Does being single on Valentine’s Day fill you with some sort of existential dread? If so, I understand. I’ve felt that way the past few years, too. But lately, I’ve been using the idea of Valentine’s Day as an excuse to fully celebrate not only other relationships, but my relationship with myself. With increased feelings of stressed and isolation brought on by a challenging year, it’s just as important to nurture our relationships with ourselves as with other people, romantic or platonic. In the interest of finding joy wherever you can these days, I offer you a guide (I use that term loosely) to what I will most likely be doing when this Sunday rolls around. I hope it empowers you, dear single reader, to celebrate the day however you see fit. After all, you’re calling the shots here.
Gather Your Friends
By now, we all know that February 13 is Galentine’s Day, a celebration of female friendships. Whether or not you observe it, Valentine’s Day is another great excuse to bond with friends, single or in relationships. Carve out a few hours for a Zoom catch-up, host a Netflix watch party of a classic rom-com, or play a good, old-fashioned drinking game on FaceTime. All relationships, romantic or not, are important to our well-being and make us feel loved in different ways. Reframing this holiday to be about nurturing all of our connections is just as important as celebrating romantic love. And thanks to technology, you can gather all kinds of loved ones in one place – your screen!
Drink Something Special
Nothing says special occasion quite like having something fun to sip on, be it a cocktail, a glass of bubbly or a booze-free treat. I’m looking forward to trying these low-ABV aperitifs from Haus in their sampler kit, and picking a few favorites to make a permanent fixture on my bar cart for future me to enjoy. Grab a to-go cocktail with your takeout order or a bottle of nice bubbly to pop. Treat yourself to the good stuff today, too. For some zero-proof fun, try one of Nope’s innovative flavors or pick some winners from their variety pack. Whatever you drink, toast to yourself and all of your wonderful attributes, you beautiful human.
Dress to Impress (Yourself)
I miss having an excuse to wear nice clothes, so at some point I’ll probably pull an old dress out of the back of my closet just to remember what it was like to get dressed up. Now, I can’t guarantee I won’t use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to wear cute PJs, even though I’ll probably spend the morning lounging in bed watching TV and drinking coffee. These days, even new loungewear can feel like a luxury, so grab something cozy and oversized to chill in like one of these affordably priced lounge sets from everyone’s favorite: Target. Think of the day as a celebration of you. The only rule here is that you wear what you want and feel best in – whether that’s sweatpants or sequins is your call.
Eat Your Heart Out
I like cooking, but I will be taking a break from such laborious tasks by ordering in a small feast on Valentine’s Day. Sushi is my favorite food, so I’ve already decided I’ll be swinging by The Handover in Old Town Alexandria to enjoy some spicy tuna rolls and a salmon poke bowl. If you’re in the mood to cook, surf and turf always feels special (especially when it features a champagne cream sauce, as this version does), as does this crispy snapper with chaat masala (saving both of these for a day when I do feel like cooking). Baking is my love language, both for myself and other people. In addition to being a great stress reliever, having treats in the house is a great way to enjoy the week ahead (and you can always drop a few things off to loved ones if you’re feeling generous). I’ve scouted out a few recipes, including red velvet cookies, vegan brownies with tahini and halvah, and lavender shortbread cookies with fruit, flowers and herbs. Maybe I’ll make one, maybe all, but what’s important is that I’ll have no shortage of treats both sweet and savory from local restaurants and my own kitchen to enjoy.
Do Literally Whatever You Want
Arguably, the best part of being single on Valentine’s Day is the freedom to be completely, totally selfish – no arguments or compromises about shelling out for a quality red vs. white with dinner, what or where to even eat in the first place, or pressure to make things perfect. Impressing yourself is an underrated concept. What I mean by this is, it takes practice to really listen to yourself and honor your wants and needs. So, if you want to eat all the fries, stay in sweats and rewatch “Gossip Girl” for the hundredth time, do it. If you want to get dolled up, make top-shelf cocktails and indulge in a meal from a pricey steakhouse – enjoy! What’s important here is that you’re letting go of expectations of what you should be doing, on this arbitrary holiday and beyond. More seriously, this improves your ability to advocate for yourself and really know what you want. Because single or not, you’re stuck with yourself for the rest of your life. Enjoy it – that’s a good thing.
Enjoy this piece? Consider becoming a member for access to our premium digital content. Support local journalism and start your membership today.