In my therapy practice, I’ve often noticed an increase in stress, anxiety, and depressed mood the week before Valentine’s Day.

Men and women who are not in committed relationships report feeling more vulnerable, insecure, and even “inadequate” as they face the reality that no one will be sending them flowers, candy, jewelry, or a loving card.

I would never minimize the sadness that might accompany being dateless on Valentine’s Day. And yet, I would like to dispel the idea that you need someone else to offer you words or trinkets of love in order to feel worthy or cherished.

Since the media and our culture seems determined to shine a spotlight on the notion of love in February, why not use it as an opportunity to reconnect with feelings of self-love and self-worth rather than waiting for or needing that validation from someone else. Here are a few suggestions to try!

12 Ways to Be Your Own Best Valentine:

  1. Pick out a beautiful card, write a loving note and mail it to yourself!
  2. Buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers.
  3. Get the ingredients for your favorite meal or dessert, cook it to musical accompaniment, and then enjoy eating it.
  4. Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure.
  5. Give yourself a hand massage with soothing lotion.
  6. Go on-line and buy yourself a gift basket with goodies or spa products.
  7. Give yourself extra time to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.
  8. Leave yourself a voice message of encouragement- play it a few times during the day.
  9. Look in the mirror and say out loud three things you are proud of about yourself- repeat a few times a day.
  10. Download that song you love and play it while taking a walk.
  11. Bring a book and check out that new restaurant you’ve wanted to try.
  12. Visit a tourist attraction in your own city.There are many ways to be your own best valentine.

And the good news is, you dramatically decrease disappointment and increase actually getting your needs met when you do these things for yourself!

No matter how generous other people may be with their gifts and loving words, the truth is, your sense of self-esteem is most powerfully reinforced by the kind words you tell yourself and the loving gestures you do for yourself.

Let us know how you’ve chosen to be your own valentine this year, and remember to keep that positive, self-affirming behavior going all year round!

* This article was originally published HERE. It was republished on I AM A ROCKSTAR with the author’s permission.

Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA is a clinical social worker, psychotherapist, educator, and the founder of The Ferentz Institute, formerly known as The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education. She presents workshops and keynote addresses nationally and internationally and is a clinical consultant to practitioners and mental health agencies. She is the author of “Treating Self-Destructive Behaviors in Traumatized Clients: A Clinician’s Guide,” now in its second edition, and “Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope and Healing.” Lisa’s newest book, “Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons from the Therapist’s Couch,” was recently published in 2017. In 2009, she was voted the “Social Worker of Year” by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.