February 14th can be a bit rough for some of us. The shop windows are full of soppy cards and teddy bears, and the urge to blast Celine Dion’s ‘All By Myself’ in the shower is suspiciously stronger than usual. Social media feeds are suddenly full of loved-up couples doing… whatever it is that couples do. Yes, it’s that time of year again – the dreaded Valentine’s Day.
But there’s no need to worry! If you find yourself single on February 14th for whatever reason, be it choice or circumstance, it can still be a special and enjoyable day.
Of course, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean anything at all if you don’t want it to. The pressure to do something to celebrate seems to come from all quarters, in adverts, Valentine’s themed events and the media, but don’t let that get to you! It is perfectly valid to spend February 14th as you would a normal day – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
However, if you feel that February 14th might be a little lonelier or more stressful than usual, here are some things that you can try to brighten the day for yourself.
TAKE YOURSELF ON A DATE
The concept of ‘taking yourself on a date’ has grown in the public consciousness recently. Influencers have shown themselves doing amazing activities and even travelling to new countries for the day in an attempt to practice some self-care. Unfortunately, this isn’t all that achievable for most of us in the space of a day (and certainly not with that student budget and lifestyle!). However, there are still date options available that don’t break the bank or take up all your free time. Perhaps you could go to the cinema to see that new film you wanted to, or go on a riverside walk for some reflection? Maybe today is the day to try a new coffee shop or take part in an activity that you’ve never done before, like pottery painting or a dance class.
You might be wondering how taking yourself on a date is any different to doing activities that you do alone anyway, like going to the grocery shop. Here’s the idea: taking yourself on a date is far more intentional than simply going through the daily motions of life and can have loads of benefits. Often, the activity chosen is something you might do with a significant other or friend, but by choosing your own company, you boost your own sense of internal validation and self-esteem. Society may tell you that it’s strange to sit alone in a coffee shop, but really the only person whose opinion matters is you. You’re no longer relying on other people to make you feel happy or comfortable – everything that you need comes from you. Similarly, doing these activities alone can also boost confidence. It might seem scary at first, and you might be worried that everyone around you is judging you (spoiler: they’re not), but with time and practice it will feel easier.
Here are some ideas for your self-date, ranging in cost and time to suit everyone’s needs:
- Go to a restaurant or coffee shop
- Have a picnic somewhere nice
- Take a hike somewhere new or a quiet stroll
- Day trip to a favourite location, or somewhere different if you’re feeling brave
- Take a dance class
- Go thrifting/shopping
- Visit a museum or landmark
- Go to a cinema or theatre by yourself
- Explore a new area
- Visit the botanical gardens
- Spend the day at a library
- Watch the sunrise/sunset
Of course, making Valentine’s Day easier doesn’t have to involve any money at all! It could look like curling up in the evening to watch a favourite film/TV show or setting aside some time to engage in a hobby you enjoy. Each approach is equally valid, regardless of what everyone around you seems to be doing.
More than anything, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. Even if you don’t have any romantic love in your life right now, there’s still all other kinds of love to be appreciated! You could turn February 14th into “Galentine’s” or “Palentine’s” Day instead: if you don’t fancy taking yourself on a date, maybe choose an activity to do with friends instead! Go and have a wild night out, treat yourself to a lunch with friends, or have a cute and cosy movie night with your housemates! Having fun on Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to those in a relationship.
Spending time with your family can also help to alleviate feelings of loneliness. If you haven’t spoken to them in a while, maybe give them a call, or if you’re with them in person this Valentine’s, maybe try to do something extra with them, like eating a nice meal together, or having a games night. Appreciating your loved ones is an all-year-round kind of thing, but February 14th could be an opportunity to remind each other how much you care.
However you choose to spend Valentine’s Day is a personal choice – some of these ideas might appeal to you, maybe none of them will. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day, we can all stop to remember the things we have in our lives that we are grateful for, instead of the things we wish we had or feel like we should want. The most important thing is to remember that you are worthy of all kinds of love, no matter who you are – so maybe take today to remind yourself of that!