Valentine’s Day is one of those love-it-or-loathe-it holidays, but it’s especially loathsome when you’re newly single. While everyone else seems to be coupled up, you’re plan-less and nursing a broken heart.
There’s no need to dread the Hallmark holiday, though. We’ve gathered 11 ways to make this your best Valentine’s Day yet.
Make a self-care date.
It’s time to take yourself off the back burner. Why not co-opt cupid’s holiday and turn it into a day when you practice self-care? A mani-pedi, a massage, a haircut and shave at your favorite salon ― do whatever makes you feel good and connected with your body, said Damona Hoffman, a dating coach and host of the Dates & Mates podcast.
“Put a date with yourself on the calendar, and do only the things that bring you joy and relaxation,” she told HuffPost. “When you make a commitment to yourself to spend time honoring your needs, it feels far better than staying down in the post-breakup dumps, and it gives you something to look forward to.”
Buy something for yourself.
Give yourself permission to be sad.
We’re not advocating wallowing in your sadness, but there’s definitely some value in recognizing that this is going to be a meh day. As dating coach Samantha Burns pointed out, research shows that when we’re cognizant of our emotions and label them ― especially painful ones ― we’re able to rein them in and distance ourselves from the hurt.
“You don’t need to do anything rash to change or numb your feelings, just observe them kindly without judgment, know they aren’t permanent and that you’re strong enough to make it through this tough day,” she said.
Watch a doc about the science of love and sex.
Instead of considering this a wasted day, give into your doc obsession and watch something on the science of love. Some obvious picks? CNN journalist’s Christiane Amanpour’s “Sex & Love Around the World” or Discovery Channel’s “The Science of Sex Appeal.” There’s also some fascinating TED Talks on the subject, like Helen Fisher’s discussion on the brain on love or Ester Perel’s exploration of why people cheat.
Schedule a group date with your fellow single friends.
Don’t get mopey on your own if you don’t have to. Your ex may be out of the picture, but don’t forget about all the amazing people in your life, many of whom are sans relationship themselves. Invite them over for a home-cooked dinner, go to a movie or just generally chill out, Hoffman suggested.
“The most memorable Valentine’s Days I spent single were enjoyed in the company of good friends,” she said. “I say get a group of singles together, perhaps folks that you might have neglected when you were in a relationship, and celebrate your friendship and yourselves.”
Have a movie marathon featuring your celeb crush.
Now is as good as ever a time to schedule a little quality time with Michael Fassbender, right?
Do some good by volunteering locally.
Use an app like GiveGab to find volunteering opportunities you’re interested in. The cherry on top of charity work? Studies show that volunteering could boost happiness, decrease depression and help you live longer.
Treat yourself to something really, really decadent.
In South Korea, singles partake in Black Day, an annual holiday in April when the not-so-lonely gather in restaurants and drown their sorrows in cheap but delicious bowls of jajangmyeon — a Chinese-Korean noodle dish swimming in chunky black bean sauce and topped with pork and veggies.
Why not do something similar on Valentine’s Day? While all your couple friends are sticking to the prix-fixe Valentine’s Day, give yourself permission to order whatever you damn please, without having to share.
Refresh your look.
New hair, who dis? A new haircut or closet revamp can do wonders after a breakup. Head to your salon and ask the hair dresser for a slightly new look. (Nothing too drastic if you’re in an emotional place right now, though. No need to put yourself through a “Why did I get bangs?” breakdown post-breakup.)
Put your phone away and unplug.
There are plenty of benefits of putting your phone away for a while. You’ll get better sleep without your iPhone buzzing next to your bed during the night, and you’ll be calmer and more focused throughout the day. Research also shows that that signing off from technology over the weekend can help you to focus at work during the week.
On Valentine’s Day, there’s an even better reason to stash your phone away: You won’t be subjected to all those couples photos on Instagram and Facebook.
Do something your ex hated.
Remind yourself that you’re free to do whatever you want, now that you’re single. Did your ex roll his eyes at your budding interest in astrology and crystals? Go to that local crystal shop and get a reading! Did your ex-boyfriend think your interest in Warhammer was weird? Go to that gaming store and throw down. Whatever really speaks to you, now’s the time to do it.