How to take care of your mental health this Valentine’s Day – yes, it does affect some of us

With the constant bombardment of a “picture perfect” Valentine’s Day in the media, retail outlets and even in the office, there’s more pressure than ever before

How to take care of your mental health this Valentine’s Day – yes

With the constant bombardment of a “picture perfect”
Valentine’s Day in the media, retail outlets and even in the office, there’s
more pressure than ever before

Valentine’s Day is seen as a day to bombard your special someone with lavish gifts or a fancy dinner date in order to show your love and appreciation for them. A lot of people will be looking forward to spending romantic time with their loved ones, but for others, it can feel like unnecessary pressure. So, how can people cope? David Price, CEO and workplace wellbeing expert at Health Assured has revealed four tips to that can keep you mentally healthy this Valentine’s Day.

Most holidays are a time to splurge on gifts as many people give in to societal pressures to go the extra mile for their loved ones – and Valentine’s Day is no exception. But for some of us singletons, living up to the unrealistic expectations of having someone to dote on this day can dampen our mood. Even people in happy, committed relationships can feel pressurised to perform extravagant gestures to somewhat prove their love to their partner.

However, it is important to be positive and focus on the good things around you rather than get hung up on negativity, Mr Price said. By concentrating on the positive things in your life, you will be able to keep yourself in good spirits no matter the weather.

“Keep positive: try your best to concentrate on the
good things around you
,” Mr Price said. “It’s easy to get hung up on negativity, but it’s a lot healthier to look for the things in your life that are going great. Make a list of the things that make you happy and another list of the things you’d like to achieve. Reminding yourself of the former and gradually crossing off the items on the latter will help to keep you smiling throughout the year, and go a long way to keeping your self-esteem up.”

Social media is guilty for creating fantasy world of perfection but truly, nobody really knows what is going on behind the lens. And on Valentine’s Day, many will take the opportunity to post pictures of their grand romantic gestures. Therefore, it can be good to take some time off social media as it can get a bit draining seeing #valentinesday popping up all over your feed, and feeling like you can’t live up to picture perfect ideal image people portray.

“Take a break from your social media,” Mr Price added. “While it’s fun to see what friends and family are getting up to, the barrage of #relationship posts all over Instagram and pictures of engagement rings on Facebook can get a bit draining and you don’t have to be single to feel that.”

Not everyone is into Valentine’s Day. Some people might not see the importance in expressing their utmost love to their partner once a year, while others might avoid public displays of affection altogether due to mental illness, introversion or social anxiety. It is important to understand your partner, their needs, concerns and to respect their wishes.

“Take care in relationships: it can be extra-hard at Valentine’s when you or a loved one is coping with a serious mental health issue,” Mr Price said. “While the intent is there, sometimes depression or anxiety can make celebration difficult. Be understanding if your partner doesn’t want grand, sweeping gestures. Someone with
depression and anxiety
or just plain introversion probably won’t appreciate a mariachi band cornering them in a restaurant as you propose. Use your judgment and tailor your day.”

Employers should also take into consideration the mental health of their workers this Valentine’s Day. Some people might become a bit withdrawn if they are spending the day alone or feel overwhelmed when everyone else seems to be celebrating but them. Even a small gesture such as subtly asking how they are can be a great help, and even politely directing them to employee assistance programmes or mental health services that can provide them with the care they need.

“Look out for your people: if you’re an employer, you probably know the people who work for you well,” Mr Price said. “Some of them might become a bit more withdrawn as they face Valentine’s alone, a small gesture like just asking how they’re doing can help. You don’t need to buy them flowers, just let them know
someone cares
. Of course, it’s a good idea to be subtle as well as caring, posters signposting mental health services in the kitchen, or gently suggesting the use of an employee assistance programme are good ways to make sure those who are struggling can get the help they need and deserve.”

Holidays more often than not come with added pressure to perform and give back to our loved ones, and can be hard for those who are spending it alone. With that being said, it is important to take care of ourselves and our mental health first, and to try and look at things from a positive light. And keep in mind, not all is as it seems. It also costs nothing to ask a fellow colleague or employee how they are feeling and show that you care about their welfare.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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