Stressed About Valentine's Day?

It’s right around the corner. The day that makes some of us smile and a lot of us cringe. That’s right, I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. Is it a made-up holiday pushed by retailers or a marker of an actual person in history, St. Valentine? There are different opinions on its origin but whatever it is, we’re stuck with it now and all the pressure it brings.

If you’re in a relationship, you’re probably expected to produce some show of affection. A card at least, maybe flowers or even a dinner out. If you’re in a new relationship, what to do or not do can prove to be very tricky. Is a card enough? A gift too much? And if you’re single, it’s hard not to feel left out.

To help you through it, I’d like to suggest some ideas for survival – survival for self and your relationship. First of all, keep in mind, the whole thing is supposed to be about love. Showing your love for someone does not have to be complicated. In fact, it’s the little things over time that prove to make a relationship work. So, keep it simple.

Write out a card expressing your appreciation for your love instead of buying a pre-printed one. Make a simple yet delicious meal that you eat while talking about your favorite things. Pick out a movie to watch while snuggling. Turn your phones off. Play a board game with the kids.

If you’re single, consider spending some time and energy showing your love to others. Share a meal with a friend, write letters to family who live far away or, volunteer with Meals on Wheels or the local animal shelter. Here’s another idea and WARNING: this might sound really cheesy but, take a night to love yourself. Make yourself your favorite meal, watch a movie you’ve been meaning to get to, go hear live music or, take a yoga class. Give yourself permission to do something that fulfills you.

Taking time to love and appreciate your own self makes you a more grounded and secure person, which feels good to you and is attractive to others – personally, socially and professionally. If we honor ourselves, so will others. And I say Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves - whether in a relationship or not - of this and act on it.

Try not to let the pressure of high or misguided expectations get you down. Set your own expectations and enjoy the simple side of love.