Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Enjoying Valentine's Day When You're Single

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since Christmas, you will probably be aware that Valentine’s Day is coming up next week. Anyone that knows me or who follows my YouTube channel will know that I’m single (I made a video last year about looking for love with a chronic illness) and that I feel pretty crap about it. I like to think of myself as a bit of a professional singleton these days, so I’m well versed at getting through one or two (and the rest!) Valentine’s Days on my own. Now, I know that in reality, February 14th is just another day and that really, we should be expressing our love every day of the year. And I also know that being in a relationship isn’t all roses and smiles. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does remind me of being on my own. So I thought I would share a few fun tips for enjoying Valentine’s Day when you’re single.

Celebrate Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s Day is a non-official holiday, celebrated on the 13th February. It’s an opportunity to remember your gals (or pals) rather than celebrating romantic relationships. I love the idea of a day specifically focused on telling your friends how much you love them. Yes, we should be communicating our appreciation for our friends every day, but we all know that that just doesn’t happen. Life gets in the way, and before you know it you’ve gone a few months without seeing your bestie. So why not use this time of year to really show your friends how much they mean to you. You could do something as little as sending them a text or a cute card, or if you’re feeling flush, why not treat them to a special present that you know they’ve been lusting after? Or if you want to go all out, take them on a date!

Embrace some self-love

One thing I do really love about Valentine’s Day is the focus on love. Of course, the biggest emphasis is on romantic love between two people, but if you’re not in a relationship (or even if you are) why not use it as an excuse to show yourself a bit of love and care. I think all of us are probably guilty of neglecting ourselves and putting other people first. And while it’s no bad thing to be selfless, putting yourself first once in a while doesn’t have to be a selfish act. There’s so much being said about self-care at the moment, and I truly believe it’s one of the most important things you can do. There’s a quote that says: “You can’t pour from an empty cup” that really helped me to understand the importance of self-care. How can you be there for other people if you’re running on empty? So showing yourself a bit of love this Valentine’s Day could encompass literally anything – from spending a bit of money on something you’ve been lusting after to running yourself a bubbly bath or setting aside half an hour to read some of your favourite book.

Invite some friends over for dinner

If you enjoy a bit of cooking and you’ve got a few single friends, why not invite them over for a yummy dinner? Now I’ll admit, I’m no Nigella, but it can be good fun to get a few friends over, pick a new recipe (or an old favourite) and cook some good food for everyone. I love that satisfaction you get being able to feed people you care about and, hopefully, getting some great feedback. Or if you’re not a very confident chef, get your friends to come a bit earlier and all cook together – believe me there will be plenty of laughs! If cooking really feels too scary and you’re concerned your kitchen will end up looking like a toddler has emptied the contents of your fridge everywhere, invite your group over for a takeaway instead. It will not only be better than trying to book a meal out (which would cost a fortune and mean you’re surrounded by couples) but it will provide a great distraction, as well as a chance to spend some quality time with people you love.

Remind yourself of the good things about being single

This one is a bit easier said than done, but I promise you it is possible (if someone like me can manage it, then I guarantee anyone can!) Especially this time of year, when the media are trying to remind you of how amazing it is to be in a relationship (they seem to forget to mention the hard bits!) it can be difficult to think of anything else. But that also makes it a great time to try and think of all the good things about being single, and remind yourself that where you are now isn’t all bad. For example, I always remind myself that I don’t have to consider anyone else’s opinion if I want to, say, go out somewhere or spend all weekend curled up on the sofa binge-watching episodes of Friends. I’m not saying that people in relationships don’t have their own free will, but being part of a partnership does mean you have two people’s views to consider. Yes, there are a lot of things I would love to have from being in a relationship with someone, but the fact is, I’m single. So it’s about trying to be grateful for what you do have, rather than feeling sad about what you don’t.

Have a spa day

On the same lines as practicing some self-love, I think Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to book yourself in for some much deserved pampering (not that I think you need an excuse – as far as I’m concerned, any reason for a spa day is OK by me!) But I think a bit of indulgence now and again is good for everyone. One of my personal favourites is Champneys - I’ve been to their Forest Mere Spa a couple of times and absolutely loved it both times. But there are so many gorgeous spas around the country – it won’t be hard to find the right one for you. If you can’t stretch to a fancy spa visit, that shouldn’t stop you treating yourself to some pampering. You could go and get your nails done, or book in for a massage or facial with your local beauty therapist. Or you could even do a DIY spa day – dig out some nice skincare bits from the back of your cupboard, light some candles, put on some relaxing music and set aside an evening for pampering yourself.

Buy yourself some flowers

I always think it’s lovely to be bought flowers (not that it happens to me very often!) Whenever a friend or family member has given me a bunch of flowers, I can’t help but smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And having fresh flowers around the house, especially while the weather is still cold and grey, really helps to brighten up the place and lift my mood. But like I said, being given flowers isn’t a regular occurrence, so I like to treat myself to a bunch now and again. Usually mine just come from the supermarket - you can get some real bargains – this week I picked up a bunch of beautiful rainbow tulips from Tesco for only £6! If you’re thinking of treating yourself to some blooms this Valentine’s Day though, my biggest tip would be to wait and buy them the day after. Shops usually put prices up around February 14th, but more often than not, you will go in the day after and find a huge amount of stock still for sale, but at a reduced price – bargain!

Forget about dating apps for the day

I’m terrible for whiling away the hours flicking through Tinder – swiping left and right until that message comes up telling me there’s no-one left in my area (how depressing is that?!) Sometimes it can make me feel like I’m being proactive, but a lot of the time I just end up feeling disillusioned that I’m still single and can’t seem to find The One. So, just for a day, leave the dating apps and websites alone and focus on having some fun. The last thing you want to be doing on Valentine’s Day is scrolling through hundreds of pictures, making yourself feel even worse about being single when it feels like everyone else is out on dates. Plus I’ve found that the V Day seems to attract some ‘interesting’ people to the world of online dating – believe me when I say they are best avoided until the hype has calmed down a bit!

Organise/take part in a Valentine’s Secret Santa

My last tip for enjoying Valentine’s Day when you’re single, is to take part in a Secret Santa. Now, I know what you’re thinking – Christmas was two months ago! But this Secret Santa is specifically for Valentine’s. I’ve been doing this with some friends I met through the chronic illness community for a number of years, and it really makes this time of a year a bit nicer. Someone simply takes everyone’s names and secretly matches you up with a person to send a card (and sometimes a present) to – just like Secret Santa. It means that, even if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, you still end up getting something through the post to open. There are plenty of cute cards out there that aren’t too soppy and are perfect for this kind of thing. If you don’t have a group of friends to do this with, search the hashtags on Instagram or Twitter for Secret Valentine and you’re bound to find someone organising one. You never know – you might even find a new friend (or more!)

I really hope this has given you a few fun ideas to help you enjoy Valentine’s Day this year, whether you’re single or in a relationship. I’ve also filmed a video talking about this, which you can find on my YouTube Channel. However you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, I hope it will help you remember how much you are loved.

What I’m wearing:

Jumper – Primark
Denim Leggings – Next
Rainbow Dr Martens - Schuh

Are you a fan of Valentine’s Day? How will you be celebrating this year?

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