By Cathy Neville, LPC on February 12, 2015.
It started after Christmas.
Jewelry commercials replaced toys on TV.
Flowers.com ads started popping up on your iPad. Bags of messaged candy hearts and foiled kisses edged out the chocolate Santas and candy canes at the grocery store.
Here comes Valentine’s Day.
A celebration of romantic love and intimacy.
A day devoted to that romantic lover that you don’t have can bog you down in sadness.
For those already struggling with depression, this particular celebration can really get in the way of attempts to feel better.
All Valentine’s Day ends up doing is exacerbating the pain, emptiness, and disconnection that was already in your way.
Probably not what cupid intended.
So what do you do?
First, try to recognize that your need to love and be loved is perfectly normal.
Valentine’s Day really isn’t the problem.
You don’t have to spend the day stuck, sad, or ruminating on your singleness.
Consider these measures for surviving Valentine’s Day:
Step One: Treats are a must.
What’s Valentine’s Day without the sweets?
Go ahead and buy a box of chocolates. Have a few. It’s just one day.
Depression wants to keep your life pleasure-less.
Those candy hearts with the silly messages contain words you need to hear right now. Enjoy!
Step Two: Massages, manicures, and more.
While it’s not exactly a romantic experience, it does feel good to refresh your mind and body. Get a relaxing massage, allow for some hand-holding with a manicurist, or let a stylist run his or her fingers through your hair.
Step Three: Give yourself the perfect gift, love letter, or ensemble.
You know how you want to be appreciated. Value yourself enough to buy, write, or wear what makes you feel special. Be your own admirer.
Step Four: Go find love.
- Put yourself out there. Allow yourself to consider a relationship you wouldn’t before.
- Open your mind to online dating.
- Reconsider the advances of the person who flirts with you at the gym.
- Risk calling an old crush for a chat.
Step Five: Celebrate all of your relationships.
Valentine’s Day does not have to be only about romantic love. Whether you are part of a couple or not, you have a right to a full life and close, loving relationships.
Don’t isolate. Open the day up to all your relationships:
- Celebrate your single status with friends. Go dancing or to dinner together. Watch romantic comedies and make fun of the fact that it took the characters two days to meet, fall in love, and promise to be together forever.
- Offer to babysit your nieces and nephews while the grown-ups go out. Play board games; make heart-shaped cookies and strawberry smoothies. Be the “cool” adult.
Make Valentine’s Day a day you show family and friends how much you care about them. Whether you buy them cards, chocolates or teddy bears, chances are they will be thrilled that you were thinking of them.
It really is true that when we give or do something special for others, we feel better, too!
Don’t make depression your valentine. Make February 14th a day of remembrance, appreciation and gratitude for ALL the special people in your life!