Contrary to the deluge of advertisements, magazine articles and greeting cards floating around right now, not everyone looks forward to Valentine’s Day. Lots of people can’t stand it. Hate it, even. (I know; I used to be one of them until I got engaged on Feb. 14th five years ago.) It can seem like just another excuse to spend money and an opportunity to wish your love life were somehow different.
If you detest this time of year or just aren’t looking forward to this particular V-Day, try these simple ways to shortcut through the schmaltz and societal pressure and go straight to what this high-pressure holiday is really all about. Not flowers, chocolates or over-priced dinner reservations, but love. May one or some or all of these activities help you transform Valentine’s Day into an opportunity to recharge your love batteries.
- Spend time with a baby. There’s nothing like staring into the eyes of a wee babe to get you contemplating the mind-blowing nature of life and remind you of how we all need to care for and be cared for by others in order to thrive.
- Stretch open your chest. Opening the chest and ribcage — the physical home of your heart — can also help expand your metaphorical heart. My fellow Gaiam blogger Sadie Nardini has 6 excellent heart-opening poses to try. This kind of heart-opening yoga sequence is also excellent for lifting your mood, which could be just what you need if this Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly a happy holiday for you.
- Go on a hugging spree. Full-on, front-body-pressed-up-against-front-body-hugs create unspoken intimacy, relieve tension and give you that crucial aforementioned recharging. Not everyone will be game for a major embrace. But the next time you greet those special people with whom you have a physical rapport and solid level of trust, give yourself the green light to hug with impunity.
- Listen to heart-swelling music. Certain songs light the fire of love. For me, they include Stevie Wonder’s “As” Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing,” and Cheryl Lynn’s “To Be Real.” (I’m showing my age here, I realize.) If you need a nudge toward feeling more expansive and loving, let your iPod do the talking.
- Get in touch. Resting your hand on your heart as you take a deep breath is a quick yet powerful way to connect to your heart, even in the midst of a nutty day. You can feel it beating, and remember that there is more to you than your to-do list or your swirling thoughts.
I’d love to hear how you get back in touch with your loving nature when you find that you’ve retreated back in to your shell. Please leave a comment and share!