Dancing with myself

A guide to your date-free Valentine’s day

NATASHA JONES // CONTRIBUTOR

Having ridin’ solo my entire life, I’ve learned to enjoy the ups and downs. The road however, isn’t always smooth and sometimes the single life can downright suck — especially on a day like Valentine’s Day. The romantic holiday typically tends to put a lot of pressure on us single people, almost to the point of making outcasts out of us. While spending the day alone may not be ideal, embracing me-time is something a lot of us could use more practice of.

Sweat it out

Last Valentine’s, I went to the gym. I remember running on the treadmill like a maniac, cranking up the speed and incline levels to the maximum, as I wiped off sweat and listened to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.

Exercise makes us physically and mentally stronger and according to the Huffington Post’s “13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise,” working out for just a half hour sporadically throughout the week can instantly boost our moods overall. Exercise shouldn’t be tedious and agonizing. Forget about losing weight and counting calories. If you’re home alone, get up and dance. When you choose to be active, your body and mind will thank you.

Get up off of that thing

Something we don’t talk about much is just how advantageous the single life really is. One of the plus sides to not having that special someone is having the extra time to set aside for friends and family. Maintaining strong friendships largely contributes to our well being, while loneliness, on the other hand, increases our likelihood of developing a mental illness. This Valentine’s Day, throw a party or small get together for your fellow single friends. Drink some wine and watch a movie. Dates can be stressful – and you’re saving yourself a lot of stress by spending the evening relaxing with friends.

Pleasure pastimes

If you could get into a relationship tomorrow, is there anything that you would regret not doing? Or for those of you who have been in relationships, was there anything you missed doing from when you were single? Maybe it’s an old hobby you brushed aside, or a project that you started and never finished.

If there was one thing I missed about high school, it would be art class. It was a place where I truly felt accepted for who I was. My friends and I practically inhabited the old leather couch. The only time we got up was to go buy food and we would return from the cafeteria with smug expressions on our faces, chocolate chip cookies in hand and talking about our crushes. I had some great times in the art room, but ironically enough, I hardly ever painted, and that’s something I regret to this day. I can’t help but think about all the things I could have accomplished if I had just spent less time talking about boys.

When we tap into a creative hobby, we become so absorbed and enraptured, that we forget about the world around us: this is what psychologists refer to as “flow.” In Psychology Today’s “Finding Flow”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi stated that flow transcends happiness, “It is the full involvement of flow, rather than happiness that makes for excellence in life. We can be happy experiencing the passive pleasure of a rested body, warm sunshine, or the contentment of a serene relationship, but this kind of happiness is dependent on favourable external circumstances. The happiness that follows flow is of our own making, and it leads to increasing complexity and growth in consciousness.”

Love thyself

If we talked to others the way we did towards ourselves, I doubt many would want to stick around. Loving yourself isn’t an act of selfishness, it’s simply understanding that you deserve the very same love you give to others.

Self love takes shape in many forms and means something different for everyone. It doesn’t necessarily involve dropping a lot of cash or giving yourself a makeover. It might be exploring someplace new or going to that restaurant you’ve always wanted to check out but were too wrapped up in your dating life to do so.

Perhaps Valentine’s Day to you is nothing but a reminder that you’re single. But being single doesn’t have to be a negative chip on your shoulder unless you make it so. This could be the perfect opportunity for self growth and understanding. Just because you’re single now doesn’t mean that it will be that way forever – we have no control over who we fall in love with or when, but how we choose to treat ourselves at this moment is entirely up to us.

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