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Make your Valentines Day a Great One

Valentines Day is a day typically characterized by stuffed bears, boxes of chocolate, the color red, and, of course, a significant other. The pressure is on. What are you going to get her? Will he like this? Are you dating anyone? The questions never cease to end and the stress builds until we can no longer stand it. As a result, we often feel beat down and bitter. How can a holiday about love make us experience so much dread? We then find ourselves coming down with a bad case of the holiday blues and decide to spend the day lying in bed.

So then, what really is Valentines Day? Is it really about the gifts, candy, and whether or not we are dating someone? No, it is not. February 14th is about appreciating and loving what you have in your life, and expressing your feelings towards whatever it is that makes you happy. Your mom, dad, sibling, grandparent, best friend, cat, dog, neighbor, teacher, and significant other are all included. From this point on, do not belittle yourself because you are not in a relationship. Instead, think about those who you love and who love you back.

Take a moment to turn off your television. Forget about the sappy commercials and cheesy Lifetime movies. Ignore the online ads and last minute deals at the mall. All of that is insignificant. Here are some possible ways to celebrate today:

  • Grab your phone and call up your valentine. If you haven’t talked to them in a while, it is fine. Let them know you are thinking about them today and that they have made an impact on your life.
  • Make a card, write a letter, or compose a poem. Do not waste your energy and money on buying more things from the store. Say how you really feel and do not hold back.
  • Get together and throw a party. Valentines day does not have to be about going out on dates. Have your friends and family come together and have everyone bring their favorite dish. More people can enjoy a potluck meal than a box of chocolates!
  • Leave the house and go an adventure. Go on a hike, try ice-skating, or visit a museum. People who spend money or time doing activities together rather than exchanging gifts feel a greater level of satisfaction and form stronger connections.
  • Finally, do something that you are passionate about. Why spend the day doing activities that bore you? Find your spark and make this holiday worthwhile. Blast your favorite song, dance in your room, and dress up. Make it special for you.

Valentines Day is important: it allows us to express our feelings when we otherwise may not. We tell others that we love and appreciate them, but there is a key component that we often leave out: ourselves. Recognize your self worth and take time to appreciate who you are and why you are special. Love is a relationship; it involves both the receiver and the sender. Do not neglect to make yourself happy. Mental illness adds difficulty to our daily lives and clouds self-perception and self-worth. Just because you are dealing with an illness it does not mean you cannot love yourself.

Spread the love, light up the room with a smile, and make this Valentines Day a great one.

Love,

Meg and everyone at NAMI and Strength Of Us