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Surviving the Day of Love!

It’s the week of Valentines, a Hallmark Holiday that can leave you feeling wonderful, or dismally rejected!

Valentines can be a day of great joy, or a day of immense sadness. Unfortunately due to the marketing techniques, and social expectations, many people end up being disappointed, feeling like they are not "good enough", and it continues to happen again and again.

What if we changed our expectations? What if we did not buy into the idea that this one day of the year determines if we are lovable?

What if we chose to use this day to reach out to those we care about, send cards to those who may be isolated, call friends we have not hear from for a while, to stop the busy merry-go-round of life and get connected....

Did you know that social connection is not only important to your mental health, but also for your physical health?

Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, says, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” (Psychology Today)

It has been proposed by at least one study by House, Landis, Umberson, that social isolation is worse for your health than smoking.

A Meta-analytic Review for that people who feel isolated and lonely have a decreased survival rate. We have all heard of couples where one dies, and the other follows shortly afterward.

Steve Cole, PhD., a researcher from UCLA has also found that genes impacted by social interaction, also code for inflammation and immune function.

So what does that mean on the Hallmark Holiday of Love?

Many people, and many you know and love, will feel very isolated on Valentine’s Day.

I propose that this Valentine’s Day, whether you are attached to the love of your life or not, you incorporate some new ideas that will enrich not only your day, but the day of someone who may find themselves feeling lonely.

1. Invite your friends, especially the ones who are not in a relationship, for a Friend’s V-day Lunch. I can’t think of a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than with my friends. No pressure, no expectations, and just plain fun!

2. Send a Card to someone who you know may be alone on Valentine’s Day. Maybe they recently lost their loved one, have gone through a divorce, or their loved one is deployed. There are many reasons why we find ourselves alone and sad on Valentine’s Day. Or even better, invite them for lunch or dinner!

3. Give someone a call, or stop by their desk at work, and let them know that you appreciate them.

4. Mend a broken relationship. We all have those people, or family, who we may have had a misunderstanding with. Pick up the phone, or send a letter or card, and let them know you are thinking of them.

5. Love yourself. One thing I have learned over the years is, loving yourself is one of the most single important thing you can do. No just for yourself, but for those you love. Stand in front of a mirror each day this week and look into your eyes and remind yourself you are loved, you are enough and that you are an amazing person!

6. Have a Spa Day! Take a friend and enjoy a day of relaxing, massage, facial, etc.

Just remember, this is a day that was created for commerce, and unfortunately it has become a holiday of unrealistic expectations, disappointment, and yes sometimes great joy.

The important this is that we stay connected, reach out to people you love, and do this every week, not just for Valentine’s. Connection, and a feeling of belonging, is imperative for your health, vitality and a happy long life.