Mental Health

Valentines – Living the Single Life

Valentines Day is on a Friday this year, which means a decent amount of the population will either be at work, school, college or University on the day.

Personally, I’m leaving work early.

Is this because my beau has concocted some surprise to sweep me off my feet and have a magical day of celebration? No, it’s because I’m single as f*ck.

I’m leaving early because I have a massage booked in on that day. It got me thinking though, that’s a really nice way to treat myself. I wonder, what other ways could I treat myself that day?

Social

I know that as a singleton, who has always been single, I’m supposed to be offended by the very notion of Valentines Day. After all, it’s just another day. Only, if you’re not in a relationship it may inevitably fall into the category of “Single’s Awareness Day”.

However, I also love celebrations and pretty much any excuse for a celebration or reason to make a day special.

Contrary to popular belief, if you like to socialise in general you don’t have to spend the day alone. ‘Galentine’s Day’ is something I’ve heard thrown around numerous times. Hang out with your other non-committed friends.

Years ago a few friends came round mine, we had pizza, watched Sixth Sense and the Shining and played Project Zero. Admittedly it was more of an anti-Valentines, but it was brilliant nonetheless.

Movie Night

“Have a movie marathon featuring your celebrity crush”insider.com/single-on-valentines-day-what-to-do-2017-2

When I decided I wanted to do something for my self this Valentines Day, before I even considered writing a post, I did what any self-respecting millennial would do: I Googled it. This one was such a good idea, and I never would have thought of it, so I wanted to include it. I’ve linked the website where they’ve created their own list, it’s pretty interesting so I recommend checking it out.

A few ideas for a movie night include:

Full Out (Full Out: The Ariana Berlin Movie)

Full Out tells the story of a young gymnast who, after suffering a debilitating car accident which left a metal rod in her leg, was told she would never be able to return to the sport. She turned to dance and eventually found her way back. What amazes me is that this is based on a true story. While the frills surrounding the story may not be true, the core of the story is and it’s so inspirational. Ariana Berlin actually has a role in the movie and was the stunt performer for her own character. Her real life gymnastics coach also has a role.

If you enjoy movies with a focus on dance or gymnastics then I would recommend Stick It, The Step Up Movies or The Bring It On Movies (2-4).

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is a book to movie adaptation originally written by Ann Brashares. Four best friends are about to spend their first summer apart. One of the girls is visiting her grandparents in Greece, another is attending soccer camp in Mexico, one is visiting her father in South Carolina and the other is staying home. The girls find a pair of pants in a thrift store which somehow fits all of them. They decide to share them over the summer, mailing them along with a letter to keep in touch. This is such a feel-good movie, I love the scenes in Greece and it has a real focus on friendship. What’s not to love?

If you enjoy movies with a focus on friendship you may also enjoy movies such as Pitch Perfect, Mystic Pizza or Clueless.

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is a book to movie adaptation originally written by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie is loosely based on the non-fiction book. The movie tells the story of three African-American female mathematicians who had a crucial role during the early years of NASA as pressure increased to send American astronauts into space. This is such a fantastic movie, and so inspirational. If you haven’t watched it I highly recommend you do.

If you enjoy inspirational stories based on true events, you may also enjoy The Blind Side, The Imitation Game and The King’s Speech.

Wonder Woman

We’ve all heard of Wonder Woman. In this movie a pilot crashes off the Themysciran coast and is rescued by Diana. Upon learning of a war plaguing the outside world Diana, believing this to be the work of Greek God Ares, resolves to stop him for good. I absolutely loved this movie. It showcases strength and power but also love. It is incredibly well done and I absolutely recommend you watch if you haven’t already.

If you enjoy movies which feature kickass female characters and empowering stories, I’d also recommend Captain Marvel, Miss Congeniality, Maleficent, Legally Blonde and Coyote Ugly.

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is about a young man with big dreams. We follow the story of P.T Barnum and his troupe as they perform at the circus. It showcases individuals who are different, who aren’t what the world considers to fit into “societal norm” and are therefore ridiculed or considered outcasts. It showcases these individuals incredible talents and proves, you might be different – but sometimes that’s your greatest strength and no-one can take that away from you.

If you enjoy movies which show that you can be different and incredible then you might also enjoy Matilda and Hairspray. 

Reading Night

Perhaps you love reading and you want to spend the night curled up with a duvet, warm drink and a good book.

Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you want to spend your evening eating your way through Italy, finding your spirituality in India and your balance in Bali – then I would recommend you read Eat, Pray, Love.

Elizabeth Gilbert, a 34 year old divorced writer, embarked on a trip around the world to find herself, peace and happiness.

I listened to the audiobook and adored it. Whenever I think of it I feel re-inspired. It’s a breath of fresh air into an otherwise dull day.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a fictional account of a legendary film actress as she reflects on her life and how she became a Hollywood Icon.

Reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor, many want to know her story only known to a privileged few. Now, Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell her story, to tell her truth.

This is such a fantastic book. Become swept away as you fall into the glamorous yet scandalous life of Evelyn Hugo.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Journey back to just before the start of the millennium in Attachments. The internet isn’t something we quite yet take for granted, there was that whole Y2K thing (I say like I wasn’t 6 years old at the time. I’ve only just found out that the whole thing was over computer glitches??) and two colleagues working in a newspaper office spend their days emailing back and forth about their lives.

Lincoln is hired as an Internet Security Officer. Thinking his time would be spent building firewalls, there’s distinct disappointment when he finds out his main purpose is to read through company emails and forward any where the system is being used for personal or inappropriate matters. At first, the two women’s emails are a distraction from the dull working day. Invading their privacy nearly every day isn’t too much of a concern, after-all it’s his job and they’ve never met. Of course, both present a slight complication when Lincoln falls for one of them.

I understand there are mixed reactions to this book however, I am firmly on the side of cute. If you liked this you may enjoy The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

You, my friend, are off on an adventure with your best friend, for whom you just so happen to be harbouring a secret crush, on a Grand Tour of Europe. Your last chance to do something fun together before your father forces you to take over the family business. Oh, and did I mention you have to take your little sister?

A yearlong journey through sometime in the 1700’s, filled with pleasure, vices and reckless decisions, you’ll be taken on an emotional whirlwind which never fails to make you laugh.

The Martian by Andy Weir

If you fancy a reading and movie night, you can always read The Martian then watch the movie adaptation starring Matt Damon.

For a book about a man stranded on Mars, with no obvious way to return home, this book is fantastically funny and witty. It tells the story of a mans determination to keep fighting, keep working the problem in front of you and don’t give up. If you keep doing that, you may eventually solve the one which will lead you home.

Pamper Night


Professional

What I mean by ‘Professional’ is simply, you can go to a Beauty Salon and treat yourself. I’d advise going to one you know or which has good and trusted recommendation, but many places offer a variety of treatments.

If you’re feeling tense or stressed for any reason, then take time out and relax with a Back, Neck and Shoulder or even a Full Body Massage. A relaxing half hour to an hour, if done well, is guaranteed to leave you feeling like you’re walking on a cloud. Get a facial. Or even a treat “From You, To You” of a manicure or pedicure is sure to make you smile every-time you see them.

 At Home

It’s said so much that at this point it’s almost implied, but you can always have a pamper night in the comfort of your own home.

Let me set the scene. Choose the most comfortable room in your house, where you can chill out without being disturbed. Make sure it’s clean and tidy so that when you walk in later you can truly relax. Cluttered room, cluttered mind and all that.

Run a bath, light some scented candles and put on some relaxing music. If baths aren’t your thing then go for a shower, either way use your favourite products and take your time. Breathe in the fresh scents of your Vanilla and Raspberry, Floral, Shea Butter – whatever it is you use and love. You’re in no rush.

Tonight is the perfect evening to keep those candles lit and that relaxing music playing and do a face mask – sheet, mud or both, it’s your call. Take your time painting your nails your favourite colour, or experiment with new colours.

Have a warm drink and snuggle up with a book or a movie – whichever you want – and enjoy.

Night in with Friends

Pamper your soul by spending time with other friends who are also single – unless of course they have other plans for the evening. You could do this in person, invite someone round for a movie night, dinner or just a general catch up. You could also do this over the phone.

Sure Valentine’s Day is for couples to do their coupley things however, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with loved ones in different ways.

Tutorials

Pamper your mind. What are your interests?

Make up? Cooking? Baking? DIY? Dance? Art? Hair? Knitting? Writing? Coding?

Whatever your interest, I’m sure it’s on YouTube, or Pinterest, or a blog somewhere. Whatever it is that you think ‘I’ve always wanted to give that a go, but where do I start?’ Where better than with free resources on the internet? And if you love it, take it further.

Cooking / Baking

Speaking of Cooking and Baking, while you’re at it you may as well pamper / treat your insides too.

Take this whichever way you want. You can treat yourself to something indulgent you would never normally allow yourself, or you can nourish yourself with healthy foods and a small sweet treat if it takes your fancy.

It depends entirely on you and what you want, either way – no guilt allowed.

Better Yourself


Body 

Sure, you could be out having a romantic meal, or whatever it is people do on Valentine’s day, or you could be at the gym!

Yeah… I can feel you rolling your eyes.

Here’s the thing, you could work out if you really love it – plus this whole section is about “Bettering Yourself” so sure, take a class, but do you know that some gyms have a sauna? And classes like Yoga and Meditation?

If it’s something you’ve always wanted to try, why not today? You might find something you genuinely enjoy.

