The Mindfulness Antidote to V-Day

By Christine Moffa, MS, RN, AJN clinical editor

by Foton28/via FlickrI can’t resist acknowledging that dreaded day that’s coming up this weekend. Whether you are a believer in Valentine’s Day or a skeptic who thinks it was created by greeting card companies and florists, you can’t escape it. There are commercials all over TV, signs in every drug store, and now a movie with it in the title (which I had planned on seeing, until I read some reviews). My personal feeling has been that it makes single people feel lonely and pathetic and people in relationships disappointed with the ones they have. Not to mention that it’s impossible to get a good meal at a decent restaurant. A friend of mine who’s a social worker told me she’s thankful it falls on a weekend so she will be spared dealing with back-to-back appointments of heartbroken clients. 

This is the perfect time to practice my latest self-help discovery: mindful self-compassion. Christopher K. Germer, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions (pardon the shameless product plug; neither I nor AJN has been paid off in any way!), posted an exercise on his blog during the holidays this past December that I think is a good fit for getting through this weekend (if you or someone you know finds it difficult). He suggests:

If you feel lonely

[…], see if you can stop and name the experience (“I’m terribly lonely”) and give yourself the kindness you might be hoping to receive if you were with someone who cared about you. Think what your best friend would say to you if she or he knew you were lonely. Or think what you might say to a loved one under similar circumstances. Let the holiday be an opportunity to practice self-compassion. Can you prepare a nice meal for yourself, get some needed exercise, write an email to an old friend, or plan a trip that you always wanted to take? Or can you just curl up with your dog or cat and read a great book?

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2016-11-21T13:19:21+00:00 February 12th, 2010|Nursing|4 Comments

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About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. tytyn February 24, 2010 at 5:02 am

    goooooood……….. (^.*)

  2. Mary February 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I have always viewed V day as one between fathers and daughters. Perhaps because my Dad always bought the girls a heart shaped box of chocolates and he took the boys and girls out to dinner (there were 5 of us). Mom stayed home by herself and enjoyed the peace and quiet – that was her gift. My husband of 35 years and I do not celebrate V day or most other holidays. I am against him buying me gifts because he has to. We love each other every day and I don’t need flowers to prove it. We have been together through good and bad and still love each other and that is all we need. When times are good we buy what we want when we want it. Besides, my husband could never do V day the justice my Dad gave it :}

  3. Shawn February 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I’ve always viewed V-Day as forced and artificial and something that was always made me feel pressured. In grammar school, it was a competition of who in the class received the most of those “24-in-box”. In high school it was hoping to be the receiver of a corsage or chocolates. In college years – well, that was when we all distained it among everything else considered “establishment”. Now, it seems quaint and much as I hate to admit it, I feel the pