This year, for the first time since I was sixteen, I will be alone on Valentine’s Day. So naturally, with the date fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to spend it. I know I don’t want to wallow in self-pity, slurping a pint of ice-cream while binge-watching TV, like some sad cliché out of a rom-com movie.
Nor do I want to ignore this one day of the year when we collectively agree to celebrate LOVE. Because love is pretty much the best thing about being human. And I deserve to be honored in a loving way on Valentine’s Day, regardless of my relationship status. So do you!
The Greatest Love Of All
Enjoying a romantic night with a partner, or a fun time with friends or family, celebrates the joy and connection we find in our relationships with others. But there’s another kind of relationship that’s just as important to honor on the holiday of love. And that’s what I’ll be focusing on in today’s post.
What I’m sharing today are 5 self-loving ideas you can do alone on Valentine’s Day to connect you to the greatest love of all. (Thank you, Whitney Houston.) That is, of course, the love we nurture and give generously to ourselves.
This Valentine’s Day, whether or not you plan to do something special with your loved ones, I invite you to make it a priority to give your SELF some love. Because when you set aside time to do one (or more) of the ideas in this post, you’ll be sending a powerful message to your psyche that says:
I value my relationship with myself. And I know that loving myself opens my heart more fully to loving others.
The following gestures of self-love can fill your loving cup to overflowing from within.
1. Connect With Nature Alone This Valentine’s Day
We’re never truly alone when we’re out in nature. With all the lifeforms around us – from the trees to the birds to the bugs – spending time in nature reminds us of our interconnectedness to all life. And that connectivity is innate. We don’t have to understand it, accommodate it, or navigate complexities like emotions and expectations in order to facilitate it. Communing with nature is quite simple. All we have to do is show up and BE with it.
If you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone, this idea can be especially self-loving. Particularly if being alone tends to leave you feeling lonely. That’s because spending time in nature helps us feel less lonely. In fact, time spent in nature can lift our mood and support overall wellbeing so much it’s sometimes referred to as nature therapy. It’s good self-care, which means it’s a form of self-love.
But moreover, when we connect to nature, we’re witnessing our own essence reflected back at us. The natural cycles that form us, sustain us, and one day will transition us into something new are all on exquisite display. Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, when we’re absorbed in a natural environment, we’re energetically connecting to the elements of earth, water, fire (sun), and wind – the same elements that make up our physical form and give us life energy via metabolism and our breath.
Which means, when we appreciate nature, we’re appreciating our self. We’re honoring what we’re truly made of.
Even the most simplistic recognition of our interconnectedness with nature can remind us we are never alone. We’re part of something magnificent and wondrous. To contemplate this even just a little, as we sit or walk in nature, honors our inherent and indelible worth.
2. Take A Fun, Inspiring Class
If you’re dreading the thought of being alone on Valentine’s Day, and for whatever reason you can’t make plans with friends or family, this idea’s for you. Why not take a fun, inspiring class? Not only does this ensure you’ll have the company of other people, but it offers the gift of a new (or refined) skill.
Anytime we do something to increase our knowledge or skills, or to give our self the joy of a unique experience, we’re showing our self some love. Such activities deliver positive messages to our psyche. They tell us self-loving things like, I’m worth it. I’m capable. Life is good. We don’t even have to think these thoughts. We just internalize the concepts directly as we embody them through our actions.
If you’re not sure what kind of class you’d want to take alone on Valentine’s Day, the suggestions below might get your creative thinking flowing. I’ve shared some links to online versions, so you can get an idea what each class might be like. Also, so you can get a taste of the online options that are out there if you look for them. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, so an at-home class may feel preferable.
But if you want to find an in-person, local class, just enter the type you want to take with “near me” in your search engine.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Valentine’s Day Class Ideas
- Yoga (try a new style, or one that’s especially heart-focused, maybe even a special Valentine’s Day themed class)
- Dance (Belly-dance, hip-hop, ballet, hoop-dancing, salsa, line-dancing, etc. And in case you’re wondering…yes, you can take a class for partner dances like salsa and line-dancing without a partner. That’s actually how my mother met my step-dad over 30 years ago. They’re still married today!)
- Cooking (Options abound! Mediterranean, Italian, Baking, Vegan, Healthy, etc.)
- Art (Painting, drawing, pottery, glass-blowing, art appreciation, jewelry-making, etc.)
- Public Speaking
- Barre or any other exercise class
- Meditation/Mindfulness (Check with your local Zen or Shambhala centers to see if they might be hosting a meditation session on Valentine’s Day.)
3. Alone On Valentine’s Day = Time For Luxurious Self-Care
Whether you’re alone this Valentine’s Day or not, I can’t think of a better way to nurture self-love than to pamper yourself with some luxurious self-care. I’m talking about a trip to the spa for a facial, massage, manicure or pedicure. (If you have the time and money, maybe all of the above!)
Or, if you’re like me, you may prefer DIY spa services at home. Why not make it extra-special for Valentine’s Day and set a spa-like mood? You can:
- Light candles
- Play soft, soothing music
- Scent the room with an air diffuser and essential oils
- Make some cucumber water
(By the way, you can give yourself a massage. In fact, it can be a wonderful act of self-love to do so. Check out my Instagram post on how to do it here.)
