Long before I spent February 14 waiting on a “surprise” flower delivery or writing love letters, I spent it indulging. At school, I’d dig through notes from my elementary school classmates while enjoying one of many lollipops. At night, my grandmother would cook a candlelit dinner: spaghetti, a heart-shaped chocolate cake, and pink punch in a big glass bowl. We’d eat cherry gummy hearts and truffles as hors d’oeuvres, then grab a few more for the road when it was time to head home.
More treats—most often including a hand-cut, heart-shaped valentine from my mom—would follow, and that night I’d fall asleep thinking about how loved I was. February 15? Always a bit of a letdown.
I still adore Valentine’s Day. To be fair, I do have a sweet boyfriend… and friends who appreciate fancy dinners and a mom who still makes me homemade valentines. BUT if celebrated right, I think that anyone, no matter their propensity for romance, can have a shot at loving it, too.
May conversation hearts never go out of business.
Make it nice
Whether you settle for a candlelit takeout spread or a night at the orchestra, spend at least part of the day enjoying something special. Wear cashmere for no reason. Infuse your water with basil and strawberry. Get the extra shot of espresso.
Break out the rose tones
Sometimes you just need to add a bit of warmth to your palette. Studies have shown that the color pink may promote calmness, and it looks good on just about anyone.
Skin to skin
Do you know about touch deprivation? Humans physically need touch, and lack thereof can contribute to anxiety, stress, and even difficulty sleeping. If you’re feeling starved for some skin-to-skin contact, take some time for a massage. Don’t have the time? A simple hug or handshake can help, too.
Giving something previously loved a new life! How’s that for a V-day metaphor?
Learn a little
Do you know your love language? Where Venus falls in your astrological chart (and what that means)? How your great-grandparents met? Ask thematic questions and settle in for a bit of self-exploration in the name of love.
The Greek myth of Eros (AKA cupid in Roman mythology) and Psyche is a great read. I’m partial to Stephen Fry’s retelling in his wonderful Mythos, but you can search the tale for yourself and see what you find. Otherwise, there’s always Nora Ephron.
Here’s a list of great films to turn to when you need a lift.
Feast your eyes
Did you know it’s scientifically proven that looking at photos of cute animals reduces stress? The same can probably be said for Harry Styles music videos; I’m willing to conduct the research.
Grab the camera
Practice self-adoration by taking some photos of yourself—for personal use or to send to someone special. Clothing optional, affirming talk necessary.
Because what better gift is there than being excited about the future?
Share the love
We all need a little tenderness sometimes. If you had a kind thought about someone recently, share it. Bake cookies for a neighbor, make valentines for your local retirement home, and act on any other great ideas that pop into your head.
Grab the glitter glue
Homemade valentines are a classic and extremely sweet way to take into account all the people in your life that mean something to you—once you start thinking of who should get a valentine it’s hard to stop. Pick a theme—there’s nothing wrong with cut-out hearts!—craft to your heart’s content, and send them on their way.
Write a love letter
Don’t feel like getting too artsy? A pen, paper, and some nice words will do the trick, too. Pro tip: Address the letter to yourself and revisit it when you need a pick-me-up.
Take a bubble bath
Not that you ever need an excuse.
Lean into it
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate! The ripest berries! Champagne! Velvet! There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics.
Sophie Vilensky (@sophiavilensky on Instagram and Twitter or if you met her in second grade) is a Real Housewives scholar and naturopath’s daughter. At this point in time these things are very important to her.
BY Sophie Vilensky - February 11, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.