Listen, I get it, Valentine's day can feel like a real drag. I pretty much hate the forced feeling of having to do something extravagant on a random Tuesday. However, even when I was single I realized how Valentine's day was a time to give back to ourselves no matter what our relationship status is. Especially since it was one of the few days in the year that some of the spas I worked at would extend their hours. For a business to project ahead of time that more people would be taking care of themselves on a particular day was genius in my opinion. And they were never wrong, for 12+ hours straight at several locations each hour on the hour was booked up with people who were taking the time to care for themselves or someone they loved. A simple shift in perspective can remind you that this day is bigger than a fancy dinner and chocolate, it's simply about love. Love for yourself and others if you so choose. So instead of feeling low or irritated here are my top 5 ways to enjoy Valentine's Day whether you are solo or paired up:

1 - This one is obvious but get a service done!

Seriously, how good do you feel when you get a mani/pedi? A facial? A massage??? You don’t have to be with someone to make this happen and to enjoy yourself. Even if it comes down to doing a simple face mask at home and re-polishing your own toes, it’ll feel great so give yourself that attention. Stop by Whole Foods and grab some epsom salts, incense and a guilt free dessert to have the ultimate self care experience!

2 - Go out in nature!

Last year James and I just wanted to go to the beach and so we woke up at 7 am (Valentine's day was on the same day as the LA marathon so we planned ahead) and we drove to Manhattan beach. A simple way to spend the day but we literally both jumped into the ocean and felt such a beautiful cleansing for taking the time to reconnect with a body of water. Hiking is another way to completely break away from the day to day monotony and reconnect with yourself or significant other. I personally can’t hike with anything but a water bottle in my hand so it’s nice to pause my constant attachment to screens and just be with me.

3 - Flowers are great but an act of service may be better.

Yes, I admit that when I come home and see flowers I am genuinely excited and super appreciative of the thought. But when I come home and the floors are cleaned and trash is taken out, I am almost in tears of gratitude. An act of service can be simple. Organizing James’ mail so he doesn’t get overwhelmed is something I know he appreciates more than anything. This doesn’t have to just apply to your partner, it can be towards a co-worker, a family member or friend. Taking something off their plate is a wonderful expression of love, support and proves you not only listen to their concerns and worries, but you’re willing to help out when least expected.

4 - Cook!

This again doesn’t have to be for just your partner and yourself, this could be for the other loves of your life (including pets!). Cooking is a great way to slow down, get a sense of accomplishment and get creative. I’m not asking you to create a 5 course dinner menu but maybe just make something simple from love. Some delicious ideas include;

  • Sriracha lime salmon with sweet potatoes and warm salad
  • Buddha bowls; literally through everything in your refrigerator over a bed of lettuce and call it a day. Some favorites would be pureed black beans with quinoa, arugula and sweet potatoes. Top it off with nutritional yeast, kimchi and sesame seeds!
  • Make charcuterie spread with prosciutto, melon and a sharp cheese. (I never advise you to eat dairy because it’s not great for skin so if you are allergic or sensitive, try a cashew cheese instead).

5 - Remember that this is a day of love so take 10 minutes and journal about all the things you are grateful for.

This could be a morning ritual or in the middle of the day. Either way, writing out what is going well may help you avoid the negative self talk that could isolate you on this hallmark holiday. It can also make you a more present partner if you are in a relationship. This act of journaling could be enough but perhaps you will realize that someone or a few someones are part of the reason you are so grateful. If that’s the case, sending them a simple message of love and gratitude could be exactly what they need to hear that day.

BONUS

If you don’t plan on doing something on Valentine’s Day but know of a pair that could use support so they could enjoy their night, volunteer to help out. This could be as simple as babysitting or pet sitting. Helping someone out will not go unnoticed and it’ll make you feel really good.

So if you’re seeing all the pink and red go up and are dreading the non stop lovey dovey instragram feed on February 14th remember that you can always put your phone day and turn your day around. I'm determined to rename this day the official "self love" day anyways. 

Lots of love your way from my heart to yours! xo - Hayley

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