Valentine’s Day is here, and while many of us dream of chocolates, roses, and romantic getaways, if we’re not careful, the only thing we might get is a dose of disappointment and heartache.
Whether we are single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. 40% of people surveyed say they have negative feelings towards the holiday, so if you do too, you are far from alone! Below is a Valentine’s Day Survival Guide to help you navigate the day so you are able to move beyond any negative feelings and enjoy it.
- Don’t forget
I think that the worst thing a person could do on Valentine’s Day is forgetting all about it. Put it on your calendar in big red letters. And a few days before, make sure you put a reminder in your day planner or your smartphone. Planning ahead to implement some of the do’s on this list will involve some advance thought and effort.
- Put things in perspective
Ask yourself what this holiday really means to you. Just remember that since we were young, advertisers have shaped our concept of Valentine’s Day. We have been inundated with images of cupids, fancy dinners, sunsets, and diamonds, and all this visual conditioning has created an expectation of what should be. That formula has worked for marketers. The industry generates more than 14 billion dollars in retail sales each year. With that in mind, do some digging on what this day really means to you. Discover what you truly value and come up with your own definition of the significance of Valentine’s Day.
- Don’t do the same thing you did last year
Even if it worked well, your partner will appreciate something new and different. She wants to know that you thought about her as you planned your Valentine’s Day gift or event.
What to do on Valentine’s Day….If you are single
So if you’re single, why not celebrate you and that amazing ability you have to love. Love, in all its forms, is worth celebrating. Here are some ways to celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day.
- Focus on all the positive things in your life
Look around at all you have in your life. Look at your friends, your family, your career, your support network. You have lots to be really grateful for and lots of things to focus on that are positive and leading you in the right direction. If it helps, start a gratitude journal to help keep perspective.
- Make yourself a fancy dinner
With the ridiculous prices at restaurants on Valentine’s Day, taking yourself out to a fancy dinner may not be worth it. Instead, try making a recipe you’ve always wanted to try — or order your favorite takeout meal — and breakout the champagne.
- Organise a night out with other single friends.
Find a positive group of friends and plan a fun night out together. Do things you might not be doing if you were in a relationship: chose the place you want to go to, flirt with strangers, and stay out late.
What to do on Valentine’s Day….If you are in a relationship or married
One of the nicest parts of being in a relationship is having routines that you share together and love: Saturday mornings spent leisurely snuggled up together; going to your favourite neighbourhood sushi restaurant; or watching your favorite TV shows together. But becoming too comfortable in your routines can put your relationship at risk of falling into complacency and even boredom, which isn’t so great for your relationship.
- Do something new and adventurous together
Research has found that couples who experience new and exiting activities together have an increase in the quality of their relationship (Aron et al, 2000). Trying new things together brings back the feelings of excitement and the thrill that you felt when you first fell in love.
- Use the day to strengthen your relationship
Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to take stock of the past year, and reconnect with your partner. Take some time to reflect on what makes your partner special, and write these things down in the card you’re going to give them. I have always believed the message in the card is the most important part of any gift.
- Incorporate Appreciation and Gratitude
One hallmark of committed, solid couples is an ability to show gratitude to one another (Gordon et al., 2012). When your partner feels appreciated, he or she will in turn be more likely to appreciate you and all you do for them. On Valentine’s Day, incorporate gratitude with a gift that shows your high level of appreciation. Say it in your card, in your gift (love vouchers are a classic), or write down how you feel in a poem or love letter.
- Add an Element of Mystery or Surprise To Your Celebration
Research indicates that when people receive a gift that is unexpected or has an element of mystery surrounding it, they tend to feel more positively about the experience, and the happy feelings last longer, when compared to something they expect (Wilson et al., 2005). So for Valentines Day, add an element of the unexpected to your gift.
- Give a personalised gift from the heart
More than anything, your partner wants to feel loved and appreciated. If the two of you are exchanging presents, give a thoughtful gift that shows you have really been paying attention to your partner’s needs and wishes. Often better than giving a material item is to plan a shared experience, such as a night out to the theater or a dinner at a special restaurant. The experience builds positive memories, which both of you will always share.
What matters on February 14, and indeed every day of your relationship, is that you feel loved, respected, cherished and cared about by someone whom you love, respect, cherish and care about. So talk it over with your beloved. Make something happen – together – that is as personal and loving as your relationship.
We hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!