With more single people in the UK than ever before, Valentine’s Day can seem like a day you’d rather avoid if you are without a beau. The origin of the day dates back to the Middle Ages and is officially a celebration of ‘romantic’ love, but how can single Belles really embrace and enjoy it, other than sending Hallmark-encouraged secret Valentine’s cards to George, who sits at the desk opposite? Well psychologist and Belle contributor Rachel MacLynn suggests that it it’s time to give it a more modern twist and follow the traditions of many countries around the world that give it a more generic meaning. ‘In Finland, Valentine’s Day means ‘Friend’s Day’ and is based around remembering friends and similar traditions are found in Estonia and some Latin American countries,’ she says.
So, this year, Rachel shows us that rather than hunt out an ‘anti-Valentine’s party’ and snarl at every card-shop window, get involved by showing love in a more generic way. Get right back to basics: strip away the chocolates, roses and bland set menus and fluffy pink cards and remember what is really important… LOVE!
1. Love yourself
We could all do with loving ourselves a bit more. Psychological studies have shown that you can make yourself happier (and therefore increased self-esteem and self-love) by writing down 3 things that went well that day just before you go to bed. It helps clear your mind of negative clutter and give you a sense of fulfilment. But you have to actually write it, not just think it!
2. Love your friends
One great thing about being single is being able to spend more time with your friends. Combine the two and have a night out on the 14th with the girls. Keep your eyes open for any groups of guys – who are guaranteed to be single! Rather than cry into your glass of wine, have fun and flirt! All men look for women who look like they’re having fun and it makes you more approachable.
3. Love your family
We’ve had over one month since Christmas of hibernating through the cold dark nights, leading to many of us having a lapse of contact with our families. Why not contact your parents or siblings to let them know you love them?
4. Love those in need
The economic crisis has instigated a boost in support for many charities. Why? Because helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. So this Valentine’s, why not spend the money you would have otherwise put towards a card and gift, and donate it to charity? Or volunteer at a homeless shelter?
5. Love your wardrobe
If charity isn’t quite your bag, then Valentine’s is a good excuse to splash out on yourself and make yourself feel a million dollars. Treat yourself to those killer heels. After enduring a month of relentless sales, detoxing and budgeting, it’s time to throw caution to the wind once more!
By Rachel MacLynn
[picture credits: rebecca anne]