Surviving Valentine’s Day


Cupid not cutting it for you today? Here is my guide to every day of the best intimacy you can achieve.

Valentine’s Day is here and don’t we know it: our inboxes are pinging with special offers and romantic break ideas, adverts are telling us where to go for a lovely meal for two and supermarkets look like Festivals of Flowers.

But what if you’re single, or in an unhappy relationship? This kind of intense focus on love and romance can sometimes serve to make you feel even worse.

So, short of turning off all your technology for the day, what can you do about it? Well, the most important way to either fully enjoy or survive Valentines Day is to realise that the most important relationship you have is with yourself. What we really crave in a relationship of any kind is intimacy and this starts with Into-me-see. 

In order to make your relationships work you need to treat the time you spend with yourself and on yourself as a priority, something most people, especially women, struggle to achieve as they put the needs of others before themselves. Selfishness is not a trait we encourage in our formative years. Or being different. Born into a family of extroverts and you crave time alone and you will hear: “Don’t be so rude/stand-offish/unfriendly.  People will think you don’t like them. Join in!”.  Conversely if you are born into a family of introverts then your extrovert tendencies will be invariably frowned upon and reined in.  Meaning you learn to distrust your own instincts and sacrifice what you crave for ‘the greater good’.

In my profession, I treat many people, especially women, who may be in long term relationships and are still unhappy, lonely and unfulfilled. Craving intimacy.  Craving some time for themselves especially if they are #boomers and may be in a sandwich of trying to meet the needs of growing children, ageing parents and, increasingly, grandchildren. Oh, plus their own jobs, relationships and ‘personal development’.

Hardly surprising there is little left for your partner and even less for yourself.

So remember, on an aeroplane you are told to fit your own oxygen mask before your children’s, and this is a good concept to apply in life, too. This little exercise is drilled into you each time you fly as it is contrary to human nature: to look out for your dependents first.

So if Valentine’s Day is getting you down, here’s my survival guide (which cheerily spells Valentines):


Value yourself. Give yourself care and nurture. Your health is paramount: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Accept yourself for who you are. Rejoice in your own unique qualities. Be grateful for all the great things in your life – it’s a good idea to keep a gratitude journal.

Learn to let go. Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. If you chastised a friend/lover the way you may speak harshly to yourself would they stay? Probably not.

Enjoy your own company. Otherwise how can others enjoy being with you?

Never leave yourself off your to-do list. This includes both waking and sleeping time. Before you go to sleep, remind yourself of all of your positive qualities and ‘wins’ you had that day. It will positively influence your dreams.

There is no such thing as perfection. Perfect people in magazines are air brushed. Perfection is unattainable, like a finish ribbon that moves away all the time. As such, it is the lowest quality of all.

“I’ve got this!”. Say this to yourself every day. You are enough and all you need is already within you. Start to hear a new and encouraging voice that supports you. 

Never say never. Even if you have been hurt in the past you can still find someone who loves and values you for who you are. But first you must do this for yourself.

Everyday, find ways to love and nurture yourself. Walk in nature. Take 10 uninterrupted minutes, even if you have to go out onto the fire escape at your office, to savour your coffee. Soak in a hot bath. Do whatever works for you.

Say ‘no’ to others and to overwhelming demands on you and your time.   

And always remember to fit your own oxygen mask first.