Here at Holé we’re all about the feel-good vibes and of course February means just one thing. Pancakes. We’re kidding, it means two things. Pancakes and of course, Valentine’s Day. Whether you look forward to it and use it as an excuse to get all mushy or you loathe it and think it’s a load of old nonsense, February has become known as the month of love.
Whatever your relationship status, we think February is a great time to show yourself a bit of love. Read on for our tips.
For those enjoying the first flushes of lust in a new relationship or those settled for many years with their significant other, Valentine’s Day can be a great excuse to get all lovey-dovey, to perhaps have a nice meal and spend some quality time with your partner. For those not in a relationship however, Valentine’s Day can throw their single status into even sharper contrast, with the potential to exacerbate feelings of loneliness.
Of course being single and feeling lonely don’t go hand in hand, that certainly isn’t the case, but when it comes to Valentine’s Day, it can make those of us who are single, feel a wee bit lonesome.
It doesn’t matter how close our family is, how large our friendship group or support network is. It doesn’t matter how many beloved pets we have, how much we love our kids or keep ourselves occupied with hobbies, sometimes it’s natural to miss the special kind of closeness that a romantic relationship provides.
Don’t forget too we’ve just made it through 2 very challenging years. The pandemic forced a lot of changes on us, and most of us feel like we survived it and are only now beginning to take stock and feel like we’re safe to come out of survival mode and start living life to the full and thriving again.
So whether you’re in a relationship, newly single or have deliberately chosen the single life, we think Valentine’s Day should be all about celebrating love, regardless of relationship status. Showing ourselves a bit of self-love is a great way to support our wellbeing, so this February, why not make it all about you?
Put yourself first
We all have a multitude of things competing for our time and energy, from deadlines at work to ferrying the kids around to countless after-school activities and everything in between. Sometimes we lurch from one day to the next, feeling shattered, frazzled and like our heads are spinning.
Being busy is one thing, but always rushing around and having 101 things to do can contribute to us generally feeling more anxious, as we’re so keyed up that our nervous systems are never really getting the chance to recover.
Advice to have a bath and read a favourite book is too simplistic and doesn’t go far enough, instead, putting yourself first means truly considering your own needs and making sure you put those needs first, more of the time.
That could mean more often saying no when people ask you for favours or pile you with more pressure at work. Whatever putting yourself first looks like to you, make sure you’re aware and do your best to look after your own needs more often.
Use a kind inner voice
We all know that it’s cool to be kind and many of us make a real effort to treat others with kindness, but we often don’t treat ourselves in the same way.
It’s completely normal to have an inner monologue, but it’s the tone of that voice that matters. Is your inner voice supportive and compassionate or is it more critical and negative? It can be tough to identify the tone of our inner voice as we’ve lived our entire lives with it and probably don’t notice or challenge it all that much.
Clinical psychologist Paul Gilbert, notes though that it is important to notice the balance between compassion and critic because when our inner voice is more critical than it is supportive and compassionate, this can influence our experience of and how we interact with the world.
Try a digital detox
Countless studies have found a clear link between social media use and increases in detrimental mental health, including increased anxiety, depression, loneliness and self- harm.
Social media is inherently addictive, notifications and mechanisms for engaging on social networks means we experience a small spike in dopamine, a feel-good hormone, that keeps us coming back for more. This might seem harmless enough, but online bullying isn’t just something experienced by teenagers or celebrities, abusive comments abounds and bullying, or trolling has become commonplace.
With many people posting heavily edited photos, using beautifying filters and presenting shiny and glamorous lives, it can also lead us to compare ourselves, making us feel like we’re not good enough which can be extremely damaging to mental health.
Doomscrolling is a phenomenon that see’s us spend time exposing ourselves to negative news and opinions. Perhaps knowing all the awful things happening in the world can give some a greater sense of safety and gratitude, but in all probability, it’s more likely to make us feel even worse and can shape the way we feel and even the way we behave in the real world.
Recognise when your online behaviour is compulsive and when being online is serving no real purpose. Breaking the habit can be tough, so if you recognise compulsive social media use in yourself, take some positive steps now.
A total digital detox usually isn’t really possible, we all need our phones and to be connected to the internet for many practical reasons, so instead of doing something radical, why not make a pledge to cut down?
That could mean putting your phone down after a certain time in the evening, or limiting the total amount of time you allow yourself to spend on social media each day. Alternatively you could have a break from posting on social media for a couple of weeks and see how that makes you feel.
A little gift to yourself can really lift your spirits, it could be a bunch of flowers, a little something from a favourite maker on Etsy, spending some time indulging your love of crafting or baking, a new book or just spending a bit of time doing something that you enjoy doing.
It doesn’t have to cost a thing to treat yourself, so get creative and think about all of the little things you like and enjoy that have the power to lift your spirits and make sure you treat yourself!