When you're single, it's tough not to be affected by all the Valentine's Day madness. Retailers everywhere are constantly advertising it and reinforcing the subliminal message "you're nobody until somebody loves you" in the process. However, don't sweat it if you are not in a relationship or don't have a date lined up for February 14. Here are some ideas to help make Cupid's holiday a little more fun and less stressful for all the singles out there.
1. Do not throw yourself a pity party. Remember, nobody likes a Debbie Downer or a Bitter Betty. Crying about not having a significant other as your coworker is receiving a delivery of red roses will get you no sympathy. Also, be happy for others who are getting swept up in Valentine's Day festivities and don't rain on their parade. You'll only wind up earning a reputation as someone who is socially awkward, and instead of people asking "I wonder why they're single?" they'll wind up saying, "No wonder they're single."
2. Treat yourself to something special. Who says you can't pamper yourself on Valentine's Day? Book an appointment at a spa for a massage, facial, or mani-pedi combo. Go have lunch at your favorite posh restaurant. Gift yourself something that you've been eyeing for a while but haven't gotten around to purchasing yet. Do whatever it takes to put a smile on your face and lift your spirits.
3. Take a moment to exercise. Even if you're not a fitness enthusiast, do some sort of physical activity. Hit the gym ... go for a walk, hike, or run ... try that fitness class you've been curious about. The important thing is to stay active. It will get your endorphins up and elevate your mood. Plus, if you stick with an exercise regimen, think of how great you'll feel once summer rolls around. You'll be eager to wear a swimsuit while all the lovebirds will be reluctant to remove their extra layers of clothing since they spent the winter hibernating and cuddling on the couch.
4. Make plans with friends. Get a group of your single friends together and do something fun, but be careful not to call it an anti-Valentine's Day gathering. There's a negative "misery loves company" connotation in banding together under that kind of premise. Just keep it positive and celebrate friendship. Be mindful of the alcohol intake too. Single people, heavy amounts of booze, and Valentine's Day are usually not a good combination. Eventually, somebody starts crying about a breakup they went through and the night is shot to hell.
5. Get a good night's rest. Just think of all that half-price Valentine's Day candy you can swoop up at the local CVS if you are there bright and early February 15! So call it an early night and clean out the stores tomorrow before anyone else has a chance to. Of course, stocking up the pantry with heart-shaped boxes of chocolate won't make you eager to wear a swimsuit this summer, so engaging in this activity will negate the advice of tip number 3.
This post is all meant in good fun and just a little something to remind you singles out there not to allow yourselves to slip into a funk just because you're without a valentine. Today is just a silly day that we've been culturally conditioned to acknowledge as the most romantic day of the year. When we are in relationships, we don't put our mates on pedestals for February 14 only and then proceed to treat them like crap the other 364 days of the year, right? The truth is, every day is Valentine's Day.
Enjoy this day as you would any other, don't roll your eyes at the sight of hearts and red roses, and remember to be good to yourself. After all, I believe RuPaul says it best: "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"
JUSTIN HERNANDEZ writes about sex, dating, and relationships for The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter at @HernandezJustin.