02/10/2016 11:59 EST | Updated 02/10/2017 05:12 EST

For A Happy Valentine's Day, Skip The Romance

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People admiring art in gallery

I've never liked Valentine's Day.

Whether I've been single or in a relationship, Valentine's Day always has always fallen flat. If I'm single, it's usually a bunch of my gal pals toasting with champagne to our independence, which feels momentarily wonderful... then just a bit hollow.

If I'm with a guy, well, then my relationship still isn't living up to the fairy tale ending of Pretty Woman, Jerry Macguire or Bridget Jones' Diary. My poor partner can't possibly compete with the idealized hero of a slick Hollywood romance.

Well, my fellow Valentines, it's time to reclaim Valentine's Day as a People's Holiday. A holiday of celebrating relationships rather than fanfare, specialness rather than stereotypes. Single, polyamorous or partnered, here are five tips to steer you to a Valentine's Day worthy of your efforts.

1. Forget the romance.

You heard me. Set romance aside with all of its ideas about candlelit dinners and flowers. Think about what you love to do. Rock climbing? Great! Museum-crawling? Delightful! Let go of the traditional and think outside the box.

2. Make your own presents and cards.

If you are exchanging presents, don't buy them. Make them. Taking the time and effort to make a special gift -- yes, even one for yourself! -- is more valuable than three dozen roses.

3. Spend time alone.

Yes! Taking time to do something delicious for yourself is nourishing, revitalizing and empowering. Whether your single or partnered, taking an hour or two to lavish yourself with some self-love (yoga class, walk in the woods, massage, meditate, stroll through your favourite shops) is like a personal "I love you" note.

4. Get sensual.

You don't have to get sexy to get sensual. Turn the day into a feast for your senses. Wear cashmere, visit an essential oils shop, luxuriate in the sunshine, eat delicious food. Hone your senses and enjoy the bounty they bring.

5. Spread love.

Remember when you were a kid and everyone could be your Valentine? It doesn't matter if you're calling your grandma, nephew or old college roommate, take this holiday to share your appreciation and gratitude for those around you. Make those phone calls that you usually don't take the time to make and kindle some joy in some faraway hearts -- and your own.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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