These acts of self-care are small pieces of an overall healthy and balanced relationship with our self. Really, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. But on a day like Valentine’s – especially if we’re spending it alone – the physical touch and intentional effort they involve can make the love we feel for our self come alive in a powerfully demonstrative way.
4. Treat Yourself To A Fabulous Dinner (Even Alone) For Valentine’s
You absolutely deserve a fabulous dinner – whether you’re eating alone or with someone else – on Valentine’s Day. What better way to say “I love you” than with some delicious, good-for-you food? Nourishing the people we love – including our own self – is one of the most primal ways to communicate love. It goes back to mother’s milk and back in time to hunting, gathering and harvesting for family and community.
Of course, the relationship between food and emotions is complex. To be clear, I’m not suggesting you feast on a bunch of comfort food to alleviate feelings of loneliness or any other uncomfortable emotions. Or, simply to feel the pleasure that comes with a sugar high or some other food-induced chemical release. On the contrary, I’m talking about savoring healthy food – packed with nutrients your body and brain need to function at their best – that someone (maybe you) has taken the time to prepare in a delightfully tasty way.
Because the truth is, after we eat a lot of comfort food, we don’t tend to feel good. It might give us a brief boost in mood and pleasure. But soon enough that turns to feeling bloated, lethargic, and possibly guilty or disappointed with our self. How different it feels after we’ve given our self food we know is truly good for us. Food that leaves us satiated and pleased, without the feeling of heaviness or being stuffed. Food that energizes us instead of sending us into a food coma.
The difference between comfort food and healthy food is much like the significant gap that lies between desire and love. The latter truly serves our wellbeing in a lasting way.
Whether you’re eating-out, taking-out, or cooking at home, let the act of eating (and maybe preparing) good-for-you food be an expression of self-love.
5. Write A Love Letter To Yourself
This last one’s my favorite. And if for any reason you’re feeling disheartened about being alone on Valentine’s Day, it’s a MUST. Because we all have an innate need to feel loved.
On a day when the whole world seems to be celebrating romantic love, not being in a romantic relationship can feel like we – or our lives – are somehow incomplete or not enough. Writing a love letter to yourself empowers another message. One that says, you are absolutely complete and enough…and here’s why.
Many years ago, I offered this activity as an optional homework assignment at the end of a workshop I presented. Over the following weeks, I had several participants reach out to me to let me know how healing and life-changing it was for them. They said it felt uncomfortable sitting down to do it, but once they got started – and especially after they came back to read what they’d written days later – they felt deeply connected to themselves.
It may sound strange to write a love letter to yourself. But if you can get past that strangeness and truly dive into it, this act can open your heart to a deeply felt honoring of your self.
How To Write Yourself A Love Letter
Supplies needed: paper, pen, and an envelope
- Take a few moments to turn your awareness inward as you connect with your breath.
- When you feel you’ve tapped into your inner awareness, recall a memory of yourself as a young child. If you can, bring to mind a visual image of yourself as that young child. How do you look? What do you see in your eyes? What are you thinking, feeling, and/or doing?
- If you could have a conversation with this younger you, what would you tell yourself? What would she/he tell you?
- Bring your awareness back to present moment, connecting with your breath and your bodily sensations. Then, recall a recent memory of yourself. Bring to mind a visual image of yourself in that moment. How do you look? What do you see in your eyes? What are you thinking, feeling, and/or doing?
- If you could talk to this recent you, what would you say? What would she/he tell you?
- Lastly, imagine yourself in the future. Maybe 10 years from now, maybe much older. You decide. Call to mind a visual image. How do you look? What do you see in your eyes? What are you thinking, feeling, and/or doing?
- If you could have a conversation with this older you, what would you say? What would she/he tell you?
Once you’ve completed this inward journey, open your eyes and start handwriting your love letter. You can choose to write it to or from any of these versions of yourself you just connected with. Or, you can simply write to yourself in general – the whole you which spans all that time. Regardless, be sure to use your name in the greeting.
Let your intention be to communicate all that you see in you, all that you admire and understand about you. Be vulnerable and raw and real, because you’re the only one who’s going to read it.
When you’re done, place your letter in the envelope and seal it. Tuck it away somewhere no one else might find it. Then, sometime later – maybe a couple days, a week or even a month – pull out your love letter and read it. (This stretch of time helps you receive your words with fresh eyes.)
You can keep the letter and come back to it whenever you feel the need to reconnect with self-love. Or, you can discard it.
Being alone on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to feel lonely. It can present an opportunity for you to see yourself in a new light – as the truest source of love you may ever experience. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else on this planet can. When YOU love yourself, it means you know every nook and cranny of yourself is worthy of love.
It can also be a day in which you get to show yourself that love in an intentional way. Because when life gets busy (pulling us in different directions) or it gets difficult (making us question our self), we can lose sight of self-love. And when that happens…well…life loses its luster. Our inner light dims, and the whole world seems a little darker.
May you glow from the inside-out with the light of your own love. And may that light radiate out into the world, warming and uplifting everyone who comes in contact with you. Namaste.
I’d love to hear which ideas you’re planning to do this Valentine’s Day. Let me know in the comments!