Many people get excited at the arrival of Valentine’s Day. But for some, the holiday can be very depressing. Depression can be quite difficult, often feeling like a dark cloud looming over you. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and even seasonal changes can worsen that depression.
Why can Valentine’s Day be depressing?
Valentine’s Day is often not a happy holiday for those who are alone. For those in a relationship, this holiday creates an expectation for the individual’s partner to show their love with an extravagant event or in gift form. It can be disappointing if the day goes unnoticed, or if spending the holiday alone. These grandiose expectations, or fear of loneliness, can be triggers for individuals to not make the best decisions. These expectations can be set too high and, when not met, can lead to feelings of disappointment. If these disappointing feelings are not addressed, resentment can occur which could lead to some poor choices. Out of desperation, the fear of loneliness can be too great, that anyone would be better than no one.
Most people have the desire to form connections with others. We like feeling supported and valued. Those with a loving partner and a strong social support network tend to be happier, and at a lower risk of depression.
However, having a partner should not be the entire focus of life. Due to the over-commercialized romance and movie depictions, the holiday is often stigmatized. For those with depression who may be ruminating over past relationships, or worrying about future difficulties meeting someone, however, it would be much better to worry about only yourself on this holiday!
What can you do?
There are many ways to not only cope with depression on Valentine’s Day, but to hopefully enjoy the holiday as well. Try these suggestions:
- If you’re afraid of not receiving anything for the holiday, consider purchasing flowers, chocolates, or gifts for yourself! Treating oneself is often necessary and well deserved! As an added bonus, chocolate releases endorphins that can improve your mood and make you feel better.
- Having a strong social support network is also crucial. It’s important to spend time with those you love, such as friends and family. Planning a night out or a fun activity to do with your friends or family members can be a great way to broaden your horizons or new ways to laugh and enjoy yourself. There are many fun social activities you can find in your local area, such as movies, dinner, or perhaps taking an art or cooking class.
- Take care of yourself and truly self-evaluate what makes you happy. Take the time to find out what places or things make you happy. Also, think about loving yourself. This is essential and can help you learn new and interesting things that make up who you are. That might involve pampering, relaxing, enjoying hobbies, or revisiting previously enjoyed activities.
- If there are past relationships clouding your mind, try to remember to focus on the present. Thinking about relationships that ended poorly will not be beneficial and can lead to over thinking and depressing thoughts. At this time, focus less on why these past relationships did not work out; focus more on how the future can be full of endless possibilities. Letting go of these negative thoughts or “what ifs” of past relationships can pave the way for opportunities to grow as a person or to meet someone new.
- Depression can take its toll physically by affecting your sleep, and can lead to reduced energy, appetite changes, body aches, and increased pain levels. Struggling with these physical symptoms can often decrease your desire to exercise. Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift by just doing minimal workouts or taking a fun class at the gym. This can enable exercising to help you with depression. Exercising can also promote social interaction and help you meet new people who share similar interests.
In conclusion, Valentine’s Day is just another day. But when dealing with depression, it can be a difficult day. Take the time to focus on who is truly important here: you. Enjoy the day whether you are in a relationship or not. It is just another day to grow and mature as an individual and find ways to make yourself happy. Depression may be challenging but there are many ways to cope with it.
Here’s our wish for you to have a more enjoyable Valentine’s Day!