I have a confession to make: This is the first Valentine’s Day in a decade that I’m totally, completely, no-prospects-in-sight single. Last summer, I finally put the nail in the coffin of a decade-long on-and-off relationship and called it quits for good. While spending the lovebird-focused holiday single doesn’t quite feel natural to me (hey, I’m a creature of habit, and I was coupled up for the last 10 of ’em), I’ve resolved to make the best single Valentine’s Day for celebrating the most important person in my life: myself.
I consulted dietitians, fitness experts, and health coaches, to identify the best way to spend a solo Valentine’s Day. To host your own self-love fest, party of one, check out all the intel below.
1. The best single Valentine’s Day starts with mindfulness
A mindfulness practice can manifest the feelings of love and support you want to channel. “A meditation class can be a great way to foster gratitude, openness, and love on Valentine’s Day—not get bogged down by feelings of loneliness or scarcity,” says healthy-lifestyle expert Natasha Uspensky.
If you prefer to preserve your homebody status, just try starting the day with a few deep breaths and positive intentions. Doing so can help you channel feelings of love and support for yourself.
2. Eat mood-boosting foods
One way to reclaim Valentine’s Day is to cook for yourself at home. “As far as I’m concerned, who would even want to go out for an overpriced, gimmicky meal?” says registered dietitian Lauren Slayton. She recommends pairing Banza chickpea pasta and sweet potato for hormone balance and boosting your mood with omega-3-rich options like salmon and shrimp. And melted dark chocolate for fondue…to also boost your mood (how could it not?). “Also, be sure to plate it beautifully,” she says. Doing so will make the occasion feel more special.
While Valentine’s Day can be hard if you, say, just broke up with someone, getting in touch with your feelings—in a way you might not in your day-to-day life—can help.
“I want everyone, no matter what their relationship status is, to know that they are enough, and to know that they are worthy,” says sports nutritionist and personal trainer Sierra Nielsen. “Being in a relationship has nothing to do with either. And sometimes, like in my case, not being in a relationship means you took a necessary step to remove yourself from something that wasn’t healthy or wasn’t right for you.”
By letting go of the notion that there’s something wrong with you and accepting who you truly are, you can cultivate the feelings you want to experience every day—Valentine’s or not.
Obviously, working out releases endorphins, which make you happy. Whether its Pilates, boxing, spinning, or simply taking a long walk, be sure to do something that works for you.
“Empower yourself with a workout that makes you feel like a badass. Nothing feels better than knowing you can take care of yourself.” —Ashley Borden, celebrity trainer
“Empower yourself with a workout that makes you feel like a badass,” says celebrity trainer Ashley Borden, who adds that the human interaction that comes with a fitness-class environment can be uplifting, even if you’re not chatting with others. “Nothing feels better than knowing you can take care of yourself.”
5. Make sure you have room for self care every single day
Valentine’s Day can certainly serve as an excuse for pampering yourself, but Monica Berg, author of self-help book Fear is Not an Option, believes you shouldn’t need a special reason—or singular calendar date—to do it. “I think we all fall victim to assigning joy and excitement to experience fully on specific days,” she says. She suggests every day doing something you love but usually never make a priority. Maybe that’s writing in a journal, checking out a new restaurant or exhibit, or simply buying something small you had your eye on. “More than anything, cultivate gratitude and appreciation for the fact that you can do anything you want, any time you want, without apology or compromise,” she says.
6. Spend some time with your pals
If you need to get out of the house and hang with somebody, why not make it your closest friends? Spending some time with people who gas you up is the best way to really celebrate love—what the day is about—without focusing solely on the romantic kind.
“There’s no point in getting yourself down on Valentine’s day when you’re already surrounded by so much love,” says Nielsen.
7. Um, love yourself. Duh.
You can have a great day, the frisky way—no S.O. necessary. “No one said you need a partner to feel sexy and get your rocks off!” says Uspensky. “Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for some self-pleasuring,” says Uspensky. “No one knows your body like you do.”
Originally posted February 14, 2019; updated October 21, 2019
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