How to Survive (and Thrive) This Valentine’s Day


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How to Survive (and Thrive) This Valentine's Day

How to Survive (and Thrive) This Valentine’s Day

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By: Mental Health Emergency Center of America February 8, 2022

Somewhere at the end of the New Year’s Eve party, the retail display changed from a winter wonderland to a Cupid’s playground. But whether you’re scared or eagerly looking forward to it, Valentine’s Day can also remind us that we can all use a little TLC (tender, loving) no matter what our relationship situation is.

Unrealistic depictions of Valentine’s Day – outrageous marriage proposals, over-the-top dinner dates, etc. – can make you feel like you have to match up and/or make everything “perfect” seem overwhelming to the point that you may feel anxious . According to Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), everyone experiences anxiety (not to be confused with anxiety disorders) at some point in their lives. Anxiety is a feeling of worry caused by a perceived threat in the environment, manifested as fear, stress, or tension, as well as physical symptoms such as increased alertness or increased heart rate.

The good news is that there are many ways to avoid anxiety. Here are some mental health first aid tips to help you get the most out of this Valentine’s Day and manage any stress or anxiety symptoms.

Focus on self-love and self-care.

Self-love is vital to mental health and helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, according to the MHFA curriculum, those who focus on their physical and mental health are better able to adapt to change, build stronger relationships, and are more likely to recover from setbacks. Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day alone or with someone special, consider nurturing your relationship with #1—yourself!

  1. Try positive self-talk. The way we speak to and talk about ourselves affects how we feel. Try replacing “I hate being alone” with “I accept and love myself and I choose to focus on positive thoughts.” For more inspiration, here’s a list of positive affirmations to help ease anxiety.
  2. please do it yourself. Enjoy your self-care time! Doing something you enjoy will also give you energy. Some ideas include practicing yoga or meditation, or indulging in a nap if you’re tired. You might want to invest in learning a new skill, like cooking or dancing. Whatever it is, do something that brings you joy, even when no one else is around.

Communicate expectations and be present.

Your expectations for grand gestures and movie dates can lead to disappointment if they only exist in your head. If you are in a relationship, remember that your partner cannot read your thoughts and communicate what is most important to you. Even if your partner decides to plan a surprise, try to be open to new experiences rather than fantasizing about an ideal scenario.

To get the most out of your big day, practice mindfulness and stay in the moment. Focus on the “here and now” by practicing grounding techniques, such as listing everything you can see, touch, hear, smell, or taste to stay connected and spend quality time with your partner.

Focus on what you can do together.

Solitude can easily make us our best on Valentine’s Day, especially when you can’t celebrate together in person. To help you get closer to your loved ones, focus on things you can do together, such as:

  1. plan a tripWhile you may not be physically together right now, brainstorming, researching, and booking vacations by phone or video call will give you something to look forward to while traveling in safety. In fact, research shows that people can experience more joy just planning a trip than actually traveling.
  2. Stream Movies TogetherIf you miss snuggling up on the couch watching a TV binge, try grabbing some of your favorite snacks and setting up a FaceTime appointment to enjoy a marathon of movies or TV shows together in real time.

Practice gratitude.

The holidays are a great reminder to spend quality time with those who mean the most to us. Love comes in many forms—partners, family, friends—and consider celebrating any or all of them this year.

Whatever you decide to do—whether it’s a big dinner, a romantic comedy marathon, crazy sports, or a baking day—focus on acknowledging all the things you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude has been linked to improved well-being and life satisfaction. It can be as simple as, “I’m so happy to have a family to celebrate together;” “I’m so glad I’m healthy and able to bake these treats;” or “I’m grateful that my friends love them so much that they want to join me Let’s spend this vacation together.”

We wish you a relaxing and memorable Valentine’s Day. For more ways to manage anxiety and #BeTheDifference for yourself, check out these related blogs:

  1. Five tips to reverse a stressful day
  2. How breathing can help reduce stress
  3. How to take care of yourself when you feel overwhelmed

refer to

Carmichael, C. (February 13, 2021). A simple guide to overcoming Valentine’s Day anxiety. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-high-functioning-hotspot/202102/the-simple-guide-beating-valentine-s-day-anxiety.

Greene, P. (February 7, 2020). Coping with Valentine’s Day Depression. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/dealing-valentines-day-depression.

Herreria Russo, C. (June 6, 2016). The happiest part of your vacation isn’t what you think it is. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-make-the-most-of-vacation_n_5755b42ae4b0eb20fa0e906d.

Khorrami, N. (June 29, 2020). Positive effects of gratitude on mental health. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/comfort-gratitude/202006/the-positive-impact-gratitude-mental-health#:~:text=Here%20are%20at%20least%205%20ways% 20that %20 be grateful, make %20us%20 or %20another%20in%20lives%20feel%20valued.

Leatherman, J. (24 Jul 2018). 13 Anxiety Relief Methods That Don’t Need a Prescription. Life Hacking. https://www.lifehack.org/789815/anxiety-relief.

Mayo Clinic. (May 5, 2018). anxiety. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961.

Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA. National Council on Mental Health.

Nall, R. (June 8, 2018). What is Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322070.

Nicholas, S. (October 22, 2019). 45 Positive affirmations for anxiety and stress reduction. Happier humans. https://www.happierhuman.com/positive-affirmations-anxiety/#:~:text=Affirmations%20for%20Anxiety%201%20I%20choose%20to%20feel,brave%2FI%20am%20strong.%2011%20I %20 turns %20 into %20 OK.

Sandoiu, A. (March 23, 2018). Why self-love is important and how to cultivate it. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321309.

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