Valentine’s Day. Just seeing the phrase sets off a panic button for men and women alike. When you’re single, this can be a holiday full of expectations, excitement, disappointments, stress, and exhilaration all at once. Valentine’s Day can be a very upsetting day or even week. Even though we don’t live in Victorian times, when if you weren’t married by age 25 you were an old spinster, it’s still generally expected that you should be dating, in a solid relationship, or married by most cultures and religions.

Rather than allowing yourself to feel upset at the lack of a ‘someone special’ to share the holiday with, find a way to share with others who are in the same boat. Get together with a couple of girlfriends who are single and make a night of it. Grab a favorite comedy movie, set out a couple of trays of hors d’oeuvres, open some wine, and make it a fun girl’s night. Buy a few face mask packets, grab some nail polish with toe holders, and a few towels for pedicures. You might even want to go to a local beauty store and get some washable hair color—the sky is the limit! Make sure to have lots of chocolate and you might even want to buy a rose for each friend to take home in a vase. Trust me, everyone loves flowers and the thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

If you have friends who like to craft, you can purchase a bunch of wine glasses from the local dollar store and some oil-based Sharpie markers for everyone to decorate wine glasses to take home. You can buy Styrofoam wreaths, a few glue guns and glue sticks, and a bunch of fake flowers and have a Spring wreath-making session. You can purchase a 5 lb. bag of flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and a variety of chocolate and other chips and have a cookie-making night. There’s no rule that says you can’t throw in some wine and dinner as well. Maybe ask each person to bring a small snack or dessert. Keeping busy and making something fun will keep your minds off anything negative and everyone will go home with something beautiful to remember a special evening with friends.

If you have a lot of single friends of both sexes, you may want to host a single’s dinner party with a theme. You can make it pot luck and have everyone bring their favorite dish, or settle on a cultural theme such as Mexican, Asian, or Italian. Decorate and make little gift bags of silly things from the dollar store to send home with people just for laughs. Keep in mind that others are feeling sad and need a pick-me-up as much as you do. You may be surprised and find that doing something for others to make them feel better makes you feel better as well.

You may want to embrace the Black Valentine’s Day of South Korea and just have a special day for yourself. Schedule a massage or facial. Get your eyebrows waxed. Find a local reflexologist and have your feet massaged and pampered. Light one of those aromatherapy candles. Order some take-out or delivery from your favorite restaurant and add an appetizer just because. Schedule something that you enjoy and embrace it. If you have a bathtub, take a bubble bath. Even if it means being by yourself, treat yourself like a queen and allow yourself to be pampered. Put on your favorite music and sing along. As they do on “Grey’s Anatomy,” dance it out and enjoy being alive.

If you’re feeling altruistic and really want to get out of your own head and end the pity party, find a local food kitchen or shelter and volunteer to serve dinner. Go to a nursing home and offer to spend time with the residents. Find a local animal shelter to see if they need help. You can keep it simple and bake some goodies for your local firehouse. Remember when you help others, you get it back tenfold.

Who knows what your relationship status will be by next Valentine’s Day. But at least celebrating with friends, helping others, or pampering yourself, you will have turned a negative into a positive and had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

written by Tonia DeCosimo
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