Admittedly, there can be a fusion of categories, like those in-love couples who declare V.Day an over-hyped commercial holiday and refuse to let it dictate their show of love, or the woe-is-me singles who moan and groan that they’ll never find love and that Valentine’s Day is a minefield, or an insult, for anyone without a partner. Ergh, enough already! Why can’t we all just look at Valentine’s Day as a lovely convenient excuse to share a little more love with the world in whatever capacity that may be? Surely there is enough doom and gloom and misery and sadness in the world already (and that’s before Trump!) – whining about lack of love or the inflated cost of dinner and a bottle of wine isn’t going to do anything about it. I prefer to spin V.Day my own way, making a conscious effort to put a little extra love out there and hope it makes a difference to someone somewhere. If you need a little help envisioning this type of Valentine’s Day, I’ve come up with a little list of super simple ideas (in no order of preference) to get you started. I’m not suggesting any of the below can heal a broken heart or help you find your future partner, but if nothing else they’ll hopefully put a smile on your face (and perhaps someone else’s) and you don’t have to feel as though you’re contributing to the corporate machine. It’s just one day of the year after all.
1. Love thy animals OK, so they may not understand the concept of V.Day, but if you feel you’ve got no one to share your heart with, don’t forget our four-legged friends have the ability to be absolutely filled with love. Whether it’s simply taking the time out to take your own pooch for an extra-long walk, snuggling by a heater with your feline friends for an extra hour in the evening or buying some them tasty treats and toys from the pet shop as a special gift, there’s no denying that the unconditional love you receive from an animal is pretty hard to beat. If you don’t have a pet, you can benefit from the feel-good factor that comes from walking the stray dogs that are impounded at Sa Coma, volunteering for an animal shelter or you could even use the occasion as an excuse to adopt (don’t shop!) your very own fur baby. But of course, remember, a pet is for life, not just Valentine’s Day so be sure it’s something you really want and can care for. I promise you, from my own personal experience… once you have the love of an animal, you will never feel lonely again. Oh, and if you happen to be allergic… watch some funny cat videos on YouTube and make a donation to a shelter and I guarantee you’ll still feel the love. 2. Help the homeless At this time of year in Ibiza, the homeless population becomes more apparent – just as the conditions outside become too cold for comfort (this weekend is set to go down to ZERO degrees!). When you’re faced with this harsh reality – seeing people sleeping in cardboard boxes and begging outside the supermarkets on a daily basis – it puts things in perspective and makes you very aware of just how lucky you are. While you’re worrying about love or lack thereof, homeless people are battling to survive and many of us (by us I mean me and anyone reading this blog) are in a position to make a difference. If you hate the idea of paying extra money for a swish dinner on V.Day, why not ditch the idea altogether and offer to buy some food for a homeless person? (Of course – you can always do both!) Or donate some warm clothes and blankets to charity? We should always do our best to help a fellow human being in need, on any day of the year, but why not show a little extra compassion on the day that’s dedicated to love?
3. Care for the environment One of the things most of the people I know in Ibiza have in common is the love for Ibiza’s amazing environment. The stunning Mediterranean Sea, the gorgeous countryside, those lush green hills and forests, our beautiful beaches and the clear blue skies… if heaven is a place on earth, we know it’s Ibiza. If you haven’t got plans on Valentine’s Day, why not dedicate some time to giving love back to the earth? Whether you take the initiative to organise a beach clean-up or simply prefer to stroll the sands alone and collect rubbish as you contemplate life, doing your bit to keep Ibiza beautiful is a true act of love. Of course, there are plenty of other ways you can help conserve our environment – it could be as simple as saying no to a plastic bag when you’ve bought your lover a Valentine’s Day gift or refusing straws in your cocktails while on a romantic Valentine’s date. Every little bit counts. 4. Reach out to anyone you think feels lonely While depression is being talked about and treated more often these days, the fact remains that when you’re in the depths of it, you may feel as if it’s never going to end. And when half the world is indulging in chocolate-coated strawberries and partaking in over the top public displays of affection because it’s Valentine’s Day, it can make those who already feel sad and alone feel much worse. If you have a friend or family member who you know isn’t in a good place right now, take the time to reach out. A text, a phone call, a pop-in visit, a friendly ear or a shoulder to cry on can make all the difference and reassure others that they aren’t alone in the world. If you’re reading this blog and the shoe is on the other foot… please, please, please remember you are NOT alone. It’s ok to reach out and ask for help. If you feel like you have no one to reach out to or don’t feel comfortable speaking to family and friends, there are places and people and organisations that can provide the support you need. Here in Ibiza, there are a variety of free and confidential support groups – visit this link for more info.
5. Embrace the concept of self-love I have to admit, the terms self-love and self-care can kind of make me cringe now they’re such catch words in today’s society, but the reality is… it’s really important to love yourself! If you’re single and you wish you had someone to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for… look in the mirror! It could be a yoga class, a massage, a beauty treatment, journalling or some kind of healing session. Although, I personally don’t think self-care always has to appear in the form of wellness. It could be (and now, this is just my opinion and I am sure all the wellness experts may disagree – but hey, it works for me!) buying that really expensive pair of shoes you want. It might be eating a three-pack of Kit Kats for breakfast (guilty!). It might be binge watching all eight seasons of Modern Family for weeks on end (especially guilty). It might be staying in your pyjamas and drinking wine while you sing at the top of your voice to Lady Gaga (erm, also guilty!). Listen, it might not always be healthy but if it makes you happy? As Sheryl Crow once famously said, it can’t be that bad…