10 Best Ways to Enjoy Valentine's Day On Your Own

Valentine's alone doesn't have to be lonely.
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Being alone on Valentine's Day may leave you feeling like the only person without a partner. It's easy to let the media, advertising, and shopping malls make you feel like something is missing if you are not in a relationship on this particular day.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself alone on Valentine's day, both of your own choice and due to circumstances outside your control. If you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), being alone may be the result of fear of approaching potential romantic partners.

Although you may feel like you're the only one without a partner, there are many others in the same situation as you. The best way to manage feelings of loneliness on this day involve shifting your focus and aiming to be happy with what you already have.

Ignore Valentine's Day

There is no rule that you need to celebrate or even acknowledge Valentine's Day. Don't let advertising, store displays, or stories of others make you feel bad. February 14th is just another day of the year, and there is no reason why you can't pretend the holiday isn't taking place.

Be Kind to Yourself

Instead of ignoring Valentine's Day, decide to make it a day to treat yourself well.

  • eat your favorite foods 
  • engage in goal setting
  • engage in hobbies that you enjoy
  • sleep late 
  • take the day off work 
  • write in a gratitude journal

A study published in 2012 in the journal Anxiety, Stress, and Coping showed that people with SAD are less likely to show themselves self-compassion. This means that it's extra important for you to take the time to slow down and be aware of how you are treating yourself—good or bad.

Be Your Own Secret Admirer

You know all those bouquets of roses your coworkers or friends have received? Have you ever wondered if they might have sent them to themselves? If you are feeling really down about being alone on Valentine's Day, send yourself flowers or chocolates to your place of work. Your coworkers will wonder who they are from, and you will receive a gift chosen by the person who knows you best.

Avoid Love Triggers

Avoid watching romantic movies and listening to love songs. People with social anxiety disorder are prone to depression, and these types of activities are sure to elicit sadness about being alone during this holiday.

Make Other Plans

Plan a day revolving around a recreational activity or a theatrical/musical event unrelated to Valentine's Day. For example

  • attend a sporting event
  • go to a concert
  • go skydiving
  • see a play
  • sit in a hot tub

Invite a friend or family member. Having plans to do something concrete will help to take your mind off the fact that you are single. Plus, if you choose something memorable, then each year you will have something to celebrate on that date that extends beyond Valentine's.

Plan a Night Out with Single Friends

If you have single friends, plan a night out as a group. Being in the company of others in the same situation will help to ease your loneliness. Be sure to keep the night upbeat. Activities that the group could do might include the following:

  • a comedy show
  • a movie
  • a paint night

In addition to feeling less lonely, going out with a group will help you to brush up on your social skills and challenge your social fears.

A 2015 study published in the journal Cognition and Emotion showed that people with social anxiety who have partners expect that they will feel more positive on Valentine's Day compared to other holidays such as St. Patrick's day, which tend to involve group situations.

This highlights the importance of facing fears of group situations—but also the fact that Valentine's day can be a holiday that you look forward to as part of a couple, regardless of your social anxiety.

Reach Out to Someone

Take the opportunity to reach out to someone whom you haven't spoken to in a while. That person might be any of the following:

  • a family member
  • a friend
  • a potential romantic interest

You never know who might also be feeling lonely on Valentine's Day and will welcome the chance to catch up. If you get the chance, give that person a hug as well.

We know that hugs increase your oxytocin, the feel-good chemical in your brain that helps you bond with others. If your hug recipient is also your potential romantic interest, you may find that the oxytocin effect helps to bring you closer together.

Brighten Someone Else's Day

Do you know someone who has recently lost a significant other? A small gift on Valentine's Day would mean a lot and would make you feel good as well. Gift ideas might include the following:

  • a gift basket with tea, coffee, or other goodies
  • a promise of time spent together (e.g., movie tickets for the two of you)
  • flowers
  • homemade cookies or other treats

Keep Up Your Daily Routine

One of the best ways to deal with being alone on Valentine's Day is to go about your daily routine.

  • clean the house
  • go grocery shopping
  • go to the gym
  • go to the movies
  • play a sport
  • work

Do whatever you would normally do that day of the week, to make it seem like just another day of the year.

Play Cupid

Most people have never received a gift from a secret admirer. Consider anonymously sending a gift to someone in the same position as you. This doesn't need to be someone in whom you have romantic interest; simply someone whom you want to see smile. Include a note saying that you wanted to pay it forward this Valentine's day. Gift ideas could include such things as the following:

  • books (with a special bookmark enclosed)
  • calendars
  • chocolates
  • flowers
  • gift cards
  • gourmet food baskets
  • homemade gifts
  • movie passes

A Word From Verywell

Valentine's Day can be a wonderful time if you are in a relationship, but difficult if you find yourself alone. If social anxiety is preventing you from dating or maintaining romantic relationships, and you haven't been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, it may be time to talk to your doctor.

Receiving effective treatment such as medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) could mean not spending Valentine's Day alone again next year.

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