Valentine’s Day is often associated with romantic love and grand gestures, but what about celebrating the most important relationship in your life – the one with yourself? Self-love is not limited by age. It is a concept that is relevant and important at every stage of life. In this article, rule breaker and marketing innovator Nancy A Shenker will remind us we’re never too old to embrace life to the fullest and start empowering ourselves to be our best selves.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, February 14th is a great day to celebrate self-love. Forget about flowers and chocolates and the classic “Galentines” celebrations, it’s time to be a little nicer to that special someone – YOU- and shift the focus from external validation to self-fulfilment.
Here are 11 non-traditional ways to romance yourself this year (or any time for that matter).
How To Celebrate Self-Love on Valentine’s Day
Celebrating self-love on Valentine’s Day is a reminder that you are enough and that your relationship with yourself is just as important, if not more, than any other relationship in your life.
According to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.”
Whether or not you’ll choose any of the following activities (some are simple, safe, and low-cost, and a few are true splurges), start the day with a smile, spread the love around you, put on some pink or red undies (they could be simple cotton or an outrageous lace thong. We don’t judge), then get to celebrating!
1. Choose Positivity
A whopping 60 per cent of women have negative thoughts about themselves every day. Commit yourself that every time you have a negative thought or feel sadness or anxiety you’ll immediately counteract it with a positive thought. Good vibes, guaranteed!
2. Write down at least 14 things (for February 14th) you love about yourself
You have special qualities that make you, YOU, but how often do you take time to appreciate your uniqueness? Grab a pen and paper and write them down. Maybe you have a great sense of humour, a fabulous smile or a great sense of style.
If you really want to go all-out, make yourself a Valentine (using an application like Canva or with supplies from a crafts store). The more outrageous the better!
3. Treat yourself to a massage or facial
Actually, it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day itself. Simply scheduling it that day will be a sign that your own self-care is a priority. Massages have been clinically proven to have tremendous health benefits, including stress reduction, relaxation, improved immune function, improved circulation, and increased energy. You deserve it!
4. Start a charm bracelet (or charm necklace)
Charm bracelets or necklaces are one of those accessories that never seem to go out of style. Their popularity lies in the narrative they weave. About ten years ago, I bought my first charm necklace and, since then, I’ve added new charms every time something major and/or joyous happened in my life or work.
My daughters gifted me with their own initials and those of my grandchildren. When I travel, I’m often on the lookout for unique additions to my bling and people ask me for the stories behind each piece (which creates an instant connection, as well as a reinforcement of the great times I’ve had throughout the decade).
5. Send notes of praise to the women in your life who have helped you at various times
If you’re a digital diva (like me), comb through Instagram and Facebook and write a positive statement or two on feeds. Go beyond just hitting that “like” button or posting a heart emoji. You’ll brighten someone’s day and maybe even spark a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
6. Plan an Escape
Plan a real-life journey or take a virtual trip to someplace you love. Some of us are comfortable travelling solo. Even a weekend away or a local staycation can make you feel like a Queen for a day. Cash-strapped or a homebody? Take a virtual tour of a cultural hub, a historical city, or even an amusement park. If you prefer, you can even virtually admire the artwork in 12 great museums.
Don’t forget that books and music are also great ways to escape from reality. Peruse your friends’ shelves on Good Reads or build a new love songs playlist for yourself in your favourite listening app (and don’t be afraid to dance naked around your home, just be sure the curtains are closed!)
7. Love to cook? Make yourself a special Valentine’s treat
Challenge yourself with a recipe you’ve never tried before. From Valentine’s Day cupcakes or brownies, to showstopping cookies or even sweet homemade candies there are so many options to choose from. And if you’re eating healthily these days, you don’t even have to forego chocolate!
8. Volunteer or schedule a volunteer day in the future
Visiting a seniors community, animal shelter, or food bank is a great way to share love with those who may be struggling or alone. You can write to isolated seniors or send virtual Valentine’s cards to hospitalized children.
9. Take or re-take the Love Languages quiz
If you’re celebrating with others (even kids and older grandkids), agree to take the quiz together and discuss your results. The Love Language theory helps you recognize the ways different people with different personalities give and receive love, so you can learn to identify the root of your conflicts, connect more profoundly, and truly begin to grow closer.
10. Treat yourself to a “Love Journal”
Decorate it with hearts and flower stickers if you are in an artsy mood. Every day, write down one thing or person you love. At the end of the year, you’ll be looking at a whole lotta love! The entries can be simple. For example: “I love to write. I love watching Hallmark movies with my daughters. I love movie popcorn“. You see, it’s not complicated to be lovey-dovey.
11. Do something or plan something big, splurgy, or even way out of your comfort zone
Always wanted to play the drums? Schedule a lesson. Figuring out the next 50 years? Book for a retreat, sign up for a class at the gym, dance studio, or local art school (or an online equivalent). Your gift to yourself can be learning a new skill after 50, which will, in turn, translate into pride and self-love (and perhaps even some new friends).
Gifts to yourself need not be expensive or complex. They are simply acknowledgements that you are worthy and loveable. If you’re alone on Valentine’s Day, resist the urge to stare at that couple holding hands in the coffee shop or cocktail lounge. They have their challenges too and may be looking at you, wishing they were alone. Comparing yourself to others only fuels negative thoughts.
Remember, you can still buy yourself flowers and a box of chocolates or arrange for a Galentine’s brunch, happy hour, or MeetUp. We love traditions too!