Defining & De-Stressing and Your Valentines Day
Whether you’re riding solo, in a serious relationship, or something in between, Valentine’s Day can come with it’s build-up of pressures and expectations. The traditions, stereotypes, and clichés have become so deeply woven into our culture, that the bigger meaning of V-Day often becomes lost. What does this holiday mean for you? Shouldn’t it be about cherishing and appreciating the love, peace, and safety that exists in our lives? Let’s get grounded back into a holiday that feels light, stress-free, and full of love.
Being single, there is the question of - Do I celebrate at all? How do I celebrate? How is the holiday making me feel about my current relationship status? And if you’re dating, there is - Do I get them a gift? What gift? How expensive of a gift? Do we go out to dinner? Where? How much money do I spend? How do I make them feel special? Yuck. The day of ‘love’ should not be so stressful! Here are various ways we can take the pressure off ourselves and de-stress a day that is supposed to symbolize a beautiful thing (with some ideas and examples, of course):
Agree to Simplicity: How important is Valentine’s Day to you, truly? How about your partner? No better way to set Valentine’s Day up for success than to set clear expectations from the jump. Whether you are alone, with friends, or with a partner, deciding early on how you would like to spend the day can eliminate the possibility of misaligned assumptions or other disappointments. Perhaps you agree on a $20 maximum budget this year. Perhaps you elect to stay home, cook, and watch a movie. Play a connection card game, or make extra space and time for a relationship check-in perhaps. Explore the five Love Languages and see what your preferred method is to give and receive love. It does not have to be complicated, expensive or competitive! Why not minimize as much stress as possible, as to leave more space for what truly matters?
Try Novelty: Flowers, teddy bears, chocolates, and romantic dinners. We get it. We have seen all of it before. Year after year after year. Let’s ditch the archaic traditions and embrace some creativity and inventiveness! This year we are swapping out dinner for ax throwing, and roses for an Uber gift card. This year we are sticking to our healthy habits instead of inhaling a whole box of chocolate. This year we are extending love past our romantic relationships and showing more love to ourselves too. There are so many different ways that we can celebrate this day that are not limited to subscribing to our cultural schemas. Find ways to think outside the box and bring some novelty and playfulness to the day.
Embrace Flexibility: Guess what? You don’t HAVE to celebrate Valentine’s Day exactly on the 14th. You don’t HAVE to go out to dinner, and you don’t HAVE to buy elaborate gifts. As mentioned before, social norms have been telling us how we should be spending V-Day for ages! It is perfectly okay to strive for practicality. It may be easier to grab a reservation the day before/after Valentine's Day. Or perhaps you celebrate on the weekend, when there is no work stress or weekly responsibility. Maybe you agree to split the tab this year. Or maybe you take off the day entirely and spend it with some family or close friends. This should be a day that is celebrating the feeling of love. Don’t be scared to adjust your ideas about what you “should” be doing in order to create space for something new and unique. Congruently, ask yourself what boundaries you may need in your life to truly make this Valentine’s Day a little bit more enjoyable and catered to what you truly desire and need.
Instead of using Valentine's Day to do more, spend more, and expect more, let’s use it as a way to pause, reflect, and instead, show a little gratitude. Keep it simple, and be open-minded, and make it count. Whether it’s your close friends, your partner, or your family- express to them the various things you love about them and have appreciated about them over the past year. Be explicit about why you continue to show up to the relationship and chose to adore your partner each and every day. Shoot off a few loving texts or emails to the people you truly care about. At its core, shouldn’t Valentine's day be about love and intention as opposed to grandiosity and extravagance? Get back to the roots of what is important, take off the pressure, and make it mean what it’s supposed to stand for.