A Single Person’s Guide to V-Day
JACQUELINE ALWILL – nutritionist, personal trainer and founder of whole foods catering company The Brown Paper Bag, has figured out the best ways to make February 14 a lovely day, even if you’re not in love.
Valentine’s Day can a be a tricky (slash challenging) time when flying solo. Having done years of them myself, I feel I know the experience pretty well. Whilst your people will try to reassure you, brushing the idea, saying “it’s just another day”, it doesn’t necessarily feel like another ‘day’ when surrounded by others receiving flowers, chocolate and seeing PDA’s left right and centre.
So instead of completely detesting sweet Valentine’s, what’s the best approach for enjoying the day of love… just for you?
Make a commitment to be kind to yourself.
Not just on Valentine’s Day, ideally always; but let’s start here for now. Being kind to ourselves is so important for our health on so many levels – mental, emotional and physical. When we let that destructive internal voice take over, we feel pretty rotten too, and often let that cycle of berating ourselves and feeling terrible hit repeat. This could be in the form of emotional eating, numbing the pain with alcohol or drugs, or over-exercising just to start. As we move into that cycle it continues until we decide to change the way we think, perceive and believe. And that starts with how we commit our minds to being kind and gentle within. Start slowly with this if it’s new to you. Write a little note and tell yourself three great things about yourself this Valentine’s Day and go from there. Kindness fuels a much happier cycle of wellbeing.
Indulge in your health.
Try to avoid indulging in chocolate, wine, sugar and things that can make you feel worse, and instead indulge in the things that make you feel great. Good health is about how you feel. How you might look as a result of good health honestly is just a bonus. Make the time to sit and enjoy a delicious nourishing meal, take a dip in the ocean and have a walk in the fresh air, book in for a massage, facial or whatever treatment floats your boat. But be indulgent in the way you care for yourself.
Tune into what is going on with your emotions and let them sit before pushing them away or further down inside you. If sadness comes up, be present with it, then ever so softly let it go, but try not to bury it. There’s a reason emotions come up and the more presently we decide to deal with them, the easier it is. In the past when I felt V-Day was more like Doomsday, I would question why I was single and more specifically I suppose, ‘why am I not loveable?’ I’ve no doubt that goes through the minds of lots of single people and is a reflection not only of lack of kindness within, but also the inability to see that at that point in our life there is a need to be single. Those times were when I found space to forgive, heal and grow. It’s important to be present with these things, so make the time to do so.
Clear space and make room for the new.
This can go a number of ways, but for the sake of taking catharsis into the physical sphere, clear out some of the clutter surrounding you. Focus on having within your home, work and life only things that you truly value. Those items that absolutely bring you joy. When you start asking this question you will find so many objects that perhaps do not bring you the happiness you thought they would, and in the process of passing them onto a charity or someone who may need or enjoy them more, that is where you find the joy. With this clearance you allow space, for new ways of thinking and being.
Surround yourself with good energy.
Following on from the physical clearance of objects surrounding you, go with searching for the energy that makes you happiest too. Good friends who make you laugh, who inspire you, who lift you up but who also allow you the space to be vulnerable when you need to.
Extend your love.
…by doing a small act of kindness. Perhaps you’re in a good space with being on your own, or maybe that’s not how you feel right in this moment – either way, extending warmth and kindness to others gives you the fuzzies inside, which is such a beautiful sensation. This could be as simple as writing a note to your bestie, leaving a surprise gift of something delicious on their doorstep, helping a stranger or even (and especially in this era of technology consumption) putting your phone away as you walk the streets and sit in cafes, connecting with someone and giving them a compliment.
Allow yourself a good night of sleep.
It’s a simple one right? Yet something so many of us truly deprive our bodies of and as a result kick into the cycle of what I like to call ‘tired, feel bad, look bad, eat bad, repeat’. Good rest is vital for restoring the body, for the production of hormones that actually make us happy, for growth and repair and the obvious, for ensuring our energy is delightfully balanced throughout the day. Commit this Valentine’s Day to making a change to that, take a bath or a heavenly long shower, pop fresh sheets on the bed, switch off distractions, jump in and drift into a heavenly nourishing slumber.
Jacqueline Alwill is a qualified, practicing nutritionist, personal trainer, whole foods cook, founder and director of The Brown Paper Bag Nutrition. She is passionately committed to improving the health, wellbeing and happiness of all individuals.