February 14, 2019

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In all the hullabaloo, consumerism, and distaste for Valentine’s day, here’s a list of things for you Single Pringles out there, as well as anyone who just wants to bury their heads under the covers until February 14th goes away. Show yourself some love.

Put off by the consumerism of Valentine's Day? Here are 14 ideas to show yourself some love — that don't involve chocolate! Instead, love yourself first.

Self-care and self-love are so important especially since it’s becoming more and more clear that loving others—really loving them—is hard if you don’t love yourself first.

And don’t worry—none of these tips involve chocolate.

1. Take Time For Yourself

Only you. No one else.

No kids, no partner, no best friend—nobody but you. Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and your favorite book. Go out to treat yo self to coffee or a margarita.

Get a massage, take a long walk (unless you’re snowed in, like us in the great PNW this week), or better yet, play in the snow.

For we introverts, the time we take for ourselves is the time that rejuvenates us for the next day. It’s what fuels our fire and keeps us from burning out, especially when every time you walk into the store you’re smacked in the face with all things Valentine’s Day.

Show yourself some love by taking care of YOU today.

2. Try Something New

Go see a show at a theater you’ve never been to.

Try out a class at the local rock climbing gym, if you’re not afraid of heights.

Explore a part of your city that’s off the beaten path from your commute.

Say hi to someone at Starbucks—just striking up a conversation can boost your mood for the rest of the day.

Show yourself some love by challenging yourself with new experiences.

3. Call a Friend

You probably know someone who dislikes or even hates Valentine’s Day as much as you do… Or at least someone who wishes we didn’t see heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for sale before Christmas even dawns.

Call them. Complain to each other for a minute and then catch up. Maybe make plans—just not for today! OpenTable probably doesn’t have any open tables anymore, by now!

And if you’re too far away to meet in person, think about making plans for the next time you see each other.

Show yourself some love by reconnecting with old friends.

4. Practice Gratitude

Before you go to sleep tonight, write two or three things that you’re thankful for that happened today. Maybe it’s as simple as waking up to a warm home. Or knowing your kids are safe in bed. Or maybe the cup of coffee you had this morning hit just the right spot.

We take things for granted so much nowadays, that it’s good to remind ourselves that we can easily lose everything we have, and we did not receive it for free.

Related Book: Gary Sinise’s Grateful American, documenting his journey from self to service. I was on his advance reader team!

Put off by the consumerism of Valentine's Day? Here are 14 ideas to show yourself some love — that don't involve chocolate! Instead, love yourself first.

Going to sleep with these two or three things on our mind leaves little room for worries and fears and annoyances.

Show yourself some love by recognizing the things that make your life easier.

5. Write Down Your Goals

We all have dreams. That pie-in-the-sky thing we’ve been putting off for years because it’s intimidating or “unrealistic.”

The funny thing about goals and achieving them is that it becomes a heckuva lot easier to digest when you a) write down those goals and b) break them into manageable chunks.

As the adage goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Show yourself some love and finally write down those goals that have percolated in your brain for your entire life.

Want to write a book? Start by writing a single word.

Want to lose weight? Start by tracking the next thing you put in your mouth.

Want to start a blog? Do a Pinterest search and actually read the articles instead of just pinning them.

Show yourself some love by making a plan with your goals instead of just dreaming about them.

6. Make a Meal Plan

Many people spend hours every week trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and if you’re in this boat you probably get stressed out when you don’t know what you’re eating this week—let alone next week.

Show yourself some love and write down a list of your favorite meals.

My eating schedule is a little weird compared to most people—I eat between about 7:30 AM and 11:30 AM. We call this intermittent fasting, and to simplify how much time I spend making that food to eat, my husband and I do meal-prep Sundays. We make all the food I’m going to eat for the week and stack them up nicely in five piles in the fridge so it’s super simple to get my “lunch” ready for work the next morning.

This is one of those timesaving “hacks” that make you go “why didn’t I do this before???” when you finally get around to trying it.

Show yourself some love by reducing the food-hassle.

7. Do a Digital Detox

Many people advocate for leaving the phone out of the bedroom.

I’m not one of those people.

My phone IS my alarm, and I’ve trained myself to leave it far enough away from the bed that I NEED to actually get out of bed to turn it off. I also have a ton of Do Not Disturb settings that automatically turn on. At 7:30 PM my phone goes into gray scale and turns off notifications. This doesn’t turn off until my 4:00 AM alarm.

But doing a digital detox is a great way to show yourself some love.

Start by removing all your apps from your home screen. If you’re brave enough, uninstall Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to make it harder to do the “roll and scroll” with those.

Turn off all notifications from email, texts, and Messenger.

I dare you to do this for the two hours before bedtime and instead follow the advice in #1: take time for yourself!

8. Figure Out Your Love Language

Do you know how you best receive love? Do you know how to best show love to your partner or family?

The 5 Love Languages is a book by Gary Chapman—there’s also an online quiz that tells you which type you are.

Before I started dating, I thought my Love Language was physical touch, but I actually discovered that it’s Acts of Service.

The others are Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, and Quality Time.

Everyone feels loved differently. It’s important to discover what language y’all are speaking, otherwise, it could lead to a lot of discontent in your relationships—including with yourself.

9. Meditate

Many studies have shown that meditation reduces stress and can promote a longer lifespan.

Meditation can take many forms—guided, unguided, focusing on the breath, even prayer—and no form is better or worse than another.

It’s just important to figure out what works best for you.

Show yourself some love by taking one to ten minutes today to meditate. Be sure to note how you feel before and after—it might surprise you how much better you feel!

10. Create a Morning and/or Evening Routine

One of my earliest posts on this blog was about how to build a morning routine. Since then, I’ve discovered the Miracle Morning and wrote a post about that, too. But something I haven’t done—and should—is to develop an evening routine.

Routines provide consistency. I don’t know about you, but when my routines get messed up (and consistency goes out the window) I feel ridiculously thrown off.

Earlier this week our power went out for about 6.5 hours in the morning, coinciding with when I usually wake up and follow my morning routine—part of which requires my computer and the internet.

Which I couldn’t use because, you know, the power was out.

Let me tell you—that morning—and entire day—felt weird because I didn’t actually go through my routine.

That experience gave me pause to consider if I should adjust my morning routine to be completely independent of power or internet.

That might be tough.

Show yourself some love by considering how you might best create a morning and/or evening routine that suits your needs and keeps you energized.

11. Go Solo to a Movie or Dinner

There’s no rule saying you need a partner to go out to the movies or to dinner!

Even better—rent something from Redbox that you’ve wanted to watch for a while but kept putting off.

Try out that new restaurant in town that you’re interested in, but none of your friends are. Or maybe find a dive off the beaten path—be adventurous! Who knows? You might find the best fish tacos of your life and all those negative Nancies are missing out.

Show yourself some love by breaking the stereotypes and confidently doing those traditionally partner activities by yourself.

12. Book a Therapy Appointment

This one can be scary. Most people view therapy as something you go to when you’re at the end of your rope—or are just a crazy person.

But I’ve been to therapy and 100% recommend it to absolutely everyone.

Talking through your worries and fears and anxieties can be emotional and difficult, but the catharsis that comes afterward feels amazing.

Therapists can help you through tough decisions, shine a light on a darkened path, and provide a perspective you probably hadn’t considered before.

I credit my therapist with helping me realize exactly what I hated about my first job and how to roll with the punches of life so that I’m not so emotionally invested in something that hurts me.

Therapy is helpful if you have recently been through a bad breakup or you have experienced problems such as gaslighting in relationships that you have previously been involved in. Gaslighting and any kind of toxic relationship can take a heavy toll on your self-esteem, so talking through your relationship issues, either past or present, is an excellent way to move forward. It is easy to blame yourself when a relationship does not work out. Speaking with a therapist will provide a fresh perspective and help you learn how to take the best care of yourself and your needs.

13. Get Creative

Doodle, draw, color-by-numbers—Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Remember how nice it was to be creative as a kid?

Don’t let that feeling disappear!

Grab a notebook and get doodling!

Bullet journals are great for creative expression. Pinterest is full of ideas for “spreads” and cover pages, though admittedly most of those beautiful Pins and spreads are beyond my artistic ability.

But don’t let that stop you.

I know someone from high school who made beautiful doodles with just loops and lines (and she became a graphic designer, so she’s definitely a full-blown artist). You don’t need to be able to draw a face to create something pretty.

Show yourself some love by releasing your inner child with creative expression. It’s okay—there’s no art show afterward. It’s all for your enjoyment.

14. Spend Time in God’s Word

What does the Bible say about love?

Well, honestly, the entire Bible is about love—God’s love for the world and the lengths He went to in order to save us from ourselves.

Spending time in God’s Word might be the most intense form of self-love and self-care you can practice nowadays.


What a long list.

Hopefully, you found something in here that speaks to you more than commercialism, consumerism, or chocolate do.

Try them all, try just one—take what works and leave the rest.

For more self-care practices to reduce stress and accomplish your goals, check out this post from Radical Strength.

What are your favorite ways to practice self-love, especially on days when you don’t really feel like it? Let me know in the comments!

About the author 


Life coach, author, engineer, and host of the podcast This is Type 1: Real Life with Type 1 Diabetes. I teach T1Ds how to feel better without changing how they manage it.

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  1. Some great ideas here! Number 5 and 6 are my favourites that I’m striving to implement well and doing alright with. Practicing gratitude and meditating are things I used to do but have fallen by the wayside. I know how much they improve my life though so I should resume them!

  2. What a great list of ways to show yourself some love. As a SAHM and introvert, taking time for myself is at the top of my self-care list. I also try to get creative whenever possible and spend time reflecting on God’s word every day.

  3. Treating yourself and focusing on you is very important. You can lose yourself so easily in the world that we live in.

  4. I’m happy to say that I do most of these already! I like to go out to eat and go shopping by myself because I can move at my own pace and don’t have to wait on others.

  5. All of this is SO good and really important for our balance and sanity! I’ve been wanting to pick up one of the 5 Love Languages books lately so it’s funny you’ve mentioned it too – I think it’s a sign! Other than that I think I really need a digital detox – which can be hard as a blogger. I remember as a kid going to a cabin every winter where there was no TV so we just played out in the snow and then came in and ate and played board games. I would LOVE to do that right about now! Wonderful post ?

  6. #1, #2, #3 and #9 are my go to! Also learning about love language has been something really interesting that I discovered this year. Great post! ^^

  7. I do a lot of these things. Spending time in God’s Word is the best thing you can do to show yourself love. I have also gone to a movie by myself. It is actually pretty fun to go where you want and do what you want!

  8. As a mom of three it is hard to find even 5 minutes to myself, but I have been trying to make it happen! I love number four – I try to remind myself daily of what I am grateful for, but writing it down would be even better. I actually have a blank journal I just found in my closet, which would be perfect for this!

  9. Great list, self care is really important for wellbeing. I love the idea to just call a friend. A chat with a good friend is the best therapy sometimes

  10. Every so often I need to take a digital detox from phones and tablets. I try to do this once a week and it really helps me. It allows me to center my thoughts and just be in the moment.

  11. Yes indeed, Practice Gratitude. Always! Do not take someone taken for granted. Always show kindness, and show some gratitude. ALWAYS!. Because that’s part of loving ourselves. And the tips are very timely! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. These are great ideas for self-care all year long, and not just at Valentine’s day. I think that we would all benefit from doing so. I need to think about some of these. I do some of them already, but not all of them. I want to go and see the high school play this weekend, but I wasn’t sure who to see it with. I am now thinking that I should just go and see it by myself.

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