Valentine's Day has been celebrated as a day of love for hundreds of years, and singles have been overlooked for just as long, even though romantic love isn't the be-all-and-end-all.
So, in the spirit of re-framing Valentine's Day to be more inclusive of the single people out there, we've put together this quick guide on how to make the most of Valentine's Day when you're not in a relationship.
Putting aside the dirty jokes we can make about self-love, it's actually a critical practice that we can all benefit from. With the rise of people admitting to depression, low self-esteem, and society's increase in awareness of mental health issues, it's never been more important to learn how to love yourself.
Respect and love for the self can be complex, especially if you're not used to showing it, but learning to love yourself can help you with your love towards others. You're much less likely to accept bad behaviour from loved ones, and you might feel more fulfilled in other areas of your life too.
So, how can you celebrate the self on Valentine's Day?
1. Try something new. Have you always wanted to take up a new hobby? Cook a fancy dish you want to try, or overcome your anxiety to do something bold like wearing a bikini to the swimming pool for the first time, attending a life drawing class, or buying yourself something you wouldn't usually justify buying? Well, Valentine's Day is the day to try it! Consider it a gift to yourself, and feel comfortable in the knowledge that most people are out celebrating in their way and aren't judging you for how you're doing it.
2. A pamper session. It's probably a stereotypical thing to suggest, but it works. Giving yourself the time to sit back and relax in a bubble bath with your favourite products, a glass of wine or your favourite drink, candles, and a good book or your favourite album can help you unwind and ease anxiety, helping you to feel more mindful. It's also an excellent opportunity to show your body some love if you've been neglecting your skincare or hair care routine as of late. If you want to splash out, you could even take yourself to a spa for some expert treatments.
3. Focus on being kinder to yourself. Write a gratitude journal, indulge in all your favourite foods, ignore that one difficult task you've been struggling with recently and allow yourself time to take a break. Treat yourself with the kindness you afford to others - one day, it'll be second nature!
4. Reach out to somebody. If you can't shake the feeling of loneliness this Valentine's Day, you know someone who might be feeling lonely or want to get back into contact with a long-lost family member or friend, now is a great time to reach out. You don't have to talk about any of your lonely feelings if you don't want to, but giving someone a call regardless of what you talk about, can do you a world of good, and your relationship might end up stronger as a result!
Friendships and platonic love can be just as fulfilling as romantic love, and celebrating your friends on Valentine's Day is a brilliant way to get into the spirit of the day when you're single. Why not try one of the following?
1. Have a single's night. If you have a few fellow single friends, get together for a meal or a night out. Book a table at a fancy restaurant, cook a 3 course meal at home, or have a movie marathon with a takeaway. Whatever you do, just make sure you're with your best friends and you have lots of laughs!
2. Buy your friends a gift. You could buy a little Valentine's gift for each one of your dearest friends or create your very own Secret Santa - Secret Valentine or Secret Cupid - amongst yourselves, helping to spread the love that little bit further.
3. Go on a weekend away. If you really want to make an event on Valentine's Day, you could take a few friends on a much-needed getaway. Whether you like to go sight-seeing, relax on a beach, or go hiking, you're sure to find hidden gems in the UK and abroad.
4. Volunteer together. This idea can fit into the concept of self-love as much as it can platonic. Looking after people or animals in your local area and giving back with your friends is a wonderful way to share love with the community, and the difference you make for the day is bound to help you feel warm and fuzzy inside!
If you have a good relationship with your family, then celebrating them this Valentine's Day is sure to help you make the most of the day.
1. Make dinner for your parents. Cook a romantic meal for your parents to give them some time off and some much needed time to themselves. Plus, think of it as a repayment for how many times they've cooked for you!
2. If you have kids, have an activity day. Bake, go bowling, go for a meal together, head out to the park, or do something else entirely! Spending time with the kids on Valentine's Day will create great memories of the day for you and them.
3. Give your family gifts. Give back to your parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, and even your kids! Giving gifts and cards to children especially can help to instill in them the importance of celebrating all types of love - not just the romantic - to give them a healthy relationship with Valentine's Day in the future.
4. Visit your family. If you have family that lives in a different city, or you find you can't remember the last time you saw your Nan or your Great Uncle Richard, now is a great time to pay them a visit! Bonus points if you drop off a few biscuits or chocolates too!
Bonus Tip: Don't forget that the day before, the day of, the days after Valentine's Day are the best days to go hunting for discounted chocolates and flowers - perfect for treating yourself or any loved one!
Whether you prefer to stay single, are nursing a broken heart, or are completely indifferent, we hope this has given you some ideas on how to make the most of Valentine's Day.