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  • Natasha Hillman, LPC, CSAC

How to Enjoy this Valentine's Day: Managing Expectations & Practicing Self-Care

It’s that time of the year again…when we start seeing huge stuffed animals in stores, cards with hearts, chocolate shaped hearts, and heartfelt commercials of couples professing their love for one another.

While Valentine's Day can bring a lot of warm and inviting feelings, it can also bring a lot of other feelings of anxiety, sadness, etc. In general, it can begin to feel like A LOT!

While society paints this holiday as one to cherish the one you love, it doesn’t always take into consideration just how complex love is. Regardless of whether you’ve been with that special person for 6 months or 6 years, it can often feel like a challenging task to make this holiday one to remember. It can begin to feel like:

  • I need to make this Valentine’s Day something unique and even greater than years past.

  • I need to plan something special for my significant other and flawlessly execute this plan.

  • I need to write something profound in a card for my loved one.

  • What’s the price of my love?

When it comes down to it, we all have expectations of what Valentine’s Day should be like--an idea or picture in our heads of how it should look.

But all of these expectations also create huge potential for being let down. Whether it’s not being with the one you love, being single AF and lonely, or feeling like you didn’t celebrate the holiday as you had imagined--all of these experiences can bring feelings of disappointment and can honestly suck!

Social media also tends to portray picture perfect relationships, especially on this holiday, that in reality DON’T exist! With all these expectations...

It’s important to be mindful of the comparisons we’re making and how we’re measuring our own expectations; If we’re not careful, our own efforts might undermine what we’re truly trying to accomplish.

We often get so wrapped up in the outcome of things (making it "perfect"), that we lose sight of the process (the actual meaning and love we want to feel and show). With that being said, here are some tips for a more enjoyable and mindful Valentine’s Day:

  • Talk with your partner about what this holiday means for you and for them.

Your partner may not have the same views as you, but it’s important to know what the holiday means to you both so that you’re able to develop more open and honest communication within the relationship. This will help to manage expectations of each other and of yourself. Not to mention, these types of authentic conversations will demonstrate to your partner greater meaning than any store-bought present.

  • Use your creativity! For example, you and your partner could cook something new together, create a vision board (poster board that visually depicts your relationship goals, dreams, and desires). It doesn't need to be about spending a lot of money or creating a picture perfect scene like that celebrity couple on Instagram. Which brings me to another point...

  • Challenge one another to a “no electronics/no social media” Valentine’s Day. This eases the number of comparisons we’re making with other couples and allows us to be more present with ourselves and our partner.

  • Consider an experiential gift in place of a “big ticket item.” For example, the two of you could plan on going to a paint night together or have a relaxing night at the spa--something that is renewing for yourself individually, as well as for your relationship.

Regardless of our relationship status, it’s important for us to be present with ourselves and be attuned to how we’re treating ourselves (mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally).




If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Natasha, you can reach her via email:

or call our intake line: 608-709-6972

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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]

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