DepressionHealthy LifestylesMental Health

Valentine’s Day can be a time of excitement and joy for some people, but for others, it can be a stressful and emotionally challenging period. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being during this holiday to help prevent or mitigate feelings of isolation, depression, and more.

For Steve Ramirez, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, Valentine’s Day offers a time to value being reflective. He finds personal value reflecting on the things that bring him joy in his life. And regardless of which day of the week it is, part of his self-care process is leaning into the emotions he is feeling regardless of whether they feel positive or negative. As Ramirez says, the most crucial part of self-care is tending to the relationship you have with yourself. 

While Valentine’s Day can be an especially difficult time if you’re alone, by incorporating a few self-care practices you can still help improve your mental health and overall well-being. Here are just a few self-care practices that can help boost your mood and alleviate stress on Valentine’s Day:

Start With Gratitude

Take some time to reflect on what you’re grateful for in your life. This could be a simple act of writing down three things you’re thankful for each day or taking a moment to appreciate the small things in life. In fact, studies have looked at how practicing gratitude can improve relationships. For example, a Harvard University study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner both felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more at ease expressing concerns about their relationship. Practicing gratitude can help shift your focus away from negative thoughts and promote a positive mindset.

Get Active

Exercise is a great way to reduce mental health risks and keep your body healthy. Exercise can improve mental health by helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Specifically, exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your weekly routine, whether it’s going for a walk, trying a yoga class, or hitting the gym.

Connect with Loved Ones

Spending quality time with loved ones can help boost your mood and provide emotional support. Whether it’s a phone call, video chat, or in-person visit, take the time to connect with people who care about you this Valentine’s Day. Love and appreciation isn’t just for romantic relationships, and Valentine’s Day is a great time to express your feelings for the people you care about.

Indulge in Self-Care 

Take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy. Whether it’s treating yourself to a spa day, reading a good book, or taking a relaxing bath, make time for activities that bring you joy and promote relaxation. You could also try incorporating mindfulness practices into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing, or journaling. These practices can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Limit Social Media Exposure

Social media can be a source of stress, especially on Valentine’s Day when everyone seems to be sharing their romantic plans. Recent research about social media’s impact on mental health found that more exposure to all types of news media consumption increased emotional distress among participants across all age groups since the onset of COVID-19, but television and social media exposure were more strongly associated. In particular, younger adults and women were more found to be most vulnerable to spikes in distress related to social media engagement. To help prevent emotional distress around Valentine’s Day, it’s a healthy idea to limit your exposure to social media and try to focus on the present moment instead of comparing yourself to what you may see trending online.

Recommit to Your Resolutions

As January comes to an end, many individuals will have already broken their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, research has found that less than 25% of people are actually still committed to their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% of individuals accomplish their resolutions. But there is no good reason to put pressure on yourself with overly-strict plans toward committing to your resolutions. Valentine’s Day could actually be a great time to check back in with yourself and re-focus on the goals you set for the new year. 

TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley

Valentine’s Day can be a challenging time for many people, but by incorporating these self-care practices, you can help improve your mental health and overall well-being. Remember to be kind to yourself and take care of your emotional needs, as taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.

If you’re feeling depressive symptoms around this time of year, you’re not alone. Valentine’s Day can induce some of the strongest feelings of loneliness, depression, and separation for many people. If you’d like to explore some of the depression treatment options we offer here at the TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more today.