Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day shows up like clockwork every February 14th. And there’s nothing you can do to change that.
What you can change is your attitude about this holiday.
I suggest using Valentine’s Day as a reminder to mindfully check in on the most important relationships in your life—your partner, dearest friends, children, and especially yourself—and see if you’re really taking care of them.
All relationships involve work, and here are 5 tips on how to reconnect, repair or recommit to the most important ones in your life:
1. Spend some quality time with the ones you love.
Turn off the technology, have an actual conversation, and do something you used to love to do together.
Maybe that’s going to a matinee and then discussing the movie over a glass of wine with your partner instead of watching Netflix at home. Or maybe you check out the latest Boot Camp class with your BFF instead of comparing classes you’ve each taken solo.
Sometimes we stop doing things because we’re used to doing them with a partner. If you’re solo and love to go to the theater, check out the listings and remember that you can usually get a better seat when you only have to buy one ticket.
2. Do something for your loved ones that they would absolutely love.
If your boyfriend really wants you to be closer with his sister but you haven’t had time to socialize, invite her over for dinner so the three of you can hang out.
Not sure what would put a smile on your dad’s face? Just ask! And remember, you can take care of yourself in ways that you usually reserve for other people: buy yourself those beautiful tulips to brighten your day or give yourself a break and take a “mental health day” off from work.
3. Do a self-inventory and take responsibility for your relationships.
The only person you can truly change is yourself. Really. I know that’s hard to accept, but all that time you spend thinking about how you might be able to get your partner to change is wasted time.
Instead, think about what you can do to make your relationship better and do it! (Read this post for 3 essential tips to improve your relationship.) Hint: think about what it is that your partner/mom/daughter always seems to throw back at you in his or her lowest moments.
And also watch for how you might be undermining yourself: Are you too critical of yourself? Are you not giving yourself enough credit for your accomplishments?
Be on the lookout for those seemingly innocuous self-deprecating comments you make (read this post on how to rid yourself of negative thought patterns), and stop yourself the next time you start to say or think them.
4. Set a goal and work toward it together.
There’s nothing better than a shared goal to reconnect and solidify a bond in your relationship.
Maybe it’s time to start volunteering as a family at the local food shelter or get your girlfriends to sign up for a 5K and start training together. Working toward a goal is a great way to build meaning in your life and improve your mood, whether you do it with someone or go solo. I guarantee it.
5. Take a moment and remember what you loved about your partner in the beginning of your relationship.
Then take a moment to think about what you love about them today—and tell them!
And don’t forget to remind yourself about what you love about yourself. It’s easy to get so focused on what we want to improve about ourselves that we rarely stop and acknowledge what’s already great about ourselves.
Reconnecting, repairing or recommitting to your relationships can be fun.
I’m going to take my own advice this Valentine’s Day and binge watch season two of House of Cards with my husband. We’ll spend quality time together, doing something he’ll love (bonus: me too!), and then I’ll tell him what I love about him.