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Be your own Valentine

Eight self-care strategies for this February 14.

Article Author: Johnny Woodhouse

Article Date:

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For those who are single on what is considered "the most romantic day of the year," take heart: Not everyone gets struck by one of Cupid’s legendary arrows by Valentine’s Day.

But there’s nothing wrong with being your own “not-so-secret” admirer.

Instead of scratching February 14 off the calendar and acting like it never happened, why not treat yourself well with any number of self-care strategies?

Katie Gilsenan, BSH, a wellness coach with the Nocatee Center for Healthy Living & the Ponte Vedra Y Healthy Living Center, and Shanique Ampiah, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist with Baptist Behavioral Health, have eight suggestions to celebrate yourself or your loved ones this Valentine’s Day or year-round:

  1. Be comfortable in your own company. "Self-preservation is not selfish," said Dr. Ampiah. "Treat yourself to roses or that little trinket you’ve been eyeing. Take yourself out to dinner, no apologies needed. You know yourself best, which automatically makes you the best date ever! You're more than worth it."
  2. Send a little love their way. Valentine’s Day is a great way to show the people in your life how much they mean to you. "Pick up the phone and call an old friend or send them a thank-you card, flowers or a box of chocolates," Gilsenan recommended.
  3. Start a gratitude journal. "Highlight things you’re proud of yourself for," said Dr. Ampiah. "There’s nothing too trivial because everything reflects your best effort in that particular moment, so acknowledge it."
  4. Write yourself a love letter. "Start by making a list of all the qualities you like about yourself," Gilsenan said. "For instance, 'I have great hair' or 'I’m really a good runner.'”
  5. Random acts of kindness. "Have your own 'British Bake Off' and give your sweet, home-baked treats away to a complete stranger or a charity of your choice," Gilsenan said.
  6. Compassionate service. "Volunteer your time at a local hospital, nursing home or animal shelter, or at any number of virtual volunteer opportunities," Gilsenan said.
  7. Spa day experience. Dr. Ampiah said, "Plan a spa day or turn your home into your own spa. Scented candles, a nice bath bomb, your favorite playlist and voila, you’ve created an in-home spa experience."
  8. Laughter, the best medicine. "Go to a comedy club with your good friends or guy or stream an online stand-up show," Gilsenan recommends.

Self-care is necessary before you can help others.

"The adage of 'putting your own oxygen mask on first' not only instructs the response in the event of an in-air crisis but can be extrapolated to everyday life," Dr. Ampiah said. "We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves, and doing so requires making the conscious decision to regard ourselves as worthy: worthy of love, respect, nurturing, acceptance, happiness, and worthy of investing our most precious commodity, time, to ensure we exemplify this by valuing ourselves."


Baptist Health wellness coaches can help guide your self-care journey, taking you from where you are to where you want to be. For directions to one of our six Y Healthy Living Center locations, visit BaptistJax.com.

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