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3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself on Valentine’s Day

Last updated: February 7, 2023

Take the love theme, but focus on your love of friends, family, pets, volunteering, nature and yourself. This way the day becomes what you want it to be, and you can decide what a successful Valentine’s Day is.

Gregg Brewer, mental health clinician, ThedaCare Behavioral Health

It’s easy for feelings of grief and loneliness to pop up around Valentine’s Day — especially as brands launch love-themed campaigns and people flood social media expressing devotion to their partners.

Over 31% of American adults are single, so you’re not alone if the “day of love” gets you down. But being single isn’t the only reason people experience negative feelings on Valentine’s Day. 

“Holidays like Valentine’s Day tend to further intensify behavioral health issues,” says Gregg Brewer, a Mental Health Clinician with ThedaCare Behavioral Health. “For those who have dealt with a recent loss, like divorce or death, their loss may be intensified. Others may be acutely aware of the lack of healthy relationships since everything around them is focusing on relationships.”

People who struggle with mental health conditions or substance use disorder are even more vulnerable because negative feelings like grief and loneliness may increase the risk for relapse or a mental health crisis.

If Valentine’s Day makes you blue, there are plenty of things you can do to distract yourself from this lovey-dovey holiday and reclaim it as a day to show yourself some loving care. 

Spend time with friends and family

There aren’t any rules about celebrating Valentine’s Day. Many people choose to dote on their loved ones, and not just romantic partners. You can express love and gratitude to anyone you hold dear, including parents, children, siblings and friends. 

“Despite Valentine’s Day being primarily a partner-driven theme, there is no reason that you can’t express love and spend time with others who are important to you,” says Vince Long, a Substance Use Disorder Counselor with ThedaCare Behavioral Health. 

Brewer agrees. “Take the love theme, but focus on your love of friends, family, pets, volunteering, nature and yourself. This way, the day becomes what you want it to be, and you can decide what a successful Valentine’s Day is.”

Practice self-care

If you know that Valentine’s Day is an emotional time of year for you, planning a day of self-care can help take your mind off of it. Spend time loving yourself by doing the things you know you need and the activities you enjoy. You might try:

  • Taking a hot bath or shower
  • Doing a DIY spa day
  • Cooking or ordering your favorite meal
  • Watching a favorite movie
  • Playing games
  • Reading a book 
  • Taking a walk
  • Running errands that you’ve been putting off

The idea is to keep yourself busy while also being productive.

“Understanding what your triggers are and strategizing ways to avoid or cope with them before they happen is crucial,” Long says.

Reach out for support

You may have a hard time coping with Valentine’s Day blues, even with support from friends and family. Don’t struggle with your feelings alone. Brewer says you should seek support if you’re experiencing worrisome symptoms like sleep or appetite changes, a decrease in hygiene, or violent thoughts. 

Group therapy is a great resource for support from both mental health specialists and peers who are experiencing similar struggles like depression, substance use disorder or other mental health conditions.

It can be healing to share your thoughts and experiences in group therapy. Everyone gives and takes in the group, giving all group members the opportunity to learn and grow together. 

To inquire about group therapy and other care options, call (920) 720-2300.

Get mental health support without an appointment

If Valentine’s Day sneaks up and you need some support, ThedaCare has a walk-in behavioral health clinic where you can get immediate help without an appointment. It offers a resource to those who can’t wait for a spot to open with a therapist or psychiatrist. Care is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“The providers at the ThedaCare Behavioral Health Walk-In Care will talk with you about your concerns, provide information to help address these issues, offer short-term counseling if indicated, and make referrals to other individuals who can provide care,” Brewer says. 

Tags: anxiety behavioral health depression Gregg Brewer Grief Mental Health self-care Substance Use Disorder Valentine’s Day Vince Long

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