by Skylar DeBruyn, BSW Intern
With Valentine’s Day making its appearance yet again, it is not uncommon for there to be a flutter of mixed feelings. Some research even suggests that Valentine’s Day begins the rise in suicide rates that typically peak in April. This is a result of a kind of seasonal depression that surrounds the love-focused holiday.
Many worry that their love life is not up to par with the Cinderella-like fairy tales or “every kiss begins with Kay” cheesy commercials. Now take that annual Valentine’s Day stress and add the ongoing worldwide pandemic that has made being single or away from loved ones all the more difficult.
However, as the saying goes, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. With better things seemingly within reach, here are a few ways that you can practice loving yourself and combatting loneliness or depression--especially around Valentine's Day.
Focus on YOU
Be your own love and your own best friend! Self-care and self-compassion are incredibly important. By simply engaging in fulfilling activities such as taking a nap, doing a face mask, trying a new hobby, or even going for a run, you will be surprised how much your mood can change! Focusing on yourself directs your energy to what is most important... because there is only one you.
Take a break from social media
Everyone knows the toxicity that comes with social media. Many see picture-perfect couples doing their picture-perfect relationship things and wonder... why can't that be me? Social media may have you feeling down, insecure, jealous (we don't like to admit that to ourselves, I know), or just plain frustrated. Too much of social media is filled with unrealistic expectations that can trigger anxiety and depression. Take some time and leave your device somewhere that isn't in your hand or in your lap. You will certainly find that you are only helping yourself and your mental health by doing so.
Share random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness can make both the receiver and the giver feel amazing. If you are tired of spending too much time with yourself and your emotions, take a moment to step outside and help others. That could mean volunteering, inviting an elderly neighbor to lunch, sending a thank you card to a veteran, or even something as simple as calling a family member and telling them you love them. No matter the magnitude of the act, kindness makes everyone involved feel good.
Focus on optimism and successes
Focusing on all things positive will help you to keep a clear mind and heart. This could mean keeping a daily journal of the positives of your day or reminding yourself of aspirations for the future. What goals are you shooting towards? How can you get there? By being optimistic and keeping your head high, you remind yourself what you are doing it all for!
Reconnect with a friend (old or new)
Remember that AMAZING coworker you said you would get coffee with "sometime", but that sometime turned into basically never? There are times when being in your own company can get old. If that's the case and you just need a breather, try to jump out of your comfort zone and reach out to that old or new friend. You may find that their company helps to bring you happiness. Who knows? You may even have way more in common than you think!
Remember to reach out for additional needed support
It is okay to ask for help. You may just be feeling downright overwhelmed and need a professional to talk to. Do not ever be afraid to reach out and connect with a therapist. That individual is there to care for you, support you, root for you, and help you do all the same for yourself.
If you or a loved one are struggling this Valentine's Day, we at Graceful Therapy can help you get back your confidence and control, and push you to always love yourself the most.
To schedule an appointment, visit us at gracefultherapy.com/contact.