As a child, Valentine’s Day is filled with candy hearts, red and pink streamers draped on ceilings of classrooms and sweet greetings exchanged among friends. As we get older, however, the holiday can turn into something different than what we experienced as a child.
While the holiday can be romantic and wonderful, it can also be lonely and produce anxious feelings. In addition to the pressure to spend money for gifts like chocolate, flowers or even engagement rings, Valentine’s Day can also cause loneliness for those not involved in a relationship or sadness for those who are just not feeling the spirit of the love-fest.
Valentine’s Day can be especially triggering for someone who suffers from anxiety, as the holiday carries with it certain societal expectations. This once joy-filled day can produce anxious feelings related to disappointing yourself or your loved one. The day can also bring anxiety over the state of any relationship you may have.
We compiled some of the best tips to help reduce anxious feelings leading up to and on Valentine’s Day. Here are our favorites:
- Set helpful expectations for the day, and write them down. Talk about with your partner, friends, or family ahead of time, that way you know what to expect. Additionally, recording these expectations can be beneficial to revisit and reread in moments when you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
- Connect more with your partner or friends! Try asking lists of questions to get the conversation started on something other than normal stressors. You can try Fun Questions to Ask to Friends, 36 Deep Questions to Ask Your Partner, 13 Science Backed First Date Questions (even if it’s far from your first date) or find your own. We recommend these questionnaires because studies show that couples, or friends, who have greater self-disclosure, i.e. answering all those questions together, experience increased positive feelings towards one another.
- If you are having conflict with your romantic partner, write a letter of gratitude to them. Even if you are not experiencing conflict, expressing your feelings can reinforce your relationship (it is also cost effective). Additionally, if you aren’t happy in a relationship, Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity to Shake Things Up and break from the normal routine.
- You can always work on the relationship that you have with yourself. Promote self-love by writing love notes to yourself. These small ways of self-assurance, gratitude and appreciation can add a little boost. Also, it is a great way to reflect at the end of the month when you have over 29 little messages from yourself to yourself! And remember you can always buy yourself chocolate and flowers.
- If you aren’t in a relationship, or recently got out of one, go out with Friends! Being with close friends is a great way to lessen feelings of loneliness. You can plan a night in with TV and pizza, or head to your favorite restaurant in your best outfit! Being with friends is not only beneficial to you, but also for them! It also decreases your chances of reaching out to that ex.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder, contact a treatment facility for help. To learn more about the breadth of services offered at Havenwood Behavioral Health, visit havenwoodbehavioral.com/or call us at (864) 660-6217. With proper treatment and support, you can overcome mental illness.