You Don’t Have to Like It
Let me just begin this article by saying that I unequivocally hate Valentine’s Day. Yep, I said it. I would just bet that a large number of you feel the same way but have never voiced your opinion. I mean, after all…it’s Valentine’s Day right? A day of love…Not really, it has the highest suicide rate of all of the Holidays. (1) The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Make that call if you are thinking about self-harm.
When I was a child, I truly loved this chocolate-filled Holiday. The psychological implications were irrelevant to my existence as a young child and I just couldn’t wait for my Daddy to walk through the door with two boxes of chocolate magic. I knew that it was magic because that day was the only day in the year that my beautiful, but anorexic, Mother allowed me to eat candy with abandon. We would receive those heart shaped boxes with the glee of toddlers on Christmas morning and rip the ribbons off and dig in. We would watch T.V. and eat all of the best chocolates out of the box by about 9:PM and then we would begin cracking the others open to see what abominations lay inside. Over the course of the next week or two, even those would slowly disappear. I believe the mocha cream was the last to go. I believe that some of our fascination with this day is that we think that we have a license to gorge ourselves on chocolate and somehow think that those calories don’t count.
Ribbons and Lace
As I grew up and went to school, I loved sealing store-bought valentines the night before the magical day for every child in my class. I wrote their names on them. I was taught that no one could be left out. We always bought enough to give one to everybody even if it meant having a lot left over. We were not well-to-do but this was just good manners. Not a single child could be overlooked. Apparently, all parents didn’t feel that way. There were a lot of kids who would just give valentines to their best friends. What that meant was that there were some kids who only got one valentine, mine. I got one from everybody, I think, and I always felt so bad to see those children who had learning disabilities, or had some other trait that made them unpopular, crying looking at their almost empty bag. It had begun. The forced affection of the day was apparent in having to give a valentine to kids that I had just as soon punched and the sadness and depression that this damnable day could invoke in some already sad people was on blatant display.
Honey, I’m Ho-me!
In adulthood I began to observe the strange traditions that are central to this day. Married couples that argue all the time feel compelled to gift each other and feign affection on this day much to their dismay. God forbid that anyone forget! That’s just another excuse for a shouting match. Ladies, do you really want flowers if you have to raise Hell to get them? If your man is buying you a gift to avoid an argument, is that a good thing? Romance by it’s very nature has to be spontaneous, otherwise it’s just another job, like taking out the trash. Don’t allow a lapse in memory or simply his not looking at the calendar rain on your parade. This day has nothing to do with his feelings for you. It’s a commercial, economical farce that manipulates and plays on our emotions.
We often describe the feeling that we may have after a lost love as having a broken heart. It’s a real thing, and on Valentine’s Day those feelings run rampant. “Broken heart syndrome is a temporary condition that can cause chest pains that may mimic a heart attack. It comes on during a stressful situation and may include an enlarged heart that doesn’t pump well, although the condition normally subsides along with the overwhelming stress.” (2) If you have symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain and difficult breathing, call 911 and get to the emergency room as quickly as possible. The same stress that brings about Broken Heart Syndrome can bring on a heart attack.
Make It a Good Day
The same tricks work on Valentine’s Day that work on every other day of your life. If you are struggling with negative emotions, it’s even more important to stick to your good nutrition and activity routines. Avoid sugar. It will make you more emotional with the insulin dump you will get to digest it. You will already have excess cortisol, your stress hormone, circulating if you are overly emotional. You don’t need to keep throwing logs on this fire. If you work out, with your doctor’s permission make it a good workout. It’s good for stress. Eat well-balanced high protein meals rounded out with complex carbs. Get your rest. Good self care will see you through the most stressful of times. And for Heaven’s sake, avoid sad songs, movies and people! Avoid anyone who stresses you out. This is a good practice every day but especially if you are struggling yourself on a difficult day of the year. Take the time on this day to care for yourself. Don’t expect or wait on some one else to do it.
Again, it all comes down to making a decision. Are you going to allow a man-made, commercial, economical event to ruin your day or end your life? C’mon, you’re smarter than that. You’re reading this website. Take control and create the life that you want to have. The power lies within you. Get up and go.