by Carla Molina
Valentine's Day always feels like I'm standing at a fork in the road - bear right to the land of romantic skepticism or swerve left for the high road of self-love. Instinctively, turning right feels like the best choice. It's a free pass to roll my eyes every time I pass someone with flowers, balloons, or a goofy, smitten grin on their face. It also puts me one step closer to becoming a grouchy, old single lady and that's a fate I'd like to avoid.
So, I choose self-love.
I gave up the Prince Charming narrative a long time ago. I'm here to save myself every day, every moment. Single motherhood means I've got demands on my time, my mind, and my physical space every second of every day (or at least it feels that way). It takes a concentrated effort to remember I have to take care of myself before anyone or anything else. Instead of seeing Valentine's Day as a glaring spotlight on the lack of romantic love in my life, I'm going to take it as an opportunity to practice loving myself how I deserve.
How we love ourselves is, after all, how we teach others to love us. If like me you're not dating anyone, spend this Valentine's day loving yourself and let it be a reminder of the kind of love.
1. SAY THE WORDS. Every time you pass by someone with flowers or a balloon or any reminder of this couple-focused holiday, pay yourself a compliment. Remind yourself over and over how wonderful you are.
2. SOAK UP HEALING WAYS. Put on your favorite sheet mask, kick back, and enjoy Forever35, a new podcast about "the things we do to take care of ourselves." From the hosts sharing their morning and bedtime beauty routines to talking about the joy of taking baths, the best face masks, and even pimple popping, these ladies give you dozens of ideas for how to take care of yourself on the daily.
3. PUMP THE BRAKES. Remind yourself you're not missing out on anything. Sure it's important to get back out there but from these dating horror stories, it's okay to take your time.
4. DANCE IT OUT. Got the kids tonight? Let loose with a dance party fueled by this lady empowering soundtrack. Originally created to inspire young girls, the songs on this list are the perfect reminder that you are enough. It'll leave you ready to conquer the world.
5. READ UP. Head to your local library or bookstore and pick up a book that celebrates being single on Valentine's Day. Curl up at the end of the day and realize you're part of a long lineage of wise women who reveled in their single status.
6. POWER UP. Pre-order your Black Panther tickets then get yourself ready psyched by watching Captain America Civil War on Netflix. Take breaks to call your people to make sure they've gotten their tickets and prepare the perfect outfit for opening night.
7. ADD SOME SHINE. Clean something. I know it sounds crazy but I can attest to the power of how clearing out physical space always corresponds to a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Our physical spaces tend to reflect what's happening for us internally. So clear out some space and make room for something that makes you happy.
8. SAVE ON THE SPA. Get a massage. Cut your hair. Get your nails did. On a budget? Find a beauty school near you. They usually have prices way below that of a regular salon or spa. And without shame, I'll share I've gone and spent $5 at the mall massage chairs when I needed to relax.
How will you love yourself today?