How to Get the Most Out of Valentine's Day This Year


5 Tips for Making This Valentine's Day Special (Despite Your Relationship Status)


       By Renita Gabriel, Psy.D.

Hearts.  Holiday editions of every type of candy you can imagine. 15 different shades of red and pink adorning that designated aisle in the grocery store.  These are some of the images that immediately come to mind when we think of Valentine’s Day.  For those of us who are in romantic relationships, we often become overwhelmed with planning the “perfect” date for our significant other, while those of us who are single are painfully reminded that we are flying solo yet again. Meanwhile, the true essence of the holiday gets buried in all the “fluff” that surrounds it.  What if this year was different? What if we defined for ourselves what this special holiday will mean? I would like to challenge us all to get the most out of this Valentine’s Day by considering the following:

1. Make it about others- While most of us desire to receive love that is altruistic, pure and lasting, few of us truly consider what it means to give that type of love.  It is easy to get consumed with what we want and what will satisfy us and lose sight of the needs or desires of the other person.  Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show love to those we are in relationship with-and it may not be with a Hallmark greeting but rather with something that is meaningful to them.

2. Do unto others…- Got a friend who’s going through a tough time? Could a family member use some encouragement? Put yourself in that person’s shoes. What would brighten your day? What would brighten theirs? Not sure? Ask. Nothing says you care like taking the time to get to know the person you care about.

3. Consider those in need- Maybe Valentine’s Day has always been a difficult time of year for you due to loss, or some other difficult circumstance.  It is common knowledge that doing something good for someone else can improve mood and make you feel good inside. Why not volunteer your time with those who are in need?  Research possible opportunities; websites such as are a great place to start.

4. Forgive - Being in relationships can hurt at times. People offend us, betray us and can wound us in ways that are deep and lasting. But holding on to the pain and resulting bitterness stifles our own growth and ability to extend love in authentic ways to others.  Consider releasing the individual who has hurt you from the prison of your unforgiveness. Setting them free does more to liberate you than it does them.  

5. Expect the Unexpected- We’ve all been there-unmet expectations.  Building ourselves up only to be let down, especially on Valentine’s day.  What if we allowed ourselves not to have any expectations this go round? What if we allowed the day to unfold as it may, embracing each moment as it comes- relishing in the little things and finding joy in the seemingly insignificant? It is amazing what happens when we open ourselves up to the possibility of the possibilities.

If you read this article and not only want to get the most out of your Valentine’s Day but the most out of life in general, contact Dr. Renita Gabriel, licensed psychologist at or visit her website at for more information.


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