How to Keep Your Single Self From Being Bitter on Valentine’s Day

As one of the most commercialized American holidays, it’s pretty hard to get away from Valentine’s Day. Red and pink displays filled with heart-shaped chocolate boxes and bunches of roses crowd the majority of grocery store lobbies, making it rather difficult to shop in peace. By popularity February 14 is supposed to be a romantic celebration for couples, so if you’re single, it might not be your favorite day of the year. And it doesn’t have to be! There are ways to survive Valentine’s Day without being a bitter bummer who curses every cute couple walking down the street holding hands, and here’s how:

Treat it just like any other normal day

When you were in elementary school, holidays sometimes didn’t mean much more than getting out from school. Everyone loved President’s Day because it meant a long weekend. While you still had to go to school on Valentine’s Day, you probably gorged yourself on sugary treats at the class party in the afternoon. Just as you didn’t give much significance to the day back then, you can do the same thing now.

Madison*, a sophomore at Stanford University, says, “Some people see Valentine’s Day as just another day in February and there’s no need to make a big deal about it, especially if a person is single.”

Of course, some of your friends might go out partying or taking their SO out on a fun date, but there’s no obligation for you to do the same. Madison believes “the expectation to partake in some sort of festivities is unnecessary,” as no one can make you do anything. You’re an adult (or at least trying to be).

Plus, there are so many other things you could be doing with your time instead of ironically hating on a holiday dedicated to love. It’s a waste of valuable energy that could be spent procrastinating more efficiently. Maybe you’ve been meaning to start that Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix since winter break. It’s possible you might also want to try your hand at a new cookie recipe from Pinterest that your roommate texted you the other day.

Valentine’s Day can just be another day on the calendar if you believe it to be. The choice is completely up to you.

Make it your own and practice self-love

If you’re determined to throw an Anti-Valentine’s Day, at least consider turning it into something beneficial for yourself. In the last few years, incorporating self-love into one’s life and dedicating time to it has become a modern phenomenon.

Setting aside time to make relieve the stress that comes with academic and social drama is more important than many college women realize. There are times when you can – and should be –selfish with your private time to wind down and pamper yourself. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to do so.

“Valentine’s Day is about giving and receiving love,” says Eirene Lo, a sophomore at Temple University. “Especially in this day and age, it is beneficial for all women, in a relationship or not, to practice loving themselves.”

While not everyone has the same self-care rituals, relaxation is often the result of the incorporated activities. Eirene believes the best practices of self-love help you connect to your physical and mental beings.

“Activities may include yoga and meditation, a relaxing bubble bath, journaling, listening to good music, and so much more. [They] do not necessarily need to be an act against the holiday, but merely an alternative as a reminder to love oneself,” she adds.

It’s almost impossible to be bitter about traditional Valentine’s Day when you’re spending time doing all the things you love.

Related: The 20 Stages of Valentine’s Day, As Told by Single Ladies 

Celebrate Galentine’s Day as an alternative

Even though it’s not an official holiday, Galentine’s Day is more than just a Parks and Recreation reference. Leslie Knope’s brunch date with her female friends has become a real celebration of women showing love and appreciation for other women. Some of the most important people in your life are the sisters you never had. Take Valentine’s Day as opportunity to spend time with your girls and thank them for putting up with you all these years.

Liv Brooks, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, says, “I think [Valentine’s Day] can absolutely be about your friends! Most of my friends are single, so we use Valentine's Day as an excuse to have some quality time – drink some wine or maybe try out a new restaurant. My friends are the biggest part of my life at school, so I like that there's a day dedicated to appreciating them.”

And if you know the majority of your friends will be busy on Valentine’s Day, plan a get-together on Galentine’s Day, February 13. Going out and having fun the day before can work in your favor because you can then spend Valentine’s Day pampering yourself. And this way, you’re having you’re not technically participating in any typical romantic affairs without being bitter.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there’s no need to angrily protest against all things romantic and sappy. There are plenty of options to turn the holiday into something that celebrates a variety of relationships. And if you’re still not thrilled about it, the thing to remember is that it only lasts 24 hours. It’ll be over before you know it.

*Name has been changed

Emily Schmidt is a sophomore at Stanford University, studying English and Spanish. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, she quickly fell in love with the Californian sunshine and warm winter temperatures. Emily writes a hodgepodge of pieces from satiric articles for The Stanford Daily to free-verse poetry to historical fiction. Just like her writing repertoire, her collection of hobbies are widely scattered from speed-crocheting to Irish dancing to practicing calligraphy. When she is not writing or reading, Emily can also be found jamming out to Phil Collins or watching her favorite film, 'Belle.'

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