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You Don’t Hate Valentine’s Day, You’re Just Doing It Wrong

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Valentine’s Day is impossible to ignore.

But really, why should we? While society has done an exceptional job of convincing us the day should be about chocolate, cute couples going on dates and romantic love, we could choose to approach the day a little differently this year, because there is another way of looking at it. Instead, what if we focused on the love we have for everyone in our lives, ourselves included? Love is all around us, and it’s a wonderful, beautiful, essential thing to be celebrated.

What if this year we reclaim Valentine’s Day from its societal expectations, and turn it into a day dedicated to showing love to everyone special in our lives instead? Best friends, parents, children, siblings, and spouses, of course.

I like to think it isn’t a coincidence that Random Acts of Kindness Week takes place during the week of Valentine’s Day. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that kindness increases our love hormones (oxytocin), which improves our overall heart health. It also makes us happy and energetic, and is especially wonderful when modelled to children. What could be more important than showing them that kindness always wins and there are many ways to show love to someone, not just those we’re romantically involved with?

My plans for February 14 include dropping a hot, homemade dinner off to my in-laws (which I’ll prep this weekend), sending a text to my oldest friend to tell her I’m thinking of her, and visiting my grandmother in her nursing home. My kids usually get new books and homemade cookies, and my husband and I plan to light a fire, drink a bottle of wine we’ve been saving and watch something fun on Netflix.  It sounds like a lot of work, but in reality, it’s all very simple and spreads love and thoughtfulness in a few effortless ways.

If you’re looking for a few more ideas for turning Valentine’s Day into a day of love for everyone and anyone, here are my top suggestions:

Make a Meal for Someone In Need:
This might be your elderly neighbour, very pregnant best friend, beloved in-laws, or someone going through a particularly difficult time. Bestowing a homemade meal upon someone in need is one of the easiest ways to say, ‘I love you.’

Call Your Mom:
Or your Dad. Or anyone you really care about. They’ll love hearing from you, and you’ll love the feeling that comes from brightening up someone’s day.

Write Love Notes for the Kids:
Savvy staffer Leslie and her husband, Dave, cut out coloured paper hearts and tape them to their girls’ bedroom door. On each heart they write down something they love, admire, or are proud of about their girls like, ‘I love your kind heart’, ‘you are so funny,’ etc.

Love Yourself:
Celebrate all that you are and what you’ve accomplished and do something nice for yourself on Valentine’s Day. Buy yourself some new books, take yourself out for lunch, get a manicure, etc.

Buy Coffee for a Stranger:
I always love hearing stories of someone pulling up to the drive-thru window to collect their morning coffee, and as they hand over some cash are told that the car in front of them already paid they bill. This year, why not be the person who picks up coffee for your coworkers, partner, daycare provider, parent, or stranger in line behind you at Starbucks?

Send a Note/Email/Text:
Write a memorable message to someone who isn’t expecting it. It could be the first person you think of when you open your app/email, or someone who’s been on your mind recently.

Netflix and Actually Chill:
Get cozy at home and hang out with someone you care about. If it’s a close friend, watch a chick flick that’s smart and funny (Love and Friendship), and if it’s with your spouse opt for a film that’s hilarious and romantic and about all kinds of love (Crazy Stupid Love).

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