From promoting materialism to designating only one day of the year to celebrating love…

Valentine’s Day receives a lot of flak from society regardless of one’s relationship status. Everyone has their own perspective on this ‘holiday’, but we are not only thankful on Thanksgiving, we are not only merry on Christmas. The way we see it, Valentine’s Day serves as a reminder to check-in with your loved ones, a reason to do something special, and to think of how you can share more love moving forward. This week we have gathered some ideas to enjoy this controversial occasion during the pandemic!

snowball fight

Do what feels right for gift giving

Are you buying flowers out of obligation or are you gifting your mom with flowers because you want to and know it will make her smile?

Have you budgeted for a gift or is it an unnecessary purchase that will negatively impact your finances?

Valentine’s Day is about more than flowers, chocolates, and jewellery. Don’t spend on such gifts just to meet the status quo, and if you do, do it because you want to and if you think it will be well received. Between a cooked meal, a handwritten letter, and offering a massage, there are many ways to show affection without breaking the bank. 

If you are buying, please shop local! We have a number of quality restaurants and retailers right here in Brock, many of which are accommodating curbside pick-ups and take-out orders. Get started here!

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Spread kindness

Everyone can benefit from some love and attention, especially now.  Reminding people that they matter is good for their mental health as well as our own. 

  • Challenge yourself to complete some of the days on February’s Action Calendar
    Kindness Calendar
  • Give Valentine’s cards to your co-workers outlining why you appreciate them
  • Tell your parents you love them
  • Shovel your neighbour’s driveway
  • Donate to or share information about a charity. Check out Coldest Night of the Year
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get creative

Sometimes a specific occasion, like this Hallmark holiday, can give us a boost of motivation and purpose to do something different and fun, solo or with others in the household.

  • Breakfast in bed: fluff up the pillows, open the curtains, and serve heart shaped pancakes on a tray!
  • Create a scavenger hunt: treat your mystery lover to an at-home adventure! It’s like an Easter egg hunt in February.
  • Utilize artistic expression: have a paint night, write a short story, or take photos of the beautiful winter scenery.
  • Bake: or try your hand at a no-bake sweet to share with your household or drop off a delivery to your neighbours, friends, or family.
  • Decorate: do something different with the surroundings you are immersed in day after day. Add in some pops of red (plates, mugs, tea towels), display a bowl filled with chocolates, make a heart shaped ornament to hang.
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cope with sadness

Cope with sadness

Many people do feel lonely around this time of year, as this day can be a reminder of what you do not currently have in your life, are struggling with, or have lost. Seeing the romance and love associated with Valentine’s day on social media, advertisements, and in stores can trigger negative feelings or depression. Try applying any of the following tips if this is the case:

  • Go through the motions: sometimes it can be cathartic to allow yourself to use this day to be sad. Get the feelings out of your system and don’t set any expectations in terms of productivity. Curl up and watch Netflix, eat some yummy food, and relax.  If you have recently ended a relationship of any kind with someone, make a list of all the reasons as to why you are better apart. Reflect on your emotional experience but decide to move forward the following day and get back into your routine. 
  • Avoid making comparisons: remember that social media is often a highlight reel. Just because you see posts of uber happy couples with accompanying sappy captions does not mean that they don’t have arguments and go through challenging times. Every relationship is different and if you choose not to share something, that is not reflective of how you feel about your partner. If you are not currently in a relationship, you are not any less whole. Being single has its perks and love comes in all forms!
  • Plan a get-together: build up excitement by having something to look forward to. Whether that looks like an outdoor walk with friends, a Zoom call with family, or a virtual game night, it feels good to be with people who are important to you and make you feel valued.  
  • Engage in healthy outlets: shift your thoughts by switching up activities. If you need to get out of your head, turn to a book, meditate, or change your environment (go outside or for a drive). Do something that will better you physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, socially, or intellectually. Even if it is one thing, a constructive change may activate the reward systems in the brain, allowing you to be more receptive to positive thoughts and feelings. 
  • Take action: if you have a persistent low mood, seek support. You can vent to a trusted friend/family member/colleague or call a 24/7 hotline like Distress Centre Durham 1-800-452-0688 or get connected to long-term counselling. Speak to your primary care professional for assistance or call us for more options.
Connect with Nature

show yourself some love

Make this holiday about appreciating you! You made it through a tumultuous year so honour and take good care of yourself! 

learn the love languages

If you want to communicate your love effectively, it might be helpful to learn how to best reach your romantic partner. People typically experience love through 5 general ways or ‘love languages’. 

  1. Words of Affirmation: Saying supportive things to your partner in the form of encouraging words and compliments.

Example: You tell your partner how much they mean to you without being prompted through discussion or expecting anything in return.

  1. Quality Time: Spending meaningful time with your partner in the form of giving your undivided attention and engaging in activities/conversations.

Example: You plan a date night with your partner and make them your focus.

  1. Receiving Gifts: Showing your partner you are thinking of them and listening to them in the form of a token or gift.

Example: You surprise your partner with a trinket from the thrift store because it reminded you of them.

  1. Acts of Service: Helping your partner reduce burden and ease their stress in the form of completing chores, tasks, or running errands without being asked.

Example: Your partner had a long and stressful day at work, so you have dinner cooked for them upon their arrival at home. 

  1. Physical Touch: Being physically close to your partner and showing affection in the form of consensual physical contact.

Example: You are at a dinner with friends and you put your arm around your partner or squeeze their thigh.

We typically give love in the same way that we like to receive love, but our partner might not understand our intentions behind our actions. Take this free quiz to discover you and your loved one’s primary love language(s)!

Use your own love language to care for yourself:

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