Ah, February. The time of year when the bitter cold is either blanketed by the warm love of Valentine's Day, or perhaps more realistically, fiercely amplified without one to call your valentine. For my fellow single pringles — no moping. It's time to pursue self-love, give yourself grace and indulge in all of the things that celebrate you. Here are a few ways to treat yourself when the holiday rolls around next week.
1. Lights, camera, action — screen a rom-com
While rom-coms are wholesome, feel-good nuggets year-round, they resonate the most on the holiday of love. Nuke that Orville Redenbacher popcorn, don your most comfortable pajamas and turn on a romance like “When Harry Met Sally.” Don’t go lamenting the woes of your own love life while watching — rather, adore the beautiful bond between the protagonists and admonish the rapscallion cheater. Remember, these movies are scripted to make you wish you had the kind of love shown on screen. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy what was designed to make you love love.
2. Treat yourself to dinner out
This Valentine's Day, ditch your typical Wednesday night dinner. Hit up your favorite Charlottesville restaurant or take yourself somewhere you wish a date would take you. Be your own best company or venture out with friends. Take on the roles of both Lady and the Tramp and do it up — and don’t leave before giving the dessert menu a glance. I’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with dinner at The Ridley, taking in the comfortable, laid back atmosphere and ordering my favorite, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.
3. You can buy yourself flowers
Did I include this top 10 item just to make a Miley Cyrus reference? No — flowers were always going to make the list. Celebrate your beauty, inside and out, by gifting yourself a bouquet and finding the perfect place to show it off at home. Dorm rooms make this a little tricky, but whether on a windowsill or bedside table, some vibrant, fresh smelling flowers can serve as a physical manifestation of how you see your soul. I’ll be checking out Fiori Floral Studio or The Dogwood Tree for some arrangements before the V-Day rush.
4. Bring the outside inside
Keeping with the nature theme, put your love into another life this February 14th — a succulent. These plants are the perfect size for a college dorm and are fairly low-maintenance. The vibrant, natural presence of succulents will brighten up your living space and bring a fresh change to your outlook on life. Tending to a living plant — watering, pruning and providing ample sunlight — can help you reflect on the ways you care for yourself. Make time before the holiday to take a peak at Lowe’s for some nice options.
5. Pen positive affirmations
How many times have we replied to posts, whether they be academic on U.Va. Canvas or social on Instagram, and praised the analyses or successes of others? Time to flip that admiration around and write your own replies, or rather, some self-affirmations. Take some time this Valentine’s Day to write some positive thoughts about yourself, to yourself. Reflect on your proudest qualities and accomplishments and rightfully pat yourself on the back. This year, I think I’ll write about my drive, compassion, humor … and unmistakable humility.
6. Keep good company
Though our immediate thoughts of Valentine’s Day are likely related to romantic love, February 14th celebrates love in all forms, including friendship. Plan a Gal-entine’s or Pal-entine’s celebration to show your friends how important they are to you. Stay in and enjoy a game night or karaoke, or enjoy an evening out on the town. Celebrations don’t have to involve large groups of people — hanging out even with just one or two friends, which is my personal preference, is a great mood-boosting way to spend the holiday, catching up with your buds and sharing laughter.
7. Exfoliate, rinse, repeat
Self-care is a critical component of everyone’s emotional and physical well being. Enjoy a mid-week reset by indulging in a spa night. Break out your robe, prepare those cucumber slices and rest in the most comfortable seat you’ve got — lounge chair, bean bag or bed if you’re so inclined. Practice mindfulness and focus on the moment while letting the stress drift away. If spa treatments are not your thing, consider visiting the newly renovated University Chapel for some peaceful reflection.
8. Curate the perfect happy song playlist
Nothing is better than a steady pulse to carry you through the day. Keep on brand in your music selections this Valentine’s Day — elect for meaningful songs that will spark passion and kindle joy. A playlist that keeps your head bobbing, your voice box humming and your body grooving will provide the best Valentine’s Day soundtrack. I’ll probably queue up some ‘80s goodies from Journey and REO Speedwagon.
9. Hand-deliver cards and candy grams
Nothing says “I love you” more than going out of your way to show your appreciation for your friends in person. Seek out the best cards at the U.Va. Bookstore or CVS — unless you’re a committed hand-made card creator, and for that, I commend you — and put pen to paper to share what you love about your friendship. If you want to involve some sweets, share a shorter message through a candy gram. Your hand might hurt by the end, but handing cards to friends will be worth it.
10. Start that long-awaited project or book
We all have that one thing — or laundry list of things — we want to do, but cannot ever seem to find the time for. Whether it’s digging into a good book, starting an art project or trying out a new recipe, carve out some time this Valentine’s Day to put that long-awaited bucket list item into action. Making time for a personal project can bring immense fulfillment by sparking old interests or enabling you to learn something completely new. I plan to continue reading “The Bourne Identity.” After starting on February 14th, you may just be inspired to incorporate time into your regular schedule to keep the ball rolling and focus on you.