Michelle of RecoveryPride.org has some tips for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day if you’re single and dealing with a mental health disorder or in recovery. 

Valentine’s Day (February 14th, just in case you need reminding) is the international holiday of love, although some would argue that it’s just another tactic for selling cards and candy. Only about 50 – 60% of people actually celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even though Valentine’s Day is traditionally viewed as a romantic holiday for couples, statistics have shown that single adults are even more likely to go out and celebrate on Valentine’s Day than couples.

If you’re finding yourself single this year, there’s no reason to be ashamed or feel bad about it. Why not make the most of the “day of love” by celebrating your love for yourself? Being in recovery is the ultimate form of self-love, and the fact that you took this step is something worth celebrating every single day.

If you need some ideas, here’s a quick guide to celebrating Han’s style… Solo, but first, let’s touch on something important.

Stop the glorification

Valentine’s Day is just another day. It’s not that special, so don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed, guilty, or depressed for not being in a relationship this one day of the year. Try to resist the urge to compare yourself to others, especially if you’re newly sober, dealing with a mental health disorder, or are just generally going through a rough period in your life. Remember: things aren’t always what they seem on social media (in fact, try to take a break from social media today). When you feel like you’re missing out on a romantic Valentine’s dinner with your love, remind yourself that many couples choose to celebrate Valentine’s dinner at White Castle. (Some couples have even gotten married at the fast food burger joint known for its “sliders.”) Armed with that handy piece of factual information, go treat yourself to your own Valentine’s dinner at your favorite restaurant instead.

Pamper yourself

Start with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and a box of surprise chocolates (or get creative and purchase one of those edible bouquets of chocolate-covered fruits). Next, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, followed by that massage your shoulders have been craving. Hot stones? Yes, please! Afterward, grab dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. See if your single bestie can meet up, if you’re craving company. Afterwards, enjoy some dessert and maybe even a glass of red wine (or coffee, if that’s more your thing). If you can’t find another single friend to hang out with, your dog will always enjoy your company. Keep in mind that pampering yourself can be done on even the smallest budget. You can treat yourself to a DIY spa experience with a bottle of your favorite scented bubble bath, a candle, and your favorite home-cooked meal. Curl up on the couch and enjoy some uninterrupted reading or find a new series to watch on TV. You can even venture out and enjoy activities on your own such as seeing a movie, hiking, or trying something new such as an art class.

Buy yourself a gift

You don’t need to wait around for someone else to swoop you off your feet and shower you with gifts. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and still treat yourself to the finer things in life – at least on this one day of the year. You deserve it. Who needs an engagement ring or wedding band anyway? Buy yourself a right-hand ring instead to symbolize your inner strength, independence and good fortune in life. If traditional gifts like jewelry, chocolates and flowers aren’t your thing, you can always splurge on that latest gadget you’ve been eyeing.

Whether you’re single, taken, divorced, or anywhere in between… who cares? You’re still awesome! Remind yourself that Valentine’s Day is just another day, regardless of your relationship status, and go out there and enjoy your life.

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