Does Valentine’s Day bum you out?

Maybe you are in a relationship and your partner puts the onus on you to make plans. 

Or maybe you do the same thing every year and it’s getting stale. 

And, if you are not in a relationship, you might feel excluded from the day altogether thanks to every piece of media being centered on relationships. 

I say it’s time to take back Valentine’s Day and make it into something meaningful, fun, exciting, and inclusive. 

To help you do that, today’s episode includes a beautiful three-step ritual you can do to celebrate yourself this Valentine’s Day, whether you are single, partnered, or something else. Ready to make this day a self-love experience? Let’s dive in. 

Prefer the audio? Listen here.

Why I’m Not a Fan of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be fraught with mismatched expectations and unmet needs. For example: 

  • In the past, some of my clients were disappointed with their partners because they did not do or say what was expected or wanted (a lack of communication)
  • There is a disconnect between healthy love and this one day out of the year we are “supposed to” celebrate the ideal of love
  • Valentine’s Day is over-commercialized and exclusionary if you aren’t in a relationship

As a psychotherapist and humanist, I choose to look at it as a day for us to be our own Valentines. 

Of course, if you are in a great relationship and want to celebrate, amazing. Have fun and go all out (or not). But I love the idea of Valentine’s Day as a self-love experience. 

A Note on Love Languages + Communication

By the way, if you are someone who is often disappointed because your partner didn’t do or say something you expected on Valentine’s Day, and you want to celebrate…

Then I encourage you to explore your love languages together so that you can both feel loved and valued in your relationship. 

Is it words of affirmation? Physical touch? Gifts? Acts of service? Quality time? 

Personally, I don’t enjoy gifts, but I love all the other things. Rather than a piece of jewelry or flowers, I would prefer to plan a weekend away or have a nice dinner with my husband because quality time is important to both of us. 

Valentine’s Day Ritual

The focus of this Valentine’s Day self-love ritual is falling madly and deeply in love with yourself, regardless of your connection to other humans. 

The goal isn’t to do this from a bragging or “I’m amazing!” point of view (even though you are amazing). Instead, it is to treat yourself like a beloved. How do you treat the people you love? Can you treat yourself the same way? 

Here are the three steps you can take to create a beautiful self-love experience this Valentine’s Day. 

Step 1: Create a Zen Den

Those of you who follow my work or take my courses know I am into creating designated, external sacred spaces. A zen den is where you can go to meditate, do spiritual work, or gratitude journaling. 

Every morning I go to my zen den, light a candle, get out my essential oil, and meditate.

Live in a small apartment? Create a zen den on your bedside table or in the corner of your bedroom. It does not need to be a huge space, it just needs to feel inviting and comfortable. 

If you have more space, add items you find soothing. My zen den has fairy lights, candles, essential oil, a soft blanket, my journal, and pictures of loved ones. 

I also include an outside element that reflects the season we are in. Since it is winter here, I have tiny branches of an evergreen tree around my candle. In fall, I include leaves, and in summer, I clip flowers from my backyard and place them in a baby vase. These earth elements connect me to my true nature and to Mother Earth, which is important to me (hence why I live in the country!). 

I have a bunch of ideas on how you can create a beautiful, cozy zen den inside the guide right here. 

Step 2: Journal and Dream

The second step of this ritual is to enter your newly established zen den and give yourself intimate time alone to think and journal about how you want to feel and what you deeply desire.

Here is a prompt for you: what things make you feel loved? If you are in a relationship, think about when you feel most loved by your partner. 

You’ll find several more nourishing journal prompts inside the ritual guide, which you can download here. 

Step 3: Plan a Gift For Yourself

If you are single or in a non-traditional relationship on Valentine’s Day, it might feel like you’ve been excommunicated from the entire experience. I invite you to put your stake in the ground around self-love, your worthiness, and what you deserve in life by planning a gift for yourself.

Here’s the thing: what we think we deserve tends to be what we attract, and certainly what we tolerate. 

When is the last time you did something for yourself? Or bought something for yourself?

If you are struggling to remember, you are not alone. Many of us don’t do things for ourselves because it doesn’t feel worthwhile. This is especially true if you are a high-functioning codependent or codependent. You might find it easier to do something for your partner or a friend because the inclusion of someone else makes it feel worthwhile. 

I want you to change your lens and look at it from this perspective: YOU are worth doing it for. 

Holding onto this affirmation, what feel-good gift ideas come to mind? 

These gifts don’t have to be expensive. This isn’t about money. This is about spending the most valuable coin you have, which is your time and attention, on yourself.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner. Dine out alone, order in, or create a beautiful meal from scratch. Just for you. Take out a nice tablecloth, use nice cutlery or plates (if you have them), light a candle, or put a little flower in a vase to make it extra special.

Take a luxurious soak in a bathtub. Light candles, play your favorite music, have a glass of wine or a cup of tea, put essential oil or beautiful flowers in there – whatever makes you feel like the royalty you are. Take your time. Read a book, close your eyes, or meditate. I prefer taking a bath by candlelight as I find it incredibly relaxing and restoring. 

Get a mani-pedi. Do it yourself or go to a salon. 

If gifts are your thing, buy yourself a meaningful piece of jewelry. Think about how you want to feel (gorgeous/sexy/comfortable/cozy), and buy an outfit to inspire this feeling. Buy yourself a plant (or add to your existing collection, if you’re like me). 

Try a new experience like a dance class or a groovy fitness class. Get a mini trampoline (I highly recommend it). Do something different and invite yourself to expand. Think of something you’ve always wanted to learn or do. Buy yourself lessons or take a DIY approach with YouTube tutorials. The point is to carve out time – put it in your calendar and actually do it. 

Plan a solo R+R trip for yourself. Maybe go to the spa for a day if you can afford to do so, or take a weekend away at a beautiful nearby B&B. If cost is a concern, plan a staycation as though you were a tourist in your own city. What nearby well-known destinations have you never visited? 

Plan a virtual or in-person get-together with people who fill your cup. 

Take a tech break. Power off your devices and give yourself the freedom to be in the present moment, whether you spend time in your zen den, take a luxurious bath, or immerse yourself in a book. 

I’m curious: how do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Will you give this sacred ritual a try? What self-love gift resonates with you? Did you create a zen den? Tag me on Instagram @terricole and show or tell me what you did. Remember to download the ritual guide here.

I hope you have an amazing week planning something beautiful for yourself, and as always, take care of you.

as always, take care of you.

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