While being single on Valentine’s Day might high-key suck, it doesn’t have to be The Worst Thing to ever happen. Regardless of if you’re newly single or have been doing this whole solo thing for some time now, remember that V-day isn’t exclusively for couples. (Even though it often feels that way.)
In my person opinion, February 14th is a day dedicated to loving on your friends, your family, and most importantly, yourself. Like, all earnestness aside, it feels like the best time to give yourself the proper pampering, loving, and attention you’d otherwise be giving someone else who, honestly, probably doesn’t deserve it.
So if you’re one of the people out there who is consciously uncoupled and single this year, here are a few things you can do to make those 24 hours The Best. (One statement that’s personally getting me through this year and holiday: There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely.)
Write Yourself a Love Letter
Real talk: The most important relationship you can have is with yourself, which is why you should be
happy (okay, not happy, but grateful!) to spend V-day solo. Licensed psychotherapist Markesha Miller suggests writing yourself a love letter. “Celebrate you and the progress you have continued to make in your life. Talk about the future that you anticipate for yourself,” she says. “This is the perfect time to fall in love with yourself.”
Maybe Take a Day Off of Instagram
If seeing other people’s #CoupleGoals pics on the ‘gram is going to make you feel even more salty about your situation, delete the app entirely or be mindful of your scrolling. “Don’t spend too long on social media if images of romantic Valentine’s Day gifts and pictures is going to haunt you,” says Keisha Blair, author of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness.
Spread Love by Gifting Yourself or Others Flowers
Valentine’s Day isn’t exclusive to romantic love, says Robert Vandor, of LunchDates.com. If you’re not getting flowers this year, give them! “Pop into a Trader Joe’s after work and scoop up affordable flowers to distribute at a nearby nursing home,” he suggests. “Nothing feeds the soul like making others smile.” Afterward, you can reward yourself with fancy take-out from a high-end restaurant and relish in the fact that you spread love in an unexpected and authentic way, he adds.
Remember That Being Single Legit Isn’t the Worst Thing
You can also volunteer at a youth shelter, soup kitchen, or animal shelter. “Give away your time, energy, and skills unconditionally to serve others,” says Alexis Taylor, sex and relationship expert. It’s easy to feel bad about yourself when you’re single on Valentine’s Day, but “we don’t see others and recognize their basic needs when we are higher in the Maslow hierarchy and self-absorbed,” adds Taylor. Take that energy and spin it into something positive to help those less fortunate than us, because there are problems worse than being single on Valentine’s Day.
Do Everything You’d Do if You Were Coupled Up
Let’s be real, most dates always end in Netflix anyway, which is great because you don’t need a partner to do that. The fact is, no matter how hard you look, you’re not gonna find a partner in the next 24 hours (and if you did, do you want to find someone just because you were on a time crunch?). It’s totally great to be in touch with your emotions, but don’t buy into the idea that you need another person to be happy, says Adina Mahalli, MSW.
Yes, you read that right. If you were looking for an excuse to stay in, turn your phone on Do Not Disturb and veg out for 24 hours—Valentine’s Day is the most perfect reason ever to do so. “Sleeping all day alone in your room doesn’t mean that you are depressed and lonely,” says Chris Pleines, of Dating Scout. And the fact of the matter is, with all the burnout and stress from your everyday life and school and balancing your platonic friendships, you’re likely in need of a rest anyway. “It’s one good way to recharge and enjoy some quiet time for yourself,” says Pleines, adding that it can also remind you to be happy with yourself and independent, not to mention focus on self-care.
A Valentine’s Day dinner = pricey AF. Take the day as an excuse to spend less than you would on a fancy date or romantic getaway to get something totally unnecessary but fun for yourself. Like these cheapo pens on Amazon! Or this amazing foot scrub! Or some makeup!
Remember That Valentine’s Day Happens Only Once a Year
Just like every other holiday, it’s important to remember that it’ll soon be over. “It’s just a day,” clinical psychologist Rebekah Montgomery, PhD, tells Cosmopolitan.com. “It’s just a commercialized holiday—engage in some extra self-care and TLC to make it through the 24 hours.”
It might feel like the world is out to get you when stores are decorated with red heart balloons and cheesy love songs are playing on every car stereo. But come February 15, all those cards with heartfelt messages in them will be lining a dumpster somewhere.
Also Remember That V-Day Wouldn’t Necessarily Be Better Spent With a Partner
Psychotherapist Hilda Burke says “many singletons imagine their coupled-up counterparts are having a better time of it, particularly on Valentine’s Day. It’s human nature to think that the grass is always greener. But the fact is that being single is no better nor no worse than being in a couple.”
After all, being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day comes with its own set of anxieties and pressures. If you’re single, you have the luxury of being selfish and putting your own needs first.
Remember Your Ghosts of Valentine’s Days Past in a Productive Way
Reflecting on past relationships isn’t always the best thing to do, especially if you’re still remotely into any of your exes. But for better or worse, Valentine’s is the perfect opportunity to think about why things didn’t work out with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend and realize that you deserve to be happy too.
Relationships editor Christal D. Jordan says it’s important to remember that people who hurt you are better left in your past: “This year, you aren’t in a relationship with a cheater, which is actually a step in the right direction. Would you rather be spending Valentine’s Day with someone who is disrespecting you?”
Use the Time to Connect With Your Single Friends
In the past, Valentine’s Day might have been a celebration for couples, but you don’t have to stick to that. Venessa Marie Perry, MPH, founder of The Love Write, tells her “clients to plan something special for themselves or with other single friends.” As Dr. Perry explains, something as simple as hosting a socially-distant or virtual dinner with other singles so that you can enjoy some laughter among friends can take away any negativity you might have about the occasion.
And if you’re feeling FOMO from not having a significant other to spoil on the holiday, why not treat your friends instead? “It’s always important to treat yourself and the important people in your life,” Dr. Perry says, even if they’re not necessarily your romantic partners.
Spend the Night With Your Vibrator
Not that anyone needs an excuse to spend some quality time alone, but if you don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day, then staying home with a battery-powered companion could be just what you need.
Sadie Allison, founder of sex-toy boutique TickleKitty.com, encourages women to enjoy their alone time while they can. “Sexual self-pleasure is a perfect tide-you-over in between relationships and you can make a whole date out of it,” she says.