Why I Hate Valentines Day
Valentines Day was my least favorite holiday when I was a RN working in the Emergency Department because it was one of our most frenzied days. Men came in with chest pain, women came in with mental health crises. It was always a very busy day of tending to broken hearts.
Thinking back on my own experiences with Valentine’s Day, I realized that I had fallen into the trap of trying to make a “perfect” romantic day happen. I spent money on silly plastic heart things that were harmful to the environment and made in China. I spent hours trying to pick out a card that said exactly the right things, when I could have just written those things down myself. I compared my Valentine’s Day to other people’s seemingly perfect experiences like getting gifts and going out to dinner. When I was in a relationship, my expectations were very high. When I wasn’t in a relationship, I wanted to crawl under a rock for that day. It was depressing and sad. I thought to myself, Valentine’s Day should be celebrated differently.
Here’s what I would do to help heal the broken hearts and take the pressure off of February 14th. First, I would change the name to “Love Day” and put an end to having to explain the martyred saints story. Love Day would be the day you tell whoever or whatever you love that you are grateful to have that person or thing in your life. It would be about expressing love, kindness, compassion, and empathy for the things you sometimes take for granted. Imagine waking up on Love Day and starting the morning off with gratitude for the sun streaming into the room, your pet sleeping next to you on the bed and you are looking forward to telling the barista at your local coffee shop how much you appreciate their skills. But, the best part of the day is when you realize you are going to be spreading appreciation, care and concern to as many people as you can, including demonstrating kindness and compassion towards yourself. Love Day would be all about strengthening your self-love abilities.
How do you strengthen your self-love abilities? Self-love means accepting your emotions for what they are, and putting your physical and mental health first. Self-love motivates you to nurture your well-being and make healthy choices in your life. Self-love is having boundaries and protecting your own energy. It’s not competing or comparing yourself to others or worrying about their opinions of you. Self-love is surrounding yourself with supportive people who care about you. Self-love can also help free you from the stigma that mental illness is somehow your fault, it’s not. Seek counseling and remember that you are worthy of being loved and you deserve happiness. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a dear friend. Allow yourself to make mistakes and accept yourself without harsh judgment. Learn from your mistakes and build your emotional resilience. Recognize you are worthy, and gain confidence in yourself that you are doing the best you can. Give yourself permission to be human.
As a RN and mental health advocate, the best thing I can advise is for you to nurture your heart and your health. If you’re with me on this, and you feel the need to break away from the commodified tradition of Valentine’s Day, then let’s celebrate February 14th as Love Day!
Jackie Krieger has lived in Park City since 1979 and worked as a local RN since 1996. She currently works as one of CONNECT Summit County’s Peer Navigators and fields calls, texts, and emails from local community members seeking mental health resources. She is very passionate about healthcare being holistic, affordable, and accessible and loves working in her community.
If you are looking for mental health resources, reach out to [email protected] or 435-776-HELP (4357) and one of our Peer Navigators will support you.