Mental Health on Valentine’s Day

February 12, 2014

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Photo:Grant Cochrane

Chocolate hearts and drug stores decked out in pink and red can only mean that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. While there is no shortage of romance, the holiday can produce more anxiety than bliss for some. There is constant pressure from the media to prove your love for someone through a single day of gifts and grand gestures. Couples often stress over what buy each other and those who do not have a partner are sometimes left feeling alone; hence the term “Single Awareness Day”. But, before you go reaching for that box of Russell Stover, consider these strategies to help you have a fun and relaxing Valentine’s Day!

Despite the romantic environment, you don’t need a special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Your friends, siblings, parents and grandparents all have an influential role in your life. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show appreciation for the people who are important to you the other 364 days a year. Social interactions can have a significant influence on an individual’s mental health and psychological well-being. The close social relationships we develop not only boost our happiness and reduce stress, but drastically increase feelings of self-worth. Make the effort to spend time with them – take them out for a coffee, make them a gift or even a quick phone call to let them know you are thinking of them. These small gestures cost very little, but can be incredibly rewarding and meaningful. So reach out to someone this Valentine’s Day by simply sharing your day with them. You will make them feel special, and you may be surprised at how good you feel as well!

Valentine’s Day can also be the perfect opportunity to unwind and pamper yourself after a long week. Sleep in late, make your favorite dessert or whatever it is that makes you a little less stressed. Use this time to give your body a rest. Constantly being "on" doesn't give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. Be selfish for once, and enjoy time away from every day college stress. It is just as important to love yourself and appreciate your needs as much as it to recognize the other important people in your life!

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