12 Ways to Make Your Partner Feel Special on Valentine's Day When They're Depressed

When your partner has depression, it can make Valentine’s Day a challenge — especially if you want to make the extra effort to make them feel loved.

Maybe your partner is struggling to get out of bed most days, and you’re worried an elaborate date night may not be what’s best for them. Or maybe you struggle in the romance department and just need some help coming up with creative ideas to celebrate your loved one.

Whatever your reason may be for wanting Valentine’s Day suggestions, we’ve got you covered. We asked our mental health community to share with us one way a partner could make them feel special on Valentine’s Day when they were feeling depressed. Of course, everyone is different, but these ideas might offer some inspiration.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Helping Out With Chores

“Clean the house for me. Cook me a meal, etc. Acts of service mean a lot to me.” — Sonam S.

“Change the bedsheets, take out the recycling, freshen things up.” — P.J.

2. Buying Flowers

“After our daughter was born, I had severe postpartum depression and holidays seemed to exacerbate the situation. The flower shop delivery person was at our door six different times throughout the day. (I was a stay at home mom). By that evening, I had several varieties of plants, flower arrangements, chocolates and a stuffed bear.” — Kellie V.

“To be perfectly honest, simply sending those cliche flowers would make my heart swell. And a planned date — ‘planned’ as in ‘I made plans and this is what we are doing,’ not just ‘I don’t know, what do you want to do?’” — Jaisi J.

3. Not Celebrating Valentine’s Day at All

“To not even acknowledge the day. I’d rather my partner put effort in every day instead of just one. It’s the road you take, not a single stop that matters.” — Shannon M.

“My husband and I choose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day due to a painful past event in each of our lives. Instead, we do ‘just because’ things for each other all the time, not just on one day of the year. We’ve done it this way for all 18 years of our marriage and it’s still working for us.” — Malayna D.

4. Going on an Outdoor Date

“The only way I get out of the darkness is by putting one foot in front of the other. So if you are feeling low on Valentine’s Day I would suggest a date that requires movement. Mini golf? A walk that includes special surprises on the route? Dinner on one stop, desert on the next stop, candy on the next stop. Final stop, drinks? Then Uber home!” — Stacey B.

5. Giving Them a Massage

“Massages. My depressive episodes make my joints ache as well as create deeper pains throughout my back. Physical touch from my partner on these days reminds me I’m cared for and loved.” — Grace B.

“When I’m feeling down, my partner gives me a full body massage with essential oils.” — Kammi S.

6. Spending Time and Effort on Them

“The most important thing he could offer me would be time. His time. That’s what means the most to me, just spending his time with me. Even if we’re not really doing anything other than cuddling and talking or watching a movie.” — Hailey M.

“Effort. Lots of effort, on planning the tiniest of things. No big event, just effort. Showing effort, shows caring. Knowing that someone cares and truly wants to show you, speaks volumes when it comes to depression and anxiety. It’s hard enough living with it every day and constantly trying to give all I can emotionally. It is nice to know I’m cared for and that I’m important enough to remember the smallest of things. I give and give and give and always feel like I’m never enough or never good enough. Like I’m a constant burden because of my depression, anxiety and PTSD. I want to know people can see or find the fun in me and make me feel like I’m a genuine part of something and that I’m wanted there without being made to feel bad.” — Rachel O.

7. Giving a Surprise Gift

My boyfriend completely surprised me on Valentine’s Day last year by showing up at my house right around the time I usually wake up with several super easy gifts (my favorite ice cream, my favorite Subway sub, a small stuffed bear and something I’d been meaning to buy myself for a while). We weren’t planning on celebrating until later that week, so it was a complete shock when I opened the door and it was him. Those kinds of things help my depression by getting me out of bed and immediately put me in a positive mood.” — Courtney L.

8. Having a Stay-at-Home Movie Night

I would rather get a pizza, some popcorn and lay on the couch just like any other evening. I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day, other than my mom getting stuff when I was little, and I don’t plan to start now. We all deserve to feel wanted and appreciated every day.” — Emily L.

9. Showing Physical Affection

A kiss on the head and knowing they’re there if I need to talk, to sit in silence or to cry. Just simply understanding.” — Emma T.

“A hug, it’s as simple as that. No over the top sh*t or declaring his love to me… [for me] it’s about knowing he’s there regardless.” — Anna L.

10. Helping Them With Personal Hygiene

“When I get really depressed he helps me bathe and brush my hair to keep up appearances and to keep me healthy, since I have sensitive skin and I’ll break out if I don’t bathe regularly” — Autumn C.

11. Treating Them to Self-Care Time

“Sometimes self-care can be really hard with depression and it makes it hard to feel attractive, so treating you to a nice haircut and manicure/pedicure would be a thoughtful gesture. Maybe the day before Valentine’s Day so you can go out on a date feeling beautiful the next evening.” — Amy C.

“With things like bubble bath and candles. I don’t buy them for myself because it feels self-indulgent, but they are a good reminder to take it easy and be gentle with myself — and it encourages me to do something I enjoy, even if it’s something small.” — Jill A.

12. Just Loving Them

“If I had a partner, the best thing I can think of would be to just love me and not give up on me.” — Jennifer G.

For more date ideas for people with depression, click here.

For more things people with depression want their significant others to know, click here.

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