Valentine’s Day: How to Survive It

Photo of calendar with red heart 'circling' Feb 14thFebruary 14th. There are surely few dates in the calendar to cause such consternation amongst the general populace. Teenage angst can raise its floppy-fringed head to dent the confidence of the most secure single person and the day can be a minefield for new and established couples. If you’re a fan and are looking forward to yet another opportunity to show your love, great; likewise if Valentine’s Day doesn’t register on your radar at all.

But if you’re dreading the 14th, whether single or in a relationship, here are some ideas for improving the experience, or indeed making any day a better day for love.

Treat yourself

Buy yourself flowers/chocolates/wine/etc. Whether single or in a relationship, you don’t need someone else to give you the things you enjoy. If they do, happy days; but the one person you should be able to rely on to make you feel happy and loved is yourself. If you’re feeling blue; stick on music that makes you smile, read a good book, watch a good comedy.

Trocaire gift card: Illustration of lady with goats with "The Gift of a Goat (Democratic Republic of Congo" banner

Pay it forward

Give a donation to charity. Take time to think of all the love you have in your life, from family, friends, things you enjoy, and pay it forward. If you’re a couple who like to give each other gifts on Valentine’s Day, how about making this your gift to each other? No worries about how much to spend, and what to spend on. Why not make V Day a day to spread a little love where it’s needed in the world, and just appreciate what it is you love about each other? Check your favourite charity’s website for gift schemes ou acheter du viagra a paris. (They usually come with a card — another minefield deftly side-stepped.)

Illustration of cutesy kid in policeman outfit with caption "I'll Cop You Yet, My Valentine"

Get hands-on

If you can’t or don’t want to spend anything but don’t want to ignore the day altogether, why not go traditional and make a gift for your partner? Check YouTube for some simple craft ideas (like this ‘turn an old record into a bowl‘ 5-minute project), or pick one of Everything Etsy’s DIY Valentine’s Ideas on Pinterest. Or maybe make a voucher entitling the bearer to breakfast in bed for a week, a ‘golden ticket’ for skipping partner-invite work do’s for a month, or a massage a week for a month (costume optional). For the card, any Blue Peter attempt you could make would surely be better than a hastily-bought card at a filling station.

Get talking

If you find yourself judging the health of your relationship by the cards and the presents you receive (or don’t) from your partner, it’s time to take stock. Ask yourself what it is you truly value in your relationship. Think about ways your partner expresses love for you that have nothing to do with gifts or spending money. People show their love in different ways — some through physical affection, some through practical support, some through words, etc. — but we have a tendency to judge based on our own preferred style. Talk to your partner. Explain what it is that makes you feel loved; and remember that it is up to them to choose whether they want to provide this or not. If they can’t, won’t or aren’t willing to compromise, then you can choose what you do in response. This isn’t about making demands: it’s about respecting each other’s right to ask for what you need and the right to choose whether or not to meet that need.

Get clear

LightOfMyLifeIf you’re single and looking for love, spend time getting clear on what you’re looking for, and what you have to offer. Are there traits you look for in a potential partner that you’d like to develop yourself? What qualities do you want in a relationship, and how can you bring those into your life right now? If you’re looking for more excitement, for example, look at ways that you can make your life more exciting, rather than wait for someone to come along and add spice to your life for you. If you want to feel loved and appreciated, start by loving and appreciating yourself. Replace harsh self-talk; see yourself the way you’d want a doting lover to see you — good points loved, flaws kept in perspective. The more you value yourself the less you need reassurance from other people and the less sensitive you are to their opinions. Think about what your ‘deal-breakers’ are, i.e. the things that are critically important to you in a relationship – often these are issues around parenthood or money, or personal qualities. Being clear on deal-breakers makes you less likely to waste time on ‘bad leads’. For everything else, keep an open mind.

Distract yourself

Take the focus off romantic love altogether; here in Finland, February 14th is “Ystävänpäivää” — “Friendship Day”! So take a leaf out of the Nordic book and phone a friend, or a family member, just to say hello, or to tell them you love them. Call to see a neighbour who might be feeling lonely. Or just get together with other single friends or family and spoil each other a bit — cook a course each, get/make each other silly gifts, or just order in and veg out in front of a film. If you’re feeling like you’re not getting enough love, shift your focus to how you can show love to others instead, and see if you don’t feel that it is better to give than to receive.

People watch

If seeing couples everywhere gets you down, treat it like a zoological experiment. Get out on the town with a load of mates and play the people-watching game ‘How long have they been dating?’ as you observe the mating dances unfold. You could even play for prizes, if the couples in question humour you when you trot over to ask them for the truth.


Instead of trying to feel better, indulge in the misery! (I’ve a playlist of some my favourite romantic woe ballads below.) People often assume all life coaches try to encourage people to feel happy all the time. But every emotion is healthy or even desirable in moderation, and gives you something to learn from. It’s about not feeling controlled by your emotions but learning that you can choose which to nurture at any given time. If you feel genuine grief for the loss or lack of a relationship, it’s fine to let it out and even wallow for a while.

Just remember that when you want to feel better, you just need to find a better story about your situation, one that includes appreciation for right now and hope for the future.

Love and be loved!

[“Calendar” image credit: Dan Moyle via Flickr (Creative Commons) ]

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1 Response

  1. February 9, 2015

    […] If you’re ready to make changes, get in touch – and please share with anyone you think might benefit. (And if you’re not looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year, read this.) […]

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