Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day

V-Day is almost upon us. But please, don’t get upset. This does not have to be a depressing holiday, or a saccharine Hallmark shill. I want you to do your best to re-frame this time of year in your mind.

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love. And just because romantic love is the most glorified form of love doesn’t mean it’s the only one, or the most important one.

Whether or not you’re in a relationship today, here are some things you can do to re-affirm your dedication to self-love.

• Choose/buy/find a talisman to remind you of your commitment to self-love. It should be something personally meaningful to you, which can be as obvious and self-explanatory as a heart necklace or as obscure as an octopus brooch. If looking at it makes you smile and reminds you of the importance of loving yourself, you’re doin’ it right! (Some quick picks from me to you: stack these queer babe bracelets on your arms, stick these clitoris stickers all over everything, pin these feminist buttons to your backpack or put this rose quartz heart over your own heart. Too pretty!)

• Take yourself on a solo date. Bring your book, journal, laptop, knitting, etc. to your favorite café, bar or restaurant, and sit for a while. Enjoying your own company is an important life skill, and solo time can also be a great way to recharge in advance of a romantic date with someone else, if that’s on your docket for the day.

• Masturbate. Decadently. Loudly. In all your favorite ways, using all your favorite toys ‘n’ tools.

• Take the best bath (or shower) ever. Lush does fabulous bath bombs and shower jellies. Light a scented candle. Pour yourself some wine or tea or juice. Put on some soft jazz or salsa or whatever music makes you feel gorgeous. Exfoliate, wash, pamper, luxuriate, rejuvenate.

• Look up local cultural events and go see one (or a few). Gallery shows, arthouse movie screenings, live concerts, book readings, theatrical performances – anything that makes your heart sing and your brain buzz. (And hey, if you’re in Toronto, come on down to the Ten Thousand Villages shop at 362 Danforth around 2PM on V-Day… Someone who looks an awful lot like me might be performing some love songs. Wink wink.)

• Make a list of things you love about yourself and/or things other people have told you they love about you. Collecting your best compliments in one location, whether they’re from others or from yourself, is a great way to make yourself feel good – and you can refer back to it any time you need a self-love boost.

• Do something you’re really good at. This is such a fabulous way to remind yourself of your inherent value as a human being. Make music, write, paint, dance, whatever. Get into the “zone,” the flow, of doing something well. (And even if you do it badly, if you’re still having fun, you’re doing it right.)

• Check out local party shops, drugstores, etc. and buy some heart-shaped stuff. This is the time to do it (or maybe the day after Valentine’s Day when everything’s on sale). Having heart-shaped decor all over your house is a way to remind yourself on a daily basis that love is important, especially self-love. I have a red holographic paper heart taped up on my bedroom wall year-round and it makes me smile every time I see it.

• Be good to your body. This requires listening to your body and figuring out what it’s asking for, what it needs, which is always worth doing. Maybe you require chocolates today, or maybe your body’s crying out for leafy greens instead. Maybe you need to lie in bed and chill the fuck out, or maybe you’d feel better if you did an hour of intense yoga or went for a jog. Maybe you need more water, more dancing, less caffeine, less self-criticism, or a really good stretch. Listen, check in, and give your cute bod what it wants.

• Delete all critics and energy vampires from your digital life. Do a major clean-out of your Twitter stream, Facebook friends list, email subscriptions, browser bookmarks, etc. so that everything in your digital life actually serves you and uplifts you. Ahhh, the relief! What a beautiful favor to do for yourself!

What do you like to do for yourself on Valentine’s Day?