Being alone this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be lonely. It might even be good for you. | Viewpoint

Being alone this Valentine's Day doesn't have to be lonely. It might even be good for you. | Viewpoint

Being alone this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be lonely. It might even be good for you. | Viewpoint


If you’re the one who broke up this Valentine’s Day and find yourself feeling self-pity about your single status, allow me to change your perspective — or at least try it.

What if I told you that as a party of one, you can still enjoy a commercialized vacation featuring romantic pairings? You might even benefit from spending alone? I realize this might sound like self-soothing, especially if you’re self-conscious about your single status, but please be humorous.

Singles, Statistics and the Science of Loneliness

For starters, it might help to know you’re not alone — the percentage of unmarried adults in the U.S. is on the rise, according to census data, closing the gap between married and unmarried Americans. In New Jersey, more than half of the population in hundreds of towns and cities is single, and in a handful of towns, singles make up more than two-thirds of all residents.

But being single doesn’t necessarily mean living a lonely life. Jennifer Block-Learner, PhD in clinical psychology at Kean University, associate professor and chair of the department of advanced research at the university, said research has shown a clear distinction between loneliness and loneliness—​​​​ Those who have demonstrated benefit under appropriate conditions. PhD program in Psychology and its Clinical Psychology.

“Even when we do things alone — in fact, quite a lot of time — there are ways to connect with others and connect with the larger world around us,” Block-Learner told NJ Advance Media. “When we’re alone , we also start to have the opportunity to really notice our own preferences and patterns.”

Being single is neither rare nor frustrating, so here are some ideas on how to fully embrace the concept this Valentine’s Day. Seriously, why make your Instagram couple have fun (and chocolate strawberries)?

take yourself out

If you’ve never been to a sit-down restaurant, bar, or even a movie alone, this advice can be uncomfortable. However, you might be surprised how good it feels to push to keep and do it anyway. Research shows that exposure to new experiences can improve our ability to adapt. New experiences trigger the release of dopamine, motivating us, which in turn leads to the creation of new neural pathways.

“In general, it’s really valuable to do something uncomfortable, sometimes to make the practice uncomfortable,” Block-Learner said.

cook (or order) something special

If you’re not ready to eat out alone, put your energy into cooking yourself a Valentine’s Day-worthy home cooking class by testing out a well-crafted recipe, buying a delicious steak, or signing up for virtual cooking.

And don’t convince yourself by claiming it’s not worth one’s troubles, because it obviously is. Research shows that engaging in small creative projects like baking or cooking can boost confidence and help people feel more relaxed and happy in their everyday lives.

buy gifts for friends (or yourself)

While the ads on your social media and TV screens describe Valentine’s Day gift-giving as a dedicated couple-focused event, there’s no reason you can’t use the day as an excuse to express gratitude for the other important relationships in your life. Surprise your friends, parents or neighbors. You’ll still experience the mood-boosting benefits of gift giving.

“We can redefine what it looks like now, rather than the more traditional norms of having a partner,” said Kelly Moore, Rutgers University psychologist and director of the Center for Psychological Services. “You have other people you love in your life that you can celebrate. .”

spend time on yourself

Single friends, Valentine’s Day should also be a time for you to consider taking off the sweatpants you’ve been wearing and putting a little effort into your look. Yes, even if the only person you plan to meet that day is an Uber Eats delivery driver. The researchers found that personal grooming had a positive effect on self-image and self-confidence.

“The most important relationship we’ll ever have is with ourselves. So that means taking care of yourself, taking care of your body, putting energy into your life and then pouring it out,” Moore said.

Reduce social media for the day

Okay, actually I know that the odds of anyone resisting the temptation to check social media all day are low.According to Statista, internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes a day on social media.

But both Moore and Block-Learner say that even a little less — especially on a day like Valentine’s Day that could trigger a major FOMO — would pay big dividends.

According to one study, limiting social media use to 30 minutes a day can improve mental health and well-being. Instead, Moore recommends “reinvesting your energy into how you enjoy the day and redefine it for yourself.”

Enjoy the benefits of being single

While most shopping brands, retailers and restaurants cater to couples on Valentine’s Day, several companies actually go out of their way to attract singles.

Every year, Hooters runs a “Shred Your Ex” promotion. All you have to do is bring your ex’s photo to the participating owls, have them destroy the photo, and when you buy 10 wings, you’ll get 10 free boneless wings in return.

Kickboxing franchise iLoveKickboxing, with locations in Bergen and Somerset counties, also offers its annual “Crush Your Ex” program. Participants took a photo of their ex, glued it to a sandbag, and proceeded to cut it out.

After officially saying goodbye to the past, look to the future with Eat Cute, a new dating site run by Door Dash and Shake Shack. After being matched with another participant, each user receives a promo code for a free buffalo chicken sandwich from Shake Shack by DoorDash.

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Jackie Roman reachable and @ByJackieRoman.

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