At the beginning of February, the lonely, single people of America drop what they're doing for a week and join a massive support group to brave the collective trauma of Valentine's Day. Dating apps see spikes of activity as desperate singles try to pair off before the big day. Others celebrate their "galentines" or "palentines," because God forbid any of us miss out on participating in the sweetest, most red-and-pink corporate scheme of the year. But as much as people band together to survive Valentine's Day, it seems as though all of the mutual support ends as soon as the calendar reaches February 15. The minute plastic roses in CVS hit their 50% off discounts, single people take their cue to return to the strategy of everyone-for-themselves.
Sometimes, it takes a little bit of a pick-me-up to make it through the rest of February. For those who need some self-directed TLC to survive the Worst Month of the Year, I recommend following this tried-and-true recipe for a day of self-care.
One box of leftover V-Day Chocolates (only the dark chocolate ones, because you already ate all the milk chocolate)
One username and password from your ex's HBO account
One face mask that you got from a distant acquaintance during Secret Santa in December (and maybe those fuzzy socks too)
Two pairs of pajamas (one to wake up in and one to change into when you eat spaghetti too enthusiastically and spray tomato sauce on your first pair)
One impulse buy of your choice (I recommend a neck massager)
A box of Special K (for garnishing)
Begin your day with meditation. Your mom (and your roommate's mom, and your aunt, and your high school counselor) probably told you to start meditating, so why not start today? Look up "five minute mindfulness meditation" on YouTube and let a man with an incredibly soothing voice tell you how to breathe.
Once you have meditated, move your body in a way that feels good. If it doesn't dredge up traumatic memories, do one of the 5-minute ab videos that you used to do during the 2020 spring quarantine. Or, if you go to the Nelson Fitness Center any time after 4 p.m., the warm, wet climate might even convince you that you're on some sort of luxurious tropical vacation.
Next, go for a long, reflective stroll. See if you can find a young couple with a golden retriever that you can pet! Then, try not to think about how alone you are.
After your walk, take a bubble bath. If your residence hall doesn't have one, don't worry—just find the shower with the most hair-clogged drain and let the water run. It will become a bath after a few minutes. (Pro tip for first years: MoChamp and EmWool both have "bath rooms" on each floor. If you feel so inclined, luxuriate in one of these fluorescent-lit closets until your fingers prune!)
While you're waiting for the water to warm up, organize your space. Time to finally vacuum up the crushed-up Special K all over the floor. Also, you should wash your sheets. They're starting to get a little ~funky~.
Finally, as soon as you finish all the episodes of Succession, White Lotus, and Euphoria that you needed to catch up on, shut your laptop and put it away. Then get out your phone and scroll through Instagram. Then respond to all your Snapchats even though you know you're too old to keep streaks. Okay, maybe watch TikToks for a while. Maybe accidentally send one to your ex instead of your best friend. Ok ok, that's really enough. Time for a social media detox—wait, how is it 1:30 in the morning already? I guess it's time to make a bowl of Special K.
Congratulations, you have now completed one full day of self-love and appreciation! Repeat these steps as many times as is necessary until you truly feel at peace with yourself. I hope you feel rejuvenated, reset, and ready to take on March—where the same loneliness might persist, albeit without the marked reminder of a commonly celebrated day!