Valentine’s Day is nigh! While the world obsesses over romance this time of year, self-love tends to fall by the wayside. Even as we endeavor to destigmatize mental health conversations and reiterate the importance of self-care, loving yourself pales in comparison to lovey-dovey, soul-consuming romance. 

But guess what? You should love yourself like that. It’s not selfish — it’s selfless. As English historian James Anthony Froude said, “We enter the world alone; we leave the world alone.” 

Since we’re roughly in the same place as last year, I thought I’d share ways to practice self-love while at home this Valentine’s Day. 

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Read a book 

There’s nothing like pouring a cup of steaming hot tea, slipping into something comfortable and cracking open an engrossing book. Whether you’re diving headfirst into the latest YA craze or embarking on a literary journey courtesy of an immersive sci-fi page-turner, books are a balm for the soul. Plus, they nourish the mind! 

So, ditch the phone for a spell and grab your favorite paperback off the bookshelf. If you need recommendations, we’ve got you covered

Pamper yourself 

Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, and Melissa Fumero

Pretend you’re at a spa. Use your imagination!

Who says you need to leave your house for a spa day? You can pamper yourself while at home! There are countless facial kit options available for online ordering, removing the part where you have to get in your car and drive to your nearest beauty store. It’s perfect for those of us living in the middle of nowhere (a.k.a. me). 

You’ll find everything from charcoal masks, sheet masks, cleansers, moisturizers, glycolic peels, serums, mud masks, rose quartz rollers, microdermabrasion kits — the list is endless. Refinery29 goes in-depth on this very subject.

Watch your comfort show 

Ever since the pandemic started, I’ve found myself veering toward my comfort shows. If Netflix or Hulu calls your name, heed their siren song! Sometimes, all you need is a bit of lighthearted escapism. For me, anything comedic or heartwarming fits that bill. If you’re in a funk because of the bleak state of the world and need a laugh, watch your favorite TV series. Release those endorphins! 

My current comfort show: The Righteous Gemstones. It’s hysterical and surprisingly heartwarming. Additionally, it satirizes for-profit religion and celebrity evangelists, and that’s my kink. 

Exercise 

Speaking of endorphin release, exercise is excellent for elevating your mood! If you’re like me and you work from home, it’s easy to forgo exercise because you’re cozy in your PJs while your cat tries to take up real estate on your keyboard. We’re creatures of comfort, after all. 

In addition, getting your fit on helps you put self-love into practice. Your body’s your temple, so treat it as such. Don’t forget to listen to your body; don’t take on more than you can physically handle. Be mindful of that while you workout. 

On another note, you should exercise to feel good and stay healthy — f**k societal beauty standards. 

Set healthy boundaries 

D'Arcy Carden, Jameela Jamil, and Kristen Bell

You can hug on your terms!

Setting healthy boundaries applies to not only others but yourself. If Valentine’s Day triggers you in any way, protect yourself. Establish solid boundaries if any toxic person tries to weasel their way into your space. It’s a difficult lesson I’m still learning as a 30-something adult. 

If you wish to connect with loved ones on this day, you can do so at your discretion. Don’t give them a mile if they only give you an inch. Again, protecting yourself isn’t selfish, and if someone has a problem with your healthy boundaries, they need to rethink their priorities, just as you might need to rethink their place in your life.

A significant aspect of the self-love journey is cutting out toxicity. Life is far too short for that. If you need to, root out the toxic and damaging people in your life. 

RELATED: 5 Examples of Unexpected Romance in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

Positive affirmations 

Yes, you can! You might scoff at the idea of repeating positive affirmations to yourself, but as someone who strives to do this daily, it does work. Plus, as my therapist says, it’s all about taking things “one breath at a time.” It all adds up; every baby step culminates in more deeply rooted self-love. 

Fun fact: plenty of apps will send positive affirmations straight to your phone. I have a widget on my home screen that updates hourly with new messages for me to embody.

Here’s what I use. You can find it in the Apple or Google Play stores. 

Meditate 

Now, more than ever, life is all about “go, go, go.” Meditation can be challenging to grasp if you’re not used to stillness. But meditation works wonders for anxiety and helps you regain clarity and focus. It promotes overall wellbeing. While it’s not a cure-all, sometimes embracing those quiet moments helps us reassess what’s important. 

Like many people, I use Headspace, a fantastic tool for handling anxiety and facilitating sleep. Self-love starts from within, so treat your insides to the calmness they deserve. 

Indulge in your favorite meal 

Aziz Ansari and Retta in Parks and Recreation

Wine can also be a meal.

Valentine’s Day is about chocolates, candy and succulent dinners, usually between two people. But, in this house, we’re all about self-love, so treat yourself! Whip up your favorite meal and indulge. Open your Postmates app if you’re craving takeout. Regardless of your culinary skillset, give yourself the gift of your favorite meal in whatever form that takes. 

Get fresh air 

Depending on where you live in the world, it might be a little too cold for a long walk. That said, fresh air helps me recenter myself if I feel knocked out of my orbit. Take your dog on a brief walk in the brisk winter air, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Get some much-needed Vitamin D. Of course, seasonal depression affects millions of people, and it’s hard to keep your spirits up when it’s freezing outside. Let the temperature be your guide here. 

Make your space your sanctuary 

If you spend a lot of time at home because of work, you must make your space your sanctuary. Light candles, invest in comfy furniture, decorate that space with aesthetically pleasing/calming colors — do what you need to do to derive solace from your surroundings. I’m a big fan of blankets and fuzzy pillows. I also put my oil diffuser to good use (lavender oil is my favorite since I’m an anxious bundle of nerves). 

Everyone’s sanctuary looks different, so tailor yours to your wants and needs.

RELATED: 8 Video Games That Will Make You Feel Loved This Valentine’s Day

How will you practice self-love at home this Valentine’s Day? Sound off in the comments below!

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Melody McCune
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