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A contribution from P&S Show Production Assistant, Damara: Valentine’s Day is not unlike every other holiday; completely wrapped around consumerism and anxiety trying to make it perfect. Which, in this case, usually comes down to buying expensive gifts for your boo or sitting at home alone sulking into a pizza. It’s a holiday completely cash grabbed around romance related to a relationship.

As a kid, we would bring a Valentine’s Day card for every single person in the class to be dropped into outrageously decorated handmade boxes each adorned with a different name. I would instantly have 20 cards from friends, crushes, and the wonderful people who surrounded me daily. It wasn’t just an activity, it was a lesson that taught us about love being more than a romantic or partnered relationship, but one we can express to anyone we care about.

Then, in the blink of an eye, we forgot that concept. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, maybe sometime in high school, everyone decided to hate Valentine’s Day. We stopped handing out cards to friends, and instead only hoped for one from a crush. That was the new expectation.

So now as we work, and sleep, and live, February comes around baring a sinking feeling of inadequacy if we aren’t with someone. I want to see that idea change. Valentine’s Day has become my favorite holiday and I know that I feel the best about the holiday when I’ve shown my love and appreciation to those around me and myself. So here’s my list of suggestions to try this February 14th:

1. Make Cards for Friends, Coworkers, or Family.

Cards don’t have to be romantic. Sometimes just writing a small note of appreciation can make someone feel really good. This not only makes you reevaluate your relationships with others (is this friend good for me, can I show them I appreciate that?) but a lot of people hate this holiday and receiving even a card of friendship can shift someone’s mood to being less down on themselves. Being told you are loved and wanted is something we all want to hear.

2. Bake or Buy Something Sweet for the Office.

People love eating on stressful days. Your snack may not be chocolates from a lover, but a sweet treat tends to make people feel a little less on edge during the workday. Also baking something and getting complimented or thanked for it feels really nice too.

3. Indulge!

If there’s a certain food or drink you really enjoy; go get it! How can we love someone else to the nth degree, without first loving the person we should cherish and hold and care for the most… ourselves! For most of us it’s easier to spend money and time on others, but being kind and caring for you? That takes practice. Make Valentine’s Day the first day of the love-yourself-routine.

4.  Set Aside a Day or Night That’s Just for You.

You deserve time with yourself. You deserve time away from everything else. Take time in doing something you enjoy, whether it’s watching a favorite movie, playing video games, rewatching sports highlights, cooking a family recipe, or anything else that brings you joy without anyone else around.

5. Take a Positive Self Evaluation

Look at where you are in life, without thinking about what’s missing or what you wished you had. Look at everything you have now and what you’ve accomplished to get you here. You and you alone have gotten yourself to this moment. You don’t need an award for that, but it is important to be proud of what you are doing.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Valentine’s Day for all intents and purposes has really turned a lot of people sour. It’s easy to feel alone when everything on social media is telling us we should be with someone. But there are things we can do for ourselves to change that feeling. There are so many important people around you, in your life, that love you. It’s okay to show that love back, especially to yourself. So let’s spend this Valentine’s Day doing just that, giving back to ourselves.