As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us begin to feel anxious in a variety of ways. It may be trying to decide what to get our significant other or trying to make plans with friends. Whatever your relationship status is, it is important to remember the actual meaning of the holiday which is the celebration of love. How you decide to celebrate love is entirely up to your interpretation. Sometimes this holiday can make people feel lonely, but it is important to take note of the love from family and friends who surround you, as well as the love from yourself. It is also important to realize that although Valentine’s Day is just one day of the year, love should be given to yourself and those close to you year-round. Here are some ideas of ways to feel and share the love to yourself and others throughout the entire year.
1. Write a letter to someone you love and tell them why you love them. This could be your mom, your sister, your grandma, your best friend or anyone else that you love! People love feeling appreciated and the act of giving the letter to them will also make you feel happy to know that you have made someone’s day.
2. Volunteer with your favorite organization. As mentioned previously, doing good things makes you feel good. It is scientifically proven that people who participate in meaningful activities report feeling happier and with more purpose in their life. What better way to spend the day making yourself happy by doing good for others?
3. Take the day for yourself. We live in a world that is all about being on the go and productive. For this reason, many people feel guilty about lounging the day away in their pajamas. While this wouldn’t be healthy to do every day, sometimes it is important to give yourself permission to relax. Even if it is just for an hour, treat yourself to a bubble bath, a cup of tea and a book, or whatever makes you feel most relaxed.
4. Make a friend date. Make a date with a friend doing an activity that you both enjoy. Many of us are constantly connected to friends on social media or through texting, but it is important to take time for one-on-one connection. Put your phones away, go on a walk together or out to coffee, and see how refreshed you feel.
5. Make a list of characteristics you love about yourself. This is an activity we did during Strong Girls that I truly believe anyone would benefit from. Each girl cut out a tracing of her hand on construction paper and glued it onto another piece of paper. Then she wrote all the characteristics she loves about herself on the hand. Then, whenever someone is feeling down she can high five her hand and remember all the reasons she loves herself. Even if you do not do the hand activity, writing down positive characteristics you like about yourself feels just as good!
These are a few of the many ways to show love to yourself and those around you. These ideas can be done on Valentine’s Day or on any day of the year! There is a quote by Barbara De Angelis that says, “Love and kindness are never wasted. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” While receiving love feels good so does giving it! Feel good by telling those around you why they matter to you, and make sure you know why you matter too!
Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated?
Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14. Across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of Valentine’s Day, from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England.
The Legend of St. Valentine
The history of Valentine’s Day—and the story of its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”—at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” writing, ““For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
Lupercalia was an ancient pagan festival held each year in Rome on February 15. Although Valentine’s Day shares its name with a martyred Christian saint, some historians believe the holiday is actually an offshoot of Lupercalia. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.