If you don’t fancy taking classes but the idea of Yoga and Meditation appeals to you, have a look on YouTube. There are tonnes of videos with so much guidance and at all different levels.

Also, working out doesn’t have to be cardio and weights at a gym. Move in any way – dance, for example. Again, rocking out in the comfort of your own home is totally allowed – and encouraged!

Mind

Alright, you can stop scoffing, I’ve moved onto the next section.

Perhaps you instead want to expand your mind and learn something new by reading or listening to a motivational book / ted talk.

My Audiobook Recommendations:
  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – need I say more? This book discusses exactly what it states it’ll discuss, i.e. it does what it says on the tin. Of course, that’s great in theory but in practice it’s a whole different ballgame. This book helps you to identify your fears and attempts to turn that fear and indecision into confidence and action.

  • Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy

Eat that Frog is a motivational book.

It’s a great book for if you’re feeling like you’re frozen and unsure of where to begin. Whether that’s in life or in your day to day tasks at first. Eat that Frog recommends you tackle the biggest problem first (aka the frog), and once the nastiest problem is done, the rest should hopefully feel like a breeze.

Of course, it goes into much more depth than that and I highly recommend reading it, but that’s something I’ve tried to apply every day to my working life and, whenever I remember, I’m always so grateful I read this book.

  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

I actually have an entire book review / topical discussion with myself surrounding Year of Yes, which I have linked if you’d like to check it out. I actually just read this myself and remembered an epiphany I came to whilst writing it – all detailed in a stream of consciousness in that post – which I’d actually forgotten about and it’s not something I want to forget again anytime soon.

Year of Yes is about a very successful TV Writer (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder) and how she was having a conversation with her sister one day, really excited that she’d been invited to this big time event, and her sister asked “So, will you go?” and she replied “No”, to which her sister responded flippantly “You never say yes to anything”

Clearly, it turns out this was not flippant to the author, and so she embarked on her Year of Yes. In short, saying ‘Yes’ to anything that came her way for one year. It was so inspiring, and it was such an entertaining read.

  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book is incredibly fascinating. It’s filled with accounts of people who have completely turned their lives around, case studies, marketing ploys – all of which focus on patterns which shape every aspect of our lives. Habits. Those things we do all the time, without fail. Without even thinking. The idea is that you can succeed by changing your habits.

It may sound odd, or even far fetched but honestly it was such an interesting read and it delved into so many aspects including personal lives, company marketing, memory loss, addiction, debt. If you have the time I would highly recommend. 

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

There are so many reasons that this is such a fantastic read however, my main takeaway from this book is how you can transform the outlook of your life by switching your mindset. In fact, once again I’ve written a whole book review for The Subtle Art, which goes much more in depth with my thoughts. 

What I will say that it is such an enlightening read and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.

Achievement

Do something which makes you think “I’m so happy I’ve done this”. Something which gives you a sense of accomplishment. 

If you’ve set a goal, whether at the beginning of the year or at any point, do at least one thing which will progress you towards achieving that goal. Not only will it make you feel good, but that feeling is kind of addictive and may even make you want to do more.

Plan for the Future

So maybe you want to work on your future but you’re just wanting a chill night

Or maybe you have no idea what the future holds and the thought kind of terrify’s you.

Either way, take a long slow breath – filling up the lower lungs first then the upper, hold to the count of three then exhale through your mouth while relaxing your face, shoulders and stomach.

If you’re feeling a little lost then perhaps tonight is the perfect night to spend with yourself. Don’t put any pressure on yourself, just sit quietly. Maybe you’d like a notebook to hand? Think about what you love and you would like to achieve. Think as big as ‘maybe I want to own a business’, or as small as ‘I want to start drinking Green Tea every day’.

“Bettering Yourself” doesn’t have to be on a massive scale. Sometimes it can be a small change, which might lead to another small change and another, but take your time. Go at your own pace, and don’t be afraid to dream.

Spend Time With You

In a time where we’re constantly connected through the use of instant messaging and social media. Where we have consistent external stimulation at school or work, forcing us to be social at all hours of the day or night, you may appreciate some time with yourself.

Disconnect from your phone, and just be with yourself for a night. Enjoy your own company, what do you want to do? Do you want to do anything? Maybe you want a nap or have an early night? Perhaps journal or express yourself in some other way?

The choice is yours of course, but don’t feel guilty for indulging in some time for yourself and your thoughts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, I’m sorry if it’s been a long one. I feel like it turned into more of a recommendations post, but I hope it gave you some ideas nonetheless. 

If you fancy reading more of my thoughts on ‘The Single Life‘, feel free to check out a post I wrote back in 2016. Not going to lie, I stand by it.

Whatever you do this Valentines Day, whether you’re spending it with someone you love, your friends or on your own – I hope you have a wonderful day filled with love and happiness.

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