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The pink, white and blues

Valentine's Day all about you?

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Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and the message from the Canadian Mental Health Association this year is that it’s okay to love yourself.

According the CMHA it’s not uncommon for single people to experience feelings of sadness, loneliness and inadequacy around Valentine’s Day. There are no statistics, but one European poll found that one in 10 young adults were depressed around Valentine’s, while over 40 per cent feel negatively or indifferent about Valentine’s Day.

"I think there’s a greater recognition out there not everyone matches the ideal, that there are people who are lonely and struggling in your life that are having some harder emotions at this time of year," said Sarah Hamid-Balma, of the Canadian Mental Health Association, B.C. Division.

To help people cope with the stress of Valentine’s Day, the CMHA has put together a list of suggestions. The focus this year, says Hamid-Balma, is on celebrating yourself.

"On Valentine’s Day there’s a lot of focus on being in a couple and romantic relationships, we decided to focus on taking care of yourself – whether spending the time reconnecting with friends and family, or spending the day at a spa," she said. "The community you live in also has a role to play as well – it’s important to recognize that some people in your life may be feeling down, and in need of some cheering up."

The list of suggestions are mostly based on common sense, as well as research and mental health best practices.

• Take time to appreciate the most important person in your life – you. Make a list of everything you have going for you and post it on your fridge. Treat yourself to something: a movie (no romances!), a day at the spa, a trip to the museum, a sporting event, or even just a relaxing day at home with a good book and no chores.

• Being single can be fun. Throw a singles-only party or attend one someone else is having. Or just hang out with friends and do something fun. You’re not the only unattached one out there.

• Remember that lovers may come and go, but good friends and family are around forever. Call up pals just to say hi and go out for lunch or dinner. Tell your parents you love them. Buy something nice for your dog. Reach out to someone you love who might need your attention. Reminding people they matter reminds yourself that you do, too.

• Send Valentine cards. Revive the ancient schoolyard tradition and send silly cards to old friends you haven’t talked to in years, new friends you’d like to know better, your neighbours and your family. Hand some out to strangers on the street and slip anonymous ones into mailboxes.

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