Valentine’s Day is coming and don’t we know it: our inboxes are pinging with special offers and romantic break ideas, adverts are telling us where to go for a lovely meal for two and the card shops have turned a brilliant shade of red.
But what if you’re single, or in an unhappy relationship? This kind of intense focus on love and romance can sometimes serve to make you feel even worse.
So, short of turning off all your technology for the lead up to the day, what can you do about it? Well, the most important way to either fully enjoy or survive Valentines Day is to realise that the most important relationship you have is with yourself.
In fact, in order to make your other relationships work you need to treat the time you spend with yourself and on yourself as a priority, something most women struggle to achieve as they put the needs of others before themselves.
In my profession, I treat many people, especially women, who may be in long-term marriages or relationships but who are deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. Many women, particularly those in their 50s, are part of the sandwich generation, trying to meet the needs of growing children, ageing parents and, increasingly, grandchildren.
Hardly surprising there is little left for your partner and even less for yourself.
But remember, on an aeroplane you are told to fit your own oxygen mask before your children’s, and this is a good concept to apply in life, too.
So if Valentine’s Day is getting you down, here’s my survival guide:
Value yourself. Give yourself love, care and nurture. Your health is paramount: physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Accept yourself for who you are. Rejoice in your own unique qualities. Be grateful for all the great things in your life – it’s a good idea to keep a gratitude journal.
Learn to let go. Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. If you chastised a friend/lover the way you may speak harshly to yourself would they stay? Probably not.
Enjoy your own company. Otherwise how can others enjoy being with you?
Never leave yourself off your to-do list. This includes both waking and sleeping time. Before you go to sleep, remind yourself of all of your positive qualities and ‘wins’ you had that day. It will positively influence your dreams.
There is no such thing as perfection. Perfect people in magazines are air brushed. Perfection is unattainable, like a finish ribbon that moves away all the time. As such, it is the lowest quality of all.
“I am enough”. Say this to yourself every day. Write it on your mirrors. Have it as your screensaver. Celebrities who destroy themselves invariably do not feel that they are enough despite all the trappings of fame and fortune.
Never say never. Even if you have been hurt in the past you can still find someone who loves and values you for who you are. But first you must do this for yourself.
Everyday, find ways to love and nurture yourself. Walk in nature. Take 10 uninterrupted minutes, even if you have to go out onto the fire escape at your office, to savour your coffee. Soak in a hot bath. Do whatever works for you.