Valentine Schmalentine. The Straightforward Guide to loving yourself – and those around you – every day of the year

I’m not generally cynical by nature. Yet the tokenism of the card/chocolates/flowers formula makes me feel rather disappointed by what Valentine’s Day has become, at least here in the UK.

Meghan Fenn, author of Bringing Up Brits, recently wrote a great post about the way the UK differs from the US in the celebration of Valentine’s Day, and I loved how it seems over there to be about showing appreciation to people you have a bond with, and not just your partner.

Inspired by this, here’s the Straightforward Guide to loving yourself, your partner and those around you, every day of the year:

  • Take time

Take time for yourself, each and every day. Make it a conscious, chosen time, even if it’s just 10 minutes (finding you’ve been mindlessly lost in Facebook for the last half an hour doesn’t count). The glossy mag advice always seems to be to take a bath, but sitting in the garden listening to the birds for a few minutes with a cup of tea will do the trick.

Take time for your partner, your children, your colleagues and your friends too. It doesn’t have to be a whole evening or a special day out. Just putting down your phone and really listening to what someone has to say is a precious gift that you can give freely.

  • Be present

Cartoon by Henck van Bilsen

Cartoon by Henck van Bilsen

Yes, it’s a busy old world and there are lots of demands on your time. Multitasking has become the norm and is a hard habit to break. Yet even if you are doing the washing up or running to catch your train, being fully present in that moment is an act of love for yourself and the world. Being mind-full rather than mindful is what makes time seem to slip through our fingers.

Showing your love by being present around others may mean eating together round the table instead of in front of the telly, or closing your laptop, switching off the radio and being available for distraction-free conversation, even if it’s just for half an hour.

  • Say ‘I love you’ without words

Making time for yourself and others and being fully present will send out love messages aplenty. Ramp it up further by making your colleague a cup of tea when they have been working hard for hours, getting up early with the kids and letting your partner sleep in, cutting out a funny picture or story from the paper and giving it to a friend who will appreciate it, buying yourself a bunch of spring flowers for your desk or phoning your sister just to say hi. Little things mean a lot. Sure, a Valentine’s Day card is nice – and who would turn down chocolate? – but let’s keep the love, recognition and appreciation going through the rest of the year as well.

What will you do to spread the love further this year?


Valentine Schmalentine. The Straightforward Guide to loving yourself – and those around you – every day of the year — 2 Comments

  1. This is wonderful Claire, I love it! I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Jonah’s teacher was so pleased with his homemade Valentine’s Day card that she gave him a kiss. He was ecstatic and so excited to have done something special to show her appreciation for her. (And yes, it was the only one she got from the children in her class!!) I Love #2 Be Present. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the busyness of life especially with kids and work and, as you point out, it’s so important to make time and be present. It makes a huge difference. Thank you for the mention and I’m so pleased my post inspired you 🙂 xx

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Meg – and thanks for letting me see a different approach to Valentine’s Day through your fabulous blog! x

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