14 Ways to Love Valentine’s Day No Matter Your Relationship Status

bitmoji-20160214070843Valentine’s Day stirs a myriad of emotions in all of us. Excitement, joy, relaxation, frustration, anger, annoyance. It’s interesting to me that so many of us allow a date on the calendar to invoke negative responses. What can we do to find joy in a day we otherwise wouldn’t? Check out my tips below and find one that works for you.

1. Love Yourself

I see a lot of people simply focus on their relationship status when Valentine’s rolls around. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, give yourself permission to love you. Living in a state of self love actually raises your ability to love and be loved by others. A quick (but often difficult) way to do this is to say it. Look at your beautiful self in the mirror and say ‘I Love You.’ Out loud to your reflection. Feel what happens as you look yourself in the eyes and declare your love

2. Love Others

Got Kids? Friends? Siblings? Parents? Research has proven that the act of giving actually makes us happy. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have found when people give it activates regions in the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust creating a ‘warm glow. Giving releases endorphin’s in the brain and lowers stress. These are all similar to the ‘love’ feeling.

3. Pamper Yourself

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about others or couples. It can simply and easily be a day all about you. Schedule yourself a massage, take yourself out to your favorite place for dinner, buy yourself a gift. And don’t worry about people seeing you out on your own, it’s not about them, it’s about you, and their opinion of you isn’t your business anyway.

4. Buy Flowers

Flowers are one of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day. And it is little wonder, while couples may use them as a token of love, the scent of flowers actually produces a calming effect and the sight of flowers brightens our mood. So treat yourself or the person you love to a brighter and calmer day.

5. Envision Love 

Maybe you have at least one great memory of a past Valentine’s Day or a past coupling. Maybe you know exactly what it is you would like to have in a relationship or pairing. Either way, rather than dwell on the fact that at the current moment you are not in that relationship, remember the good moments, imagine the romance you want in your life. What we think about, we bring about and if you are thinking about how miserable or lonely you are, you will feel miserable or lonely.

6. Do Something You Love

Who said Valentine’s day has to be about romantic love or couples? Make it a day of love anyway. A day of doing what you love. Seeing what you love. Eating what you love. Love is a beautiful thing and it is so expansive. Love goes well beyond a coupling and delves into objects and actions.

7. Eat Chocolate

You read that right. Keeping in mind the darker the chocolate, the better the benefits, chocolate has antioxidants which may lower cholesterol, prevent cognitive decline, and promote cardiovascular health. Plus it just plain helps you feel better. Who wouldn’t want that?

8. Bring out Your Masculine/Feminine Power

Tapping in to your personal masculine or feminine power is empowering and super amazing. It feels good to feel sexy and will actually put you in a better mood. And feeling empowered and sexy helps you become more desirable. So What does that look like? To tap into your masculine power go out to the shooting range, play video games or go for a drive. To tap into your feminine power, dress yourself up, do your hair and makeup, buy some jewelry, or cuddle up all soft and cozy.

9. Make a Love List

Want more love in your life? There is no better way to start than to appreciate the love you already do have in your life. Write down a numbered list of what or who you already have in your life right now that you love. This can include your kids, your pets, you car, your job, your favorite pair of jeans, your favorite food, your favorite color, get creative here (even list your favorite toe)! Write down as many as you can think of and for an extra challenge try to write a full list of 101 things that you love!

10. Choose Love

Believe it or not, all the feelings we feel in our lives boil down to a choice. We choose to feel angry, sad, happy, upset. I know it’s hard sometimes to feel any different than the way we are feeling in the current moment, and yes, it is healthy to feel all of our emotions. Anger, sadness, joy, and frustration all have their moments and purposes. You also have the option to choose how you are feeling. Rather than frustration, anger, or annoyance with Valentine’s Day – choose love, or at the very least peace.

11. Aromatherapy

The sense of smell truly is a gift. Scents can transport us to memories or make the anticipation of dinner a lot of fun. Aromatherapy is using certain scents to relax, enjoy, or feel invigorated. You can get essential oils from spas, health food stores, or online. Lavender has dozens of uses including a great calming effect and it can even help lull you to sleep. Peppermint is perfect for massages to relax muscles or create a stimulating effect. Diffusing Lemon essential oil can lift mood and fight depression.

12. Music

You want an instant change to your mood? Music is the key. You can use music to help you get in that angry mode during a great kickboxing workout, pound out a great cadence during a run, jazz you up, get your dance moves on, or even cry. Rather than staying stuck in that negative emotion, use music to move you through it. If you’re in a relationship, use music to pump up the volume!

13. Give a Card

Giving a card to someone you love is a great way to express the way you feel about them in beautiful and eloquent words. Plus it shoes you took some time to think about them. If you’re single, give a card to yourself. Why not? You deserve it. Find yourself something that is uplifting and hang it on your fridge to remind yourself of how amazing you really are.

14. Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is great to help you take a moment to breathe deep and stretch out those muscles. It gives you a chance to sweat out your emotions and get in touch with your body. Yoga is a grounding experience and you can do it as a couple or a single. Find a class near you and enjoy the breathing exercises and poses as you mediate. Don’t be surprised (or embarrassed) if you cry, yoga has a way of working out those stuck emotions. And be sure to bring a towel and water bottle and dress in layers – hot yoga really gets hot!

Whether you’re single or coupled or somewhere in between, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s day and take the time to enjoy and find the love!

Advertisements

4 Responses to Fear and How to Overcome Triggers

“I’m not going to smile.” I teased. He just tried even harder.

“I like it when you smile.”

“Why?”

“Cause you’re beautiful when you smile.”

It had become a game now and I was choosing to be stubborn and not give in to letting him see me smile. It was not easy.

“I’m still pretty when I don’t smile.” I responded.

“Fine.” He said, switching tactics. “I didn’t want to see you smile anyway.” He playfully pulled his hand out of mine to illustrate his point. It was a fast and sudden movement.

I flinched. I glanced at him and hunched my shoulders as I looked away trying to hide my flinch.

“Do you flinch?” He asked.

Something in those words. In the fact that it was an obvious movement. I knew he had seen it, even though I had hoped he hadn’t.

“Are you okay?” He immediately inquired. “I’m worried because I have never seen you flinch like that.”

I felt the familiar feeling of anxiety and a panic attack as it began to flood through my body. I began breathing hard and tears rimmed my eyes.

Fear-Quotes-30 2f473f3b35e4fc3d483180572748efc9 Fear-Quotes-42FEAR-QUOTES-COURAGE-ABSENCE-OF-FEAR

Fear and triggers. Not falling into the category myself, I don’t quite know for sure, but I would guess most people who say things like ‘Why doesn’t she just leave’ or ‘I would never let someone treat me like that’ have never been in an abusive situation and have no idea what it’s really like. So what it is really like? Why is leaving so hard? What is life like when you do finally leave?

In order to answer all those questions, it would take a lot of time and a lot more than one blog post. I’m just going to focus on two things for this post. Fear and triggers. Fear to explain why she doesn’t leave and triggers to explain what it’s like after.

Fear

Fear generally creates three responses in people, this dates back to cave men days when survival was our livelihood. Fight, flight or freeze. Most of us have heard of fight or flight.

Fight as a response in a domestic violence situation is least likely for a person experiencing abuse to react with, and if it is the reaction, it rarely turns out well. The man is generally the abuser and so generally the stronger of the two. Even then, when you are being physically attacked, fighting back when you are untrained proves to be difficult.

Flight is of course, when you run. Now running in the middle of a domestic violence explosion can be dangerous. It is in that moment that a person experiencing abuse is actually more likely to be killed. That response infuriates the abuser more, who is unwilling to give up his ‘property’.

Freeze is when you do nothing. And it is generally the safest response for the person being abused. The abuser doesn’t feel the threat of being left and doesn’t feel the tug to control the situation even more physically with someone who is fighting back.

Fix. When it comes to domestic violence I would like to add one more response to fear. And that is to fix. When your abuser is having their explosion sometimes doing all in your power to fix the situation is a great option. When an abuser is having their explosion they often are laser focused on whatever issue caused the explosion in the first place. The person who is experiencing abuse thinks if they can fix the situation, then it will diffuse their abuser.

In the middle of experiencing that fear, you’re one thought is survival. That’s all that matters. Present moment. Survival for you. Survival for your kids. The future does not even cross your mind. So often a person experiencing abuse lives from present moment to present moment just to survive.

Triggers

Even after leaving, it’s not an immediate release from your abuser. The memories of what they did can haunt you for years. Even when you do all you can to heal from the abuse. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to this healing.

Be patient with yourself. When it comes to healing from domestic violence, there is a lot to heal from. Every single instance of abuse leaves behind a little piece that needs to be healed from. There can be hundreds, there can the thousands. It can take days to heal from each instance, it can take years to heal from each instance. You can heal from several at once, or one a time. Whatever the case is, there is no set formula and no set time frame. Everyone is going to heal at different rates and in different ways. Allow yourself your journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be patient with yourself.

Face your trigger. When you’re ready, I challenge you to work through your trigger. I know it’s hard, and I know it’s more scary than anything you have ever done. I also know that you will be faced with it again and again until you work through it. Once you work through it, it will no longer haunt you. There truly is nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Give yourself time. That said – facing your triggers, it’s okay to give yourself time before you face them. It’s okay to find that safe place, to create that safe haven around you, whether it be your own home, a job, a family, whatever that is. Feel that feeling of safe. Bask in safety’s glow. And when you’re ready, you will be granted the opportunities to heal and to be better. Just don’t let that safe haven become an excuse to never move foward. With every person who heals from a hurt, the propensity for others to also heal increases.

Search out tools. There are hundreds of tools out there you can search out and find that will help you to heal. Ask for help. There are free options. There are paid options. Here’s the thing. You can find these tools to either help you cope with situations as they come up, or to even help yourself heal from the situations before they ever pop up as triggers. You don’t always have to go through the discomfort of a trigger if you do the work yourself before hand. You may still have triggers pop up, but they will be fewer and further between.

The biggest message I want to get out there, is to stop asking ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ or saying ‘I would never let someone treat me like that.’ and instead ask what you can do to stop the cycle of abuse and say the words people don’t say. Talk about abuse. Talk about domestic violence. Teach each other a happier and healthier way to treat others and be treated.