Single on Valentine’s Day? Get Over It and Start Celebrating!

Five ways to spend V-Day without hiding, gorging or crying yourself into a depression.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Possibly the most dreaded commercial holiday in the calendar year for single people. For some, being part of a “lonely hearts club” is like having to spend a day in the dentist’s chair: nauseatingly painful. The flower bouquets, chocolate hearts and sappy Hallmark cards are a salty reminder of just how single you are. And the pressure to find that "special someone" can be agonizing.

Don't worry. It’s not you, it’s society, said Aileen Cunanan-Dwight, a licensed clinical social worker from SanDiegoTherapyLCSW.com, who treats clients in Rancho Bernardo and Poway.

Societal pressures can create anxiety and desperation, feelings you want to avoid.

“Being single during this holiday is often an inaccurate, distorted reminder of not fitting in, not feeling ‘chosen’ or being 'enough' unless you’re coupled—despite the many qualities and achievements that they may have,” she said.

So, how should you spend the day of love? Here are a few suggestions:

• Celebrate your fabulousness: Go on, you deserve it! Nothing says fabulous like self-pampering. Get a massage. Skip work to finish that book you’ve been reading. Shop for new accents to make over a room. Indulgences are a great self-esteem booster, said Cunanan-Dwight. “They add to the habit of self-love and nurturing that you need to first offer yourself in order to attract and offer that to others,” she said.

• Toast yourself and your friends: No need to hole up watching cheesy chick flicks and cozying up to Ben & Jerry’s. Get up and get out. Gather friends and head for a wine bar. is hosting a valentine-themed “The Wines of Love” tasting Sunday. For $30 a person, you’ll get a two-hour education on a selection of wines, including an Australian vino “Carnival of Love.” “It’s fun, and you always meet some folks and there’s lots of conversation at the bar,” said Jim Parker, director of wine. Reservations are recommended and are filling up quickly. To reserve your spot, call 858-673-7512. Or you can split a bottle among friends and enjoy appetizers on the patio.

• Spread the love—volunteer: A study conducted by researchers at UC San Diego and Harvard found that kindness is contagious. It showed that when people pay it forward, it triggers a domino effect that influences others to share the love.  The Ed Brown Senior Center in Rancho Bernardo is in need of volunteers to help with weekly bingo games, work the front desk and help with administrative tasks. Juanita Hawkins has been volunteering there for 18 years and said giving your time makes you feel good. “It enriches your own life. It’s just so rewarding to see what you do for other people. It keeps them happy and you happy,” Hawkins said.

Whether you have an hour to spare or can commit to a year-long project, Volunteer San Diego has something for everyone. The nonprofit is hosting a Valentine’s Day fundraiser Monday to deliver flowers to people around San Diego County. Or you can socialize and serve lunch to seniors at the West Wellness Center in downtown San Diego. “The need for service is greater than ever. A lot of our projects are really social-oriented and, maybe, you might even meet someone,” said Volunteer San Diego Program Director Sarah Adams.

• Find a new passion: Challenge yourself to try something you haven’t before. Wish you knew how to play the piano? Or cook paella? Do it! Try spicing up your gym routine. According to a Nielsen report, Americans typically buy upwards of 58 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. What better way to avoid packing on the pounds than to tone up before summer? "Become a valentine to yourself and start taking care of you," said Karen Rickett, owner of in Rancho Bernardo. The studio offers a free introductory session and packages starting at $100 per person. Make it inclusive; work out with a buddy. “It makes your workout better when you know someone is waiting for you. If you don’t have a partner, we can hook you up and a lot of times those partnerships turn into friendships,” Rickett said.

• Determine what you want out of love: It’s a good time to clean out your emotional closet and find out exactly what you’re looking for in a relationship, said Alexi Dankeith, a holistic practitioner who runs The Tranquility Center in Poway. “Explore and take an inventory of what makes you happy and sad, and then delete relationships and activities that do not make you happy and replace them with those that give you pleasure,” she said. Both Dankeith and Cunanan-Dwight said ultimately the key to finding love first starts with loving you.

“When that is fulfilled, romance or partnership is likely to follow,” Cunanan-Dwight said.


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