Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Single Girl's Survival Guide to Valentine's Day

Being single isn't always easy. And being single on Valentine's Day? That can be even tougher. It's something I used to dread. I'd do anything to prevent being alone on February 14. And then... something changed. 

After spending a few years in an unhealthy relationship where I gave too much and received almost nothing in return, I realized that sometimes being on your own is actually a lot less painful than trying to keep things together with someone else. I'd so much rather be single and at peace than coupled up in chaos.

Still, Valentine's Day for singles can sound depressing. But after spending last year's Hallmark holiday completely on my own, I have to report that it was actually pretty blissful. That surprised me at the time. I took steps to make it feel special, but I wasn't really expecting to enjoy myself quite so much. And now, I'm actually looking forward to being single on Valentine's Day again this year.

After all, love isn't just for romantic relationships – and there's so much more to life than that one type of partnership. So if you're looking for ways to celebrate Valentine's Day when you're single, I'm sharing what I learned (and what I did) so you can reclaim this day and find the joy in it. 

My Single Girl's Survival Guide for Valentine's Day

single girl's guide to valentine's day

Treat Yourself Like You're Your Own Soulmate

I've been single for 4+ years now, but I think I've figured out why last year was the best Valentine's Day I've ever had: No one knows what I like more than I do! I can always count on me to buy my favorite candy or my favorite flowers. If I buy myself a little gift, I know I'll be thrilled to receive it. And if I make my own plans, I never have to worry about being let down. 

If you want to know how to celebrate Valentine's Day single as a Pringle, treat yourself like you're your own soulmate. Buy your own chocolate and bouquet. Get yourself a gift that you might not otherwise buy for yourself. Make plans that you'll love, even if there isn't anyone in your life to experience them with you. Don't wait on someone else to make you happy. You can do that just as well (if not better) for yourself.

Create Your Hype Girl Playlist

Music is incredibly powerful. The right song can instantly lift my spirits. So whether you're feeling a little down or just want to keep the party going, I highly recommend making a single on Valentine's Day playlist to carry you through.

I'm outing myself as a grandma here, but I don't use Spotify. (I literally still buy songs on iTunes – sue me.) Regardless of how you listen to your music, curate or find a playlist that makes you feel confident, empowered, and joyful. Here are some songs that are guaranteed to pump me up:

"Good as Hell" – Lizzo
"I'm Every Woman" – Chaka Khan
"Made You Look" – Megan Trainor
"Get Into It (Yuh)" – Doja Cat
"Man! I Feel Like a Woman" – Shania Twain
"No Scrubs" – TLC
"Who Do You Think You Are" – Spice Girls
"B*tch" – Meredith Brooks
"Savage" – Megan Thee Stallion
"abcdefu" – Gayle
"Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops)" – Blu Cantrell
"Shake It Off" – Taylor Swift
"Up"  – Cardi B
"Shout Out To My Ex" – Little Mix
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" – Cyndi Lauper
"Push It" – Salt-N-Peppa
"Barbie Girl" – Aqua
"Run the World (Girls)" – Beyonce
"Lady Marmalade" – Christina Aguilera, et al
"When I Grow Up" – Pussycat Dolls
"King of Anything" – Sara Bareilles
"Perfect Day" – Hoku

What tunes did I miss? Let me know what songs you'd add to this playlist in the comments!

Make a Spread of Your Favorite Foods

When some people picture being single on Valentine's Day, they might think of eating a sad frozen dinner. That doesn't have to be your fate! While getting your favorite takeout (or an overpriced heart-shaped pizza) is an awesome option, I also like going the charcuterie-board-and-lots-of-desserts route. That's what I did last year and it felt super festive! I definitely went a bit overboard and got way more food than one person could possibly eat... but then I had leftovers for the rest of the week! Indulging in a favorite food – especially if it's not something you have all the time – can be a great way to celebrate being single on Valentine's Day. Think of it this way: you don't have to compromise on a restaurant or cook a big meal (unless you want to!). You'll get exactly what you want without having to consider anyone else. 

Watch an Uplifting (or Distracting) Movie

Watching a movie is one of my favorite ways to relax. But when you're a single woman on Valentine's Day, you might feel like avoiding conventional rom-coms and films that end in happily ever after. I'm at a point where I can enjoy watching a good love story at any time, but I wanted to share a bunch of movies to watch on Valentine's Day when you're single to distract you from reality (or give you hope for the future).

  • The First Wive's Club
  • Music & Lyrics
  • Austenland
  • Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Amelie
  • The Break-Up
  • The Parent Trap
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Mean Girls
  • Charlie's Angels
  • Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
  • Ocean's 11
  • Legally Blonde
  • Miss Congeniality
  • 9 to 5
  • The Italian Job
  • Practical Magic
  • Ever After
  • Romy & Michele's High School Reunion
  • Knives Out
  • Julie & Julia
  • The Birdcage
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day
  • Spice World
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Clueless
  • That Thing You Do!
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous
  • See How They Run

Set Aside Time For Yourself

Since Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, you might have to work for most of the day. I have more flexibility with my schedule, so I like to end my workday a little early and schedule some activities to avoid doom-scrolling or being too tired after 8 hours in front of the computer. This year, I might give myself enough time to take a hot shower, do a bit of pampering, assemble my snacky spread, and select my entertainment for the night.

Even if you can't duck out early, don't treat the plans you made with yourself as an afterthought! When you're a single woman on Valentine's Day, you should prioritize what makes you feel your best. If you're planning to celebrate the weekend before, mindfully carve out some quality alone time. Surrounding yourself with friends or family can be helpful, but I eventually realized I was doing that out of fear. Once I actually took away the distractions, I was able to enjoy myself a lot more. It can feel scary at first (especially if you're not accustomed to being alone), but now I prefer it.

Wear the Comfiest Clothes

I love dressing up more than just about anyone. But if I'm planning to stay home by yourself on Valentine's Day, I'm all about being comfortable. I'm talking fleecy pajama pants, an oversized tee, a soft robe, and slippers. For something like this, a hoodie + leggings > a new dress. Of course, I still like to stay on-theme when I'm in lounging attire... but you don't have to follow suit. :) I think I'll be wearing these Old Navy heart pajamas this year! 

Don't Make it Mean Everything

Truly celebrating Valentine's Day when you're single can feel impossible at first. But really, it's just another day. It's not a reflection on your worth or on how desirable and lovable you are. I promise. Don't fall into that trap. 

Being a single woman on Valentine's Day doesn't mean you've failed or that you should be ashamed of where you are in life. I've struggled with feeling this way a lot in the past. But remember: you never know what's going on behind closed doors. That "perfect" relationship you're envying might not be so idyllic. And getting the chance to connect with yourself and prioritize your wants and needs is priceless.

If nothing else, you will survive being single on Valentine's Day. Even if it sucks, at least you'll have some chocolate and be wearing sweatpants. But it doesn't have to suck quite so much if you have this single girl's survival guide on-hand. And when you don't feel much like showing yourself some love, just know that I'm sending lots of it your way. 

old navy heart pajamas

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