Valentine’s Day is upon us, and few things send single women running for the Ben & Jerry’s faster than the thought of spending another February 14th alone. From the obnoxious singing gorillas in silk boxers (I mean, c’mon, what self-respecting man—or ape—still wears silk boxers?!?) that assault our ears at Walgreens to the over-saturation of, “I love my hubby soooooooo much!” posts that wage war on our Facebook feeds… Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is not an equal opportunity holiday.
That’s why I wanted to flip the script a little bit this year and provide single ladies everywhere with a little positive motivation in case you happen to be feeling like one, is in fact, the loneliest number. Consider this: If Valentine’s Day is the “Holiday of Love,” isn’t this the perfect time to love yourself a little more fiercely? To remind yourself of how strong, and spirited, and independent you are? To celebrate yourself and your life a little? To take a moment to appreciate and honor all the different kinds of love you have in your life instead of focusing on the one kind you don’t have?
Or, in other words: Without a bae this Valentine’s Day? Live it up anyway!
But how? You might ask, as you gaze wearily at the aisles upon aisles of gargantuan stuffed teddy bears and monster-sized boxes of heart-shaped candy at the supermarket. (Is it just me or does Valentine’s Day get more and more extra every year?) Well, let’s start with what NOT to do.
1. Step away from the sappy rom-coms and love ballads.
I’m sorry, Ed Sheeran and Ryan Gosling, but thank u, next. I’m all about a good chick flick, but there are 364 other days in the year to Notebook ourselves. Instead of watching or listening to things that make you feel sentimental and sad, how about amping up the girl power mojo? Brush off your box set of Sex & the City (or binge the whole series on your streaming service of choice) or rock out to Beyonce’s Lemonade. Nothing gets me feeling more like the badass, strong, empowered woman that I am than basking in the glow of other badass, strong, empowered women.
2. Absolutely positively NO TEXTING YOUR EX!
Here’s the thing, he’s your ex for a reason. Don’t let the misty water-colored haze of Valentine’s Day become beer goggles. When you’re tempted to only remember him as a wonderful, adorable, romantic prince (for example, last Valentine’s Day my ex got me a dozen purple roses—because he knew it was my favorite color—and a bracelet inscribed with the GPS coordinates of the location of our first kiss) remind yourself of the big, croaking, warty toad he was capable of morphing into. (Less than a month later, that same ex broke up with me in a ten-minute long phone conversation.) Come tomorrow, Valentine’s Day will be a thing of the past. Let your ex remain that way, too. There’s no need to open the door to someone today who you’ll regret inviting back into your life tomorrow.
3. Don’t isolate yourself.
If you don’t feel like going out and partying it up, don’t. Believe me, I get it. Netflix is my middle name. But don’t sit at home alone all night feeling sorry for yourself, either. Invite some girlfriends over to watch a movie. (I can’t recommend the movie Girls Trip enough for a girls night in. You will laugh your socks off.) Or get out and do something social. The movie Dirty Dancing is coming back to theaters for its 32nd anniversary and a group of girlfriends and I are going to have a girls night and go see it on February 13th because nobody puts Mandy in a corner—even on Valentine’s Day. (Side note: I am low key obsessed with this film and have been my entire life. I even write about my pilgrimage to go stay at the resort where the movie was filmed in my latest book You Are Enough.) Does this not count as a sappy rom-com, you might be asking? No. Because if anybody embodies the spirit of a badass, strong, empowered woman who breaks all the rules to follow her heart and shake her booty, it’s Baby Howseman.
Okay, we’ve covered what NOT to do. Now let’s talk about what TO do in order to live your best life on Valentine’s Day.
4. Do something that day that lights you up inside.
Again, if love is what this holiday was created to celebrate, then what better way to do that than by doing something you love? For me, it’s dancing. I LOVE to dance. I always have. I recently got back into ballroom dancing and I’m having an absolute blast. The dance studio where I take lessons is having a dance party that night, so I’m grabbing a group of single ladies and we are going to go get our groove back on the dance floor. The waltz makes me feel like a graceful princess and the chacha make me feel like a sassy vixen, so it’s a win/win. Remember, when in doubt, dance it out! (Paint it out, run it out, sing it out, read it out… you get the point.)
5. Don’t be afraid to take a little social media break.
If all the cheesy, over-the-top declarations of love from your taken friends starts getting you down, then shut it down. It’s perfectly okay and even healthy to unplug from time to time. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat will still be there tomorrow.
6. Remember to celebrate all the love you do have in your life.
Instead of focusing on the love you don’t have, think about everything else you’re grateful for. Your friends. Your family. Your co-workers. Your church. Your pets. Love of self. Your faith. There are soooooooo many beautiful kinds of love so why let the lack of romantic love in your life blind you to that fact? Plus, when you focus on the things and people you love, the great big bonus of that is that you tend to attract even more things you love into your life—and who’s to say that doesn’t include a soulmate?
So here’s to not just surviving this Valentine’s Day, but THRIVING! Valentine’s Day, no matter how disappointing or anxiety-inducing or depressing it may be, is just one day out of the year. Regardless of what goes down on February 14th, the beautiful guarantee about life is that February 15th is going to come. And guess what comes with it? Half-off everything on the Valentine’s candy aisle at Walgreens. I can’t think of a better gift this holiday gives us than that.