5 Things to Remember on Valentine's Day If You Have Anxiety

As someone with anxiety, I know holidays can be tough.

The social cues, the family stress, and the emotional toll it takes on our mental health are just a few reasons why.

The holiday that causes me the most stress is Valentine’s Day.

Here are five things to remember on this day.

5. If you’re alone, it’s OK.

You don’t need a significant other to enjoy this holiday. I know society tells us we need to be in love on this day, but use this holiday to love yourself. Do not feel obligated to have a date. Spend the day enjoying yourself, doing things you love. Whether it be writing, painting or watching romantic comedies, your happiness does not lie within someone else.

4. If this holiday reminds of you of something you’ve lost within the past year, it’s OK to be upset.

If you recently lost your significant other or went through a bad break up, it’s OK to feel hurt. It’s hard to feel OK when there are signs and decorations about love in stores, online and at the office. Just know you will get through this. Take time to focus on self-care. Snuggle with your dog, watch movies that make you happy or read a book. It’s just a holiday, and things will get better.

3. It’s OK to dislike the holiday even if you have a significant other.

I’ve been married for three years and still feel an ache every February. As someone with anxiety, the social cues are too much for me to handle, and I have a hard time explaining my feelings of affection. Just remember it’s OK to feel overwhelmed even if you do have someone to spend it with. Try to convey this to your partner so they understand. My husband tries to take me to cool activities rather than the stereotypical ones most participate in. This makes the holiday a little more bearable. Go to an aquarium, a museum or the planetarium. It makes it interesting.

2. If your illness makes it hard for you to enjoy this holiday, know you aren’t alone.

Whether it’s physical or mental, illnesses can sometimes take away the joy of a holiday. Know it’s OK to feel frustrated. It’s OK to get angry. Know there are others out there feeling what you’re feeling. There is no specific way you’re supposed to spend Valentine’s Day. If there’s something your illness limits you to do on this day, know you can make your own tradition. Reach out to others. Community makes things easier.

1. You can get through this day.

It may not seem like it, but you will make it through this day. You are strong. You are brave. You can do this. It may seem impossible if you’re struggling, but you can do it. Look forward to February 15th. The red and pink decorations will begin to disappear. The reminders will fade. Talk to someone around this time of year — a friend, a therapist, or a family member. You will get through this.

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