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Taking the Pressure off This Valentine's Day

Don't get swept up in the drama, but let yourself get carried away in dreams.

Ready or not, it’s already here. Barely have stores finally gotten rid of their 80 percent off Christmas clearance items that stores are already in full swing donning their pinks, reds, and hearts galore. A holiday that folks seem to love or hate, Valentine’s Day is often referred to as one of those Hallmark-created holidays to bring in a little bit of extra revenue after the Christmas surge. However, it is also a favorite among women who simply love roses, chocolates, and an extra reason to justify the pairing of two quintessential favorites—pink and glitter. Ok, maybe I’m just talking about myself on that one. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful regardless of whether you are single or coupled. There are lots of ways of enjoying your favorite chalky conversational hearts without that nagging feeling that you didn’t quite get it right this year.

Talk about it!

One of the easiest ways of not finding a solution to a problem is by avoiding it altogether. Many times folks just watch the days ticking away closer to the holiday without a clue as to what to do. Dinner with the single girls, a movie with your husband, or the old, “let’s not, but pretend we did.” Pressure can mount when there isn’t the slightest clue as to what the game plan is. The easiest trick is also the simplest. Talk about it. Express ideas, concerns, even fears. Need to stick to a gift-giving budget, or nixing that altogether for an activity instead? Openly discussing things is the only way to Valentine’s success.

Setting the bar…low.

Once conversations are under way, it can also help to check your expectations. What are you really hoping for? Fireworks over the bay post opera and 5-course dinner, or just a way to spend special time with a loved one? Often disappointment comes from expectations that are not met. So spend some time thinking about what you want, and also what’s realistic. Facebook may cloud your vision of reality as the few friends who had magical getaways can catch your eye and lead to a serious case of keeping up with the Joneses or figuring that the grass is always greener. Instead, figure out something realistic, but more importantly something sincere. Maybe conversational hearts are sentimental or take you back to the childhood days of hand-crafted valentines. Simple can often mean the most.

Traditions aren’t just for Christmas.

Coming up with something novel and original every year can start to feel like a chore when the whole purpose of the holiday is to acknowledge loved ones. So why not just start a tradition? Maybe it’s a wine and canvas night, couples’ yoga, baking red velvet cupcakes, taking flowers to the women in your family, or settling in for popcorn and old Hollywood romantic classics. If you came up with something last year and it worked, then why fix a broken clock? Traditions like exchanging cards with hot cocoa in hand under a blanket by a fireplace are cozy and warm. So figure out what works for you and repeat!

Have a moment of gratitude.

As easy as it can be to get swept up in the material aspects of any holiday, it can help to just stop and be grateful for what you have and who is already in your life. Valentine’s Day at its heart is really about acknowledging love, which is why it’s always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s stopping to realize how fortunate you are to have a community of family, friends, and loved ones. So close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just bring to mind all the wonderful moments you’ve experienced in the last year with your loved ones. Maybe it was vacations, or just dinners with intimate conversations. Whatever it was, allow yourself to relive those experiences and have gratitude for all that is.

For more sweet and sappy posts, follow me on Twitter at MillenialMedia.

More from Goali Saedi Bocci Ph.D.
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