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”.

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.

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 everyday 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!

Do you hear the words “Valentine’s Day” and immediately picture fancy dinners and expensive gifts? Don’t set yourself up for failure. Remember that these expectations might be unrealistic not only for your (or your partner’s) budget but also in your personal life. Most importantly, remember that your love does not equate to the amount of money you’re able to spend on your partner.

It’s always fun to see what your friends and family are up to but social media can also take a toll on your mental health. Remember that pictures on social media platforms like Instagram are curated images, not real representations of their daily lives.

Speak to a friend or try writing your feelings down. Coping mechanisms can do us a world of good when implemented correctly. If your feelings of loneliness and/or worthlessness last, consider speaking to someone.

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