Research shows that anxieties around finding a partner, keeping one and feeling content within the one we’ve got frame major areas of impact when it comes to our mental wellbeing. Societal pressures around relationships and marriage continue, and these impact on men as well as women. For those who haven’t quite managed to lock down that special someone, who might recently have gone through a break up or who might be moving through difficulties in a current relationship, Valentines Day can bring up some not so loved up feelings.
It’s not uncommon for men still flying solo on Valentines to feel the weight of some of the idealised pressures V-Day brings when it comes to being a single serve rather than a double. Feelings of embarrassment, shame, sadness, anxiety and grief over past losses can all come flying through.
Particularly as we get older (or when literally everyone’s making engagement posts on Facebook) this can add a real hit to our mental wellbeing. No matter how often lads might call it out, feeling anxious or moving through lows about being single is more common than you might think.
All these factors can be make for a less than warm and fuzzy Feb14th, and if you’re flying solo this year and feeling the pinch, you’re not alone. So what are some ways we can hit back if Cupid’s arrow’s misfired this time round? Below are 5 tips for getting through if you’re moving through the Valentines Blues.
1. Call it out, and Own It
With the added weight of Valentines really driving some of the pressures around finding someone home, it’s key we call these feelings out and know that they’re normal and ok. What’s even more important is owning who we are and where we’re at, regardless of relationship status. There can be a real sense of pressure, and even embarrassment, around being a single bloke when V-Day rolls around – it’s vital we remember that being single, or having just come out of a relationship, offers no bearing on who we are, or what we’re worth. Owning the fact that we’re single, and reminding ourselves to come up for air when we’re being hit by the wave of V-Day shout outs and couple dinner photos on Insta, can be a key way to pushing on through. Being single isn’t a reflection of who you are or what you’re worth. It’s important we own that.
2. Turn The Tables
A lot of the anxiety, lows and questions about our worth that being single on Valentines Day can bring come from a place of focus on what we lack. On a day that often pushes and markets idealised images of love and relationships it’s easy to get lost among all that pink and forget who we are and what we’ve got as individuals. It can be helpful to actively hone in on this during this time if you’re feeling some of the windburn from flying solo. Hear me out, and give a gratitude exercise a go – it’s backed by science to have the potential to bring some big gains. Take some time to sit back, reflect and write down the parts of yourself and your life that you’re proud of and are thankful for. Regardless of whether you’ve got someone to buy roses for or not.
3. Talk Time
Men are much more likely than women to keep fears around relationships, anxieties around being single and our mental struggles in general to us. Statistics point to the fact that if you’re feeling the bite of Valentine’s blues (and not in a good way), then you’re definitely not alone. Chances are that your single mates, and even those in relationships already, will know what you’re going through, and we have a better chance of cutting V-Day blues and those negative thoughts off at the knees if we air them out to others. Whether it’s brining back memories of the one that got away, grief around a recent break up or fears we’ll forever be dining solo each Feb, talking it out and seeking support from someone in our corner can really help.
4. Bromance > Romance
Research shows that in some ways, that bromance relationship you’ve got with your mate can bring just as much benefit to health and wellbeing as a romantic relationship can. Without getting just as corny as that Valentine’s card itself, this can be a good time of year to thus show appreciation for the people in our lives – even if they’re not that special someone. If you’re moving through Valentines alone this year, lock in on a plan to celebrate it anyway. Go stag for the evening and organise a catch up or night out with the lads. Celebrating the kinship and support we get through our mates, and making a day of it anyway, can be a great way to diffuse those tough feelings that being alone on Valentines can bring.
5. Treat Yourself
Much of the anxiety, sense of pressure and punches to mood that Valentines can bring if we’re single comes linked to thoughts that not having a partner means something more about us as a person and our inherent worth. It’s common to question why we’re single, and what that means about our worth. But it’s important we remember to flip the coin and show ourselves a bit of love on V-Day too – in whatever way that works for you (I know what you were thinking there). Ramp up the self cares this week with some regular exercise, social time and solid sleep. On the day, treat yourself to something you’ve been holding out on, bank a great meal, go for a run, plan a catch up with a mate or research that overseas trip. The first relationship we have is well and truly with ourselves, and so Valentines Day can be a good reminder to hone in on just that.
If depression is affecting your life or you need someone to talk to, please do not suffer in silence. Support is available here.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
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