On the way to an appointment the other day I heard two teenage girls discussing Valentine's Day. One was distraught because her boyfriend had just broken up with her and the other was worried about the fact that her boyfriend would probably get her a Valentine's Day present that sucked. All normal teenage stuff but what is surprising, is that it's no longer the norm for an adult to have this view of Valentine's Day, according to my friend and client Liz Crawford.
Crawford's research indicates that more and more adults are choosing to look at Valentine's Day as a way to celebrate friends, and even pets, versus a way to celebrate with a significant other. In a report released early this month Crawford, VP of Match Marketing Group, states: "Contrary to the old fashioned idea that being alone on Valentine's Day is a shameful tragedy, most singles are quite content." She goes on to cite a 2,000-person survey published in Psychology Today, that found" Valentine's Day isn't a day of anxiety or loneliness for single people." An overwhelming majority of (adult, single) respondents reported that that they were "not at all concerned with being alone on Valentine's Day." Further, there was no significant difference between the genders on this question either.
This gave me pause for thought. As a mother of a young teen how can I help her be comfortable with herself on V-day and not turn out like the young women waiting for the subway? So I asked the experts, Jessica Nicholson and Kristin Grimshaw, publishers of a new magazine Franq Girl written specifically for teens wanting to be leaders in global world.
They responded with a series of fantastic tips to spoil yourself on Valentines Day -- and every other day. Not only are these examples great for the teen in your life, but they are perfect for stressed out people in general who may not be concerned about what someone gives them for Valentine's Day but who may be worried life's challenges. Their tips for leaders are below:
1. Give yourself the gift of joy and movement
Just 20 minutes of walking a day can change your life. Research reports it helps with depression and reduces stress. This V-Day, take up a physical activity that brings you joy. Don't do it to make yourself look a certain way, instead look at fitness as a way to feel good in your skin. Whatever you choose just make sure it makes YOU happy.
2. Give yourself the Gift of Knowledge
In the DMS our mentors, at the end of the program say that the best part of the 16 weeks was that they were learning something new every week. Learning reduces stress. Think of it this way, your brain is like scrambled eggs: if you don't stir it up you get one pan flat omelette that needs stuff in the middle to taste good - learning stirs up your brain. This V-Day try an app to learn a new language, or a new skill or better yet, buy a book and learn. Enhancing your knowledge boosts your confidence and will ensure that you have a skill that you can never loose.
3. Give yourself the gift of sleep
As Arianna Huffington suggests, this Valentines Day allow yourself to sleep in and luxuriate in your cozy warm bed. Let yourself sleep as long as you need, without guilt or hurried rushing around afterward. Give yourself the time you need to start your day feeling good and rested.
4. Give yourself the gift of giving to others
I read two interesting statistics the other day about emerging relationships. We take more anti-depressants today than we have at any other time in our history. We volunteer less than we have at any other time in history. Is there relationship between the two? I don't know, but I suspect there is. In a culture as narcissistic as ours, giving to another may be the best way to feel better about yourself and your talents. This Valentines Day try volunteering for one hour over the next month. Join a cause you care about deeply. Get out of yourself and your troubles and get into making someone else's life better. And then be grateful for what you have.
5. Give yourself the gift of gratitude
My friend and colleague Julie Phillippi-Whitney keeps a gratitude jar. Each day she writes down on a scrap of paper something she is thankful for. When she is having a horrible day she picks out one of the slips of paper and reads it to reminder herself of all the good things. Too often, we rush through our lives doing, and stressing, and thinking, while paying little attention to what we have accomplished. Honoring what we have done and what we have accomplished is important for so many reasons. Tracking what we have accomplished allows us to reflect on our day accurately, it allows us to rejoice in ourselves. And it gives us a truthful idea of what we have actually accomplished, rather than guessing and looking at what we haven't yet finished, give yourself the time to look at what you have and have done.