a tad bit sentimental, but I mean it genuinely, taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give and get whether it’s the 14th or any day of the year. So if you’re feeling down and out, lonely, frazzled, and dreading the big V-Day, I hope you’ll gather a few ideas here. And if you have more, share it with me won’t you? I’m always looking for new ways to raise my spirits!

1. Get that hair cut, or massage, or manicure!

I was trying to go without getting another haircut. I used to go once a year and then twice at the most. But I had already got a haircut two times and I was hoping to ride out the unruly waves that had started to take over my mane. But looking like Cousin Itt from Adam’s Family wasn’t doing anything for my self-confidence. After one of those daily coupons came out for a haircut, I decided to take a plunge. A short clean bob confidence restored minus a migraine later, I thought, “Gee, indulgence is really worth it!”

2. Take a breath between bus(y)iness.

As a freelance writer, I always feel eons behind everyone else. It doesn’t matter that I’ve gotten things published or that I got a new project or that I’m searching relentlessly daily for more work. I’ll never be like the neighbor who’s yard is greener than Ireland next to me. I know this intuitively, but sometimes I need a reminder to just breathe.

3. It’s okay to fool around.

It’s Valentine’s Day so what’s the point if you’re not fooling around right? In this case, I mean taking a break to do something fun just for the sake of it. I’m lucky that I have a bunny that reminds me to not take life too seriously. But I also regularly engage in time wasting activities. What’s the point? It takes me out of my monkey mind in order to be in the present moment. Speaking of which…

4. Remember where you are right now.

I sometimes forget that I’m not fighting with someone, in pain, or shopping for a gift. I’m sitting here writing, or thinking or daydreaming. It feels real. My body thinks it’s gearing up for battle or escape, but really I’m just ruminating. When I realize that I’m not in my head, I feel safe. Nothing bad is happening. I can make my present situation chaotic or peaceful. Slowing down to realize this helps me to get back to a state of calm.

5. Make a sacrifice for yourself.

We sacrifice things for others every day. If you’re a people-pleaser, you might do it more than once a day. But how many times do you turn down an event or responsibility, just for you? It might make you feel like a horrible person to do so. But your health, family, and loving friends will thank you. As my husband once told me, “You think you’re doing something nice for other people. But you’re not helping anyone when you’re not being nice to yourself.”

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