This year Valentine’s Day is going to be really special. Prepare to be swept off your feet…
It’s 10 days to Valentine’s Day. For most of us, it’s a chance to get dinner out of the house for a few hours. With life happening all around you, and the ever-mounting lists and to-dos, it’s hard to get in the mood… of the season, that is. With tasks, routines, making dinner, juggling schedules, and taking care of everyone else, it can be a challenge to receive the pampering and attention we all truly need… and truly deserve.
What do you need to be woo-d?
Take a moment to think about what truly sweeps you off your feet… the most epic, classic moments of courtship. Whether from timeless movies, your personal dreams, fairy tales, or your own significant other (lucky you!), we all have an idea about what it looks like to be treated like the most beautiful, most important person on earth. And in 10 days we’ll be able to re-live it. I’m talking full on Cary Grant, The Notebook, “Here’s looking at you, kid” stuff.
Love, attention, flowers, candy, compliments… prepare to experience it all. AND just like the beginning of courtship, it’s going to be amazing, super awkward, and will take a little getting used to. Hopefully you’ll be feeling butterflies too. The catch is that you’re going to be courted by… (queue Project Runway reality TV suspense music here) You. That’s right. You.
The challenge is to treat yourself kindly for 10 full days. We’ll give you some guidelines of what to do to win YOU over. But, only you know what you love, so feel free to tweak each day’s task according to what feels best for you. It may seem like there’s not enough time, but these are simple, small gestures. The most important piece is an open mind, some self compassion, and a couple minutes per day.
Day 1. Buy flowers.
Yup, we’re starting with a big gesture here. Take time today to stop by a flower shop or local grocers and select a bouquet that you just know you’ll adore. If you’re working late, or can’t afford a full bouquet, that’s ok. You’re sure you’ll understand, and after all it’s the thought that counts. Stop by a gas station and buy a single rose or pick one from outside your office.
Day 2. Send a sweet simple message.
Hand write a message (or send a text to yourself) that says something nice about you as a person. Remember, we’re woo-ing here so make it both true and sincere. Not “good job showering today, Angela” but rather something you’d want to receive from someone you have a crush on. Think “you are such a good conversationalist” (ok maybe that’s a bit weak), or “you have really beautiful eyes.” Get creative here… and remember, you don’t have to share it with anyone. It’s your own special love note ;)
Day 3. Get Scent-sual. Not like that. I mean… whatever, we’re not judging.
Ever had someone buy you perfume, oils, or incense? It’s portrayed as one of the most romantic gestures, but probably the most unrealistic. After all, the chance of another person knowing exactly what your aromatic preferences are is pretty unrealistic. So here’s your chance to fulfill the gesture. Whether you buy yourself some perfume, find an essential oil you love, or a new candle that makes you smile and sigh audibly (and unintentionally) in the store, pick the perfect one. Now, again it’s the thought that matters so the alternative is to put some time aside and find your favorite scent, bath salt, or perfume in your home and actually use it. Seriously, use it today, even if it’s during your 5 minute shower. It’s the thought that counts.
Day 4. Make a meal she (you) will LOVE.
Food is life. Good food is love. Providing a person’s favorite meal means you’re caring, nurturing, attentive, thoughtful, and satisfying that person. For dinner, lunch, (or even dessert!) make or buy something you genuinely love to eat. If you’re making it for everyone in the household, let them in on how enjoyable this meal is for you. Feed your senses and feed your soul. While eating it, savor every bite and allow it to be a full sensory experience. Damn, you’re good to yourself.
Day 5. Listen to her (your) problems, and don’t judge or try to fix it.
If you’ve made it this far, this is usually the time in courtship where you start to open up emotionally. Take some time and get in touch with what’s not going right. Instead of judging yourself or trying to fix it (ugh)… simply listen. Sit with your issues, and don’t judge them. Allow some time to hear what’s going wrong, and how you’re feeling about it. After a good cry or even writing it all down, take a deep breath and smile… knowing that you were there for yourself, and didn’t scare you away.
Day 6. Travel to, or recreate her (your) favorite place.
This one’s a challenge. Where to go?? Well, fortunately you’re in your own mind and you know deep down what some of your favorite places are. Go there today, and get creative with it. You might want to go to the corner cafe that reminds you of that trip to Napoli, or schedule a date to head to your favorite restaurant in the city. If travel isn’t an option, then do your best to recreate the details of that favorite place at home tonight. Even if it means taking 10 minutes to close your eyes and return to the space, smell, sounds, and sights, make it a priority to go there at one point today.
Day 7. Buy some chocolates.
Yup, I said it. Chocolate. Amazing, delicious, decadent, dark, forever-there-for-you, chocolate. Research has shown that dark chocolate has many health benefits, including— ok, who am I kidding, it’s DELICIOUS. Go and get yourself something that is truly food for your soul. Something you consider wonderful, amazing, and maybe even decadent. After all, you’re spoiling yourself today. Smile and enjoy!
Day 8. Send another sweet note, and make this one more detailed.
Send another message to your sweet self, whether in writing or via text. Make this one more detailed and more specific. After all, you’ve already had 8 days of courting yourself. Reflect on one of the recent days and send something thoughtful about that. For example, “Megan, I really enjoyed our time going to that cafe that we love so much, you’re great to be around” or “Jane, I really appreciating you opening up emotionally the other night. You’ve been through a lot and I admire your resiliency and strength.” Go for it! It’s ok if you’re blushing…
Day 9. Show her (you) something no one knows about yourself.
Tap into the hidden stuff here. Take some time to reflect on something that no one really knows about you… or something you’ve kept hidden for a while. Maybe it’s a hobby from your youth or a quirky talent with which you haven’t done much in recent years. Painting, ventriloquism, or an old instrument you used to play. Whether you actually go ahead and sing that solo from Junior High, or just reminisce about how you used to be able to swim that fast. Whatever it is, if it was something you were proud of at one point in your life, bring it back up today and savor it for a while.
Day 10. Write the love letter.
Oh boy. Here it goes… this is usually the one that is make-or-break. If you’re really into the person, it’s the most romantic of all gestures and something that you’ll keep forever. If you’re not into them, it’s the “nope, shut it down” moment. Now is the time to look at yourself and see you as the person who is worth keeping around. The person who deserves to both give and receive love. It’s the time to write your love letter. It doesn’t have to be mushy, and it certainly doesn’t have to be perfect. But today, take at least 20 minutes to sit down and draft a heartfelt letter to yourself. Remember, a relationship with yourself takes work, just like any life-long relationship. Keep being kind to yourself, and make sure to keep showing yourself how unique and amazing you truly are.
Happy Valentine’s Day <3
Lauren McCarthy Debiak, MSW, LCSW, Practitioner, Psychotherapist, Founder of ENODIA Center