Newly single, a frequent solo flyer, or socially isolated from your beloved thanks to national lockdown? Whatever your relationship status, Valentine’s Day during a global pandemic is bound to be a bit tough. But just because you can't leave the house and a romantic meal for two is firmly off the table doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the day.
Follow our 5 tips to help you navigate the day of romance unscathed, with expert advice from Sam Owen, relationships and mental health expert, and author of Resilient Me: How to worry less and achieve more:
1. Remember it’s a marketing gimmick
If you feel bummed out about spending Valentine’s Day on your own, try to remember that it's not real. The romance we all fantasise about come from films, songs and cheesy novels and is rarely based in reality. Ask your mates with three kids who’ve been together for a decade if they still send cards. Chances are they’re too busy washing the cat/making dinner/fighting over chores to remember what day of the week it is. But that doesn’t make their relationship any less loving.
The truth is the bold romantic gestures we are brainwashed to believe equal true love come from marketing companies trying to make you spend money. 'Lasting love and real happiness stem from being happy and healthy within yourself, and being proactive about maintaining a happy, healthy team, and growing together,' says Owen.
2. Make sweet love to yourself
Being single at the best of times can be tough, never mind during a national lockdown. But right now your significant other is someone really important: you! So, treat yourself the way you would like to be treated by your one true love, and make mad passionate love to yourself. 'Self-love is the prerequisite for being able to love anyone else, so showing yourself love and compassion on Valentine’s Day is as important as showing it to someone else,' says Owen.
This can be done in a number of ways. Try the following tips to show yourself love on Valentine's Day:
❤️ Buy yourself a gift
If the postman hasn't come knocking and you need a boost, buy yourself a gift instead. According to a new study, indulging yourself occasionally is fundamental to a happy life, so treat yourself to that jacket you've had your eye on for ages, or buy something nice for your home.
❤️ Pamper yourself
Taking care of yourself is an act of self-love and something as simple as a long soak in the tub could turn your whole day around, so indulge yourself. 'Engage in self-care such as pampering yourself or doing some beauty treatments,' suggests Owen. Try the NUXE Insta-Masque Purifying & Smoothing Mask to make your skin feel brand new in only two minutes.
❤️ Throw a party
Just because you're single in lockdown doesn't mean you have to be alone. Chances are your single friends will welcome the distraction too, so call around and get the party started. 'Have a virtual party with other single friends or with loved ones who will be free such as your siblings, friends, parents, or a work colleague,' says Owen. 'Love travels in many directions, so enjoy it.'
❤️ Seduce yourself
These days you really don't need a significant other to have a good time, so take yourself to bed and have a party for one! For the gents, the latest high performance sex tech from Lelo will knock your socks off, or for the ladies Tracy's Dog suction vibrator is guaranteed to get love flowing on Valentine's Day.
3. Switch off social media
If you were enjoying the most romantic night of your life, would you have time to post flattering pictures on Instagram? Probably not! So remember, while you’re busy pouring over other people’s perfect lives on Instagram, they’re also on lockdown and chances are they’re sat at home doom scrolling too.
'One study found making social comparisons on Facebook can lower our self-esteem in the present moment if we feel inferior, as we compare ourselves with the details we see in another person’s social media profile,' says Owen. 'Another study found that we tend to think others are happier than we are when we see their social media posts - and yet socialising offline results in less likelihood of us seeing others as having happier lives.'
If you're alone, scrolling through pictures of your pals/celebrities boasting about their perfect Valentine’s Day will probably make you feel worse, so switch off Instagram for a day and step away from the internet. 'All the reminders of "happy couples" may make you feel depressed or anxious about your own current lack of love life, so just don’t go on social media if that helps you,' says Owen.
4. Love bomb your friends
Research shows that the act of giving can actually boost your physical and mental wellbeing. What’s more, two separate studies published in Psychological Science found that the pleasure associated with this actually lasts longer than the joy of receiving, so if you’re feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day, channel your energy into love bombing your friends instead.
'Doing so will help you to recognise the love that exists in other places in your life, as romantic love is only one type, and if you have people that love you, you are blessed,' says Owen. 'Gratitude is also linked to a reduction in stress and depressive symptoms, and an improved quality of life.'
To love-bomb your friends try the following tips:
Post a personalised Valentine’s Day card to a special friend.
Send a letterbox flower delivery to someone you know who needs a smile.
Order cakes or heart shaped cookies for a beloved girlfriend.
Send the gift of orgasmic pleasure (ideally to someone you know really well!)
Get afternoon tea delivered to your dearest pals.
Go all-out and send a Lovestruck Hamper to a lonely friend.
Or for slightly cheaper, send a lockdown survival kit to your friends in isolation.
Pick up the phone and say hi! Just hearing your voice will be a wonderful surprise.
5. Feel your feelings
If you are single and sad about it, you could use this time to engage with your feelings and work out what you want and need from your next relationship.
'If you’re in a goal-focused, proactive state of mind and wondering what you need to do to find lasting healthy love, you could explore assumptions you make about dating, relationships and yourself, in order to determine which thoughts are sabotaging you and which obstacles you need to overcome,' says Owen.
'You have to allow yourself to feel it, in order to heal it. Set yourself a goal of when you want to be in a happy, healthy relationship by and start taking action, and the first step is self-awareness and that requires introspection and reflection,' she adds. 'You can do this alone, or with the help of friends or a relationships coach.'
Help and support
If you're really struggling on Valentine's Day (or any other day), there are resources available to help you during this difficult time so don't be afraid to ask for help. For further support, try one of the following:
Shout: Text 'SHOUT' to 85258 if you are struggling and they will text you back.
Anxiety UK: a charity which specifies in helping those suffering from anxiety.
The Samaritans: a charity providing support to anyone in emotional distress.
Mind: making sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.
Papyrus: contact for help and advice around thoughts of suicide.
Last updated: 30-01-2021
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