Each year on Feb. 14, people around the world show their love and affection for those they care about with the exchange of flowers and candy, a romantic dinner, and so on. But because of the pandemic, Valentine’s Day looks different this year. You might not get to see your loved ones in person, and you may have to resort to sharing an e-greeting or a dinner date over Zoom. But aside from the romance of the holiday, you might find yourself feeling like you need a little self-love, too, during these challenging times.
This year, try being your own Valentine and treat yourself to some self-care. Jamie Stephens, coordinator for outreach and peer education for UNCG Recreation and Wellness, shares her top tips for showing yourself some love:
1. Think about what you’re grateful for.
We’re all experiencing various degrees of challenge and distress, and it’s easy to get mired in negativity about things we’re missing out on. While we may have to dig deeper to find it, there remains so much for us to be grateful for. Take a little time to find the good. It may seem too obvious or simple, but just like with everything else, it takes practice. For example, you can write out your ABC’s and think of something to be grateful for that starts with each letter. Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to increase your sense of well-being in life. It helps to lessen anxiety, manage stress, and deal with adversity.
We are all spending considerably more time sitting inside and staring at our screens. Take a moment to tune into yourself and ease some of the tension in your body. Are you clenching your teeth? Try loosening your jaw. Is your neck sore? Slowly look up, down, back, and forth. Try dropping your shoulders away from your ears and rolling the shoulders back and then forward.
3. Show yourself some compassion.
Are you kinder to your friends than you are to yourself? Negative self-talk can take place without you even realizing it. Acknowledge this, and try to be gentle with yourself. Just think: Would you talk to someone you love like that?
4. Give your self-esteem a boost.
What do you love about yourself? Is it your eyes, smile, creativity, or individuality? Is it your generosity, the way you stand up for others, or your uncanny ability to lighten the mood? There is definitely something to love about you! Ask a good friend if you’re stumped.
5. Reach out.
Write a valentine or a letter, and send it! There’s something special about “snail mail” – you feel good sending it out, and you know the recipient feels good getting a piece of correspondence that isn’t a bill or junk mail! Regardless of your relationship with the recipient, you’re going to brighten their day! And this kind of expressive letter writing is good for you, too. It promotes calm creativity and gives you a boost of serotonin, improving your happiness, optimism, and sense of well-being. It’s also an excellent way to practice gratitude. Download a UNCG-themed valentine, or visit the Center for Student Well-Being to pick up a blank card to send – we’ll even provide you with a stamp and a template for addressing the envelope. You can also take the virtual route and tag your special someone on social media using one of our UNCG-themed Valentine’s Day GIFs/animated stickers on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.
Graphic by Jiyoung Park, University Communications