There may not be a more unpleasant time to be alone than on Valentine’s Day, especially if you are used to being a part of something more. Memories of romantic dinners, weekend getaways and special thought-filled gifts might just create a flood of feelings that just aren’t welcome. One look down Main Street or a stop at your local coffee shop might induce a longing for what was, instead of a passion for what is. Our culture paints a pretty picture of couplehood as pure bliss and although we might know better, it’s hard not to buy into the idea that being alone is a bad thing. Valentine’s Day sends the message loud and clear.
So rather than deny this annoying Hallmark holiday that makes us feel bad, why not celebrate instead? Why not celebrate the fabulous you? Here are five things you can do for yourself during February that are sure to nurture your amazing, extraordinary and resilient spirit.
1) Enjoy a Spa Day
“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” ~ Satchel Paige
It can be difficult to justify, (because we think we have to) a day at the spa or any version of it. But a day to relax and do nothing, free of unnecessary guilt and obligations might be just what we need. Spas come in all varieties and can be top of the line, offering high end services and all the pampering our tired spirits need. Imagine a day where nothing is expected of you. Imagine a light healthy breakfast to start the day followed by a mani-pedi, a eucalyptus facial and a hot stone massage. Top it off with a soak in the hot tub or swim in the heated pool. Go yourself or bring a friend. If this kind of high priced relaxation is out of reach, consider going to your local nail salon for a pedicure which can be a delicious gift to your tootsies. An hour of nirvana happens as tired feet get massaged into submission. Many places throw in a short chair massage while your nails are drying. Make it an event by stopping for your favorite coffee or herbal tea, and bring a book of poetry or a favorite novel with you to relax and enjoy the experience. I usually bring my own nail polish so I have one less decision to re-think that day. And if you have a homebody nature and want to stay put, you can do many of the same things in the comfort of your own home. The idea is the same, to set time aside for nurturing yourself, and doing nothing. Sometimes it’s important to just “sits”.
2) Make an Artists Retreat
“Creating involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono
I know…you’re thinking, artist? Where? Right there, you. You are an artist. We are all artists, we just don’t all know it. Creating, in any form is one of the most freeing experiences we can give ourselves and one of the most healing experiences we can have. So gather up some paint glue, scissors, palette and plan a retreat that will be filled with no expectations, lots of quiet or whatever inspires you and set your spirit free. Make a plan for the day. Maybe that will mean beginning with a meditation or prayer, listening to Bach all day, or visiting a museum or art store for inspiration. Maybe you are a writer and are inspired by going into your library or favorite used bookstore. Photographers may appreciate taking a walk while knitters might enjoy a trip to the yarn shop for a new pattern and some special yarn. Creating comes in all forms. I’m a collage artist and can spend an entire weekend putting images together that I reflect on for months after I finish. Break out of those old thought patterns that say you’re not creative, and choose an art process that speaks to your heart and dive in. And if being guided is your preference, check out some of the programs at places like Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in Massachusetts, Wisdom House in Connecticut or Omega in upstate New York. They do all the work and all you have to do is show up.
3) Commune with Nature
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was an invincible summer.” ~ Albert Camus
Nothing can clear the mind like a walk outside on a wintry day. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins which makes you feel good. You can’t escape it. Consider taking a Wonder Walk. Sit a few minutes in silence before you head out to clear your mind. Focus on your breathing and as thoughts come in, thank them for stopping by and let them move along. When you are ready, step outside breathing deeply, allowing the chilled air to fill your lungs. Look around as you walk and just notice things, as if seeing it for the first time. Approach your surroundings with a childlike spirit of awe and wonder. Walk until you are done and upon your return, make a cup of hot cocoa and curl up in your favorite comfy chair and give yourself a hug for the gift you just gave your amazing, invincible self.
4) Refresh Your Space
“I feel very strongly we are spiritual beings in a physical body, and we should make our surroundings as beautiful and soulful as possible.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard
Sometimes when we’re not feeling on top of our game our homes can be one of the first places to suffer. Yet our home is our sanctuary and the place that nurtures us regardless of what is going on outside its walls. Making minor changes like rearranging furniture, organizing closets and drawers, or even a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in how we feel about being there. Alexandra Stoddard is a prolific writer on the art of living well. Pick up one of her 27 books and be inspired to refresh your space in a way that makes sense for you at this particular time in life. That might mean setting a fine dinner table setting just for you, tidying one messy corner, one room or bringing in a designer for a whole re-vamp. Whatever you do, make it uniquely yours, and “as beautiful and soulful as possible.”
“I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.” ~ Tracy Chapman
Perspective is such a powerful catalyst for change. I love Wayne Dyer’s words of wisdom when he tells us, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” Whenever we are feeling sad or overwhelmed by life we don’t have to look far to see others suffering as well. And there are always people who need our help. Seeing that we are not alone and that others can benefit from our time and talents, enables us to see outside our own sorrow. Whether we reach out to a neighbor, a soup kitchen, church ministries or a volunteer organization that places people based on skills and interests, there is no feeling like helping others. An annual research report in 2012 issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship revealed that 1 in 4 Americans (angels in disguise) do volunteer service, which at the time was 64.5 million people. And while there are many reasons that motivate people to volunteer in their communities, the one common outcome is that it feels great.
There are many ways to celebrate during this love- filled holiday. Romance yourself by doing things that make you feel great and nurture that amazing, extraordinary, fabulous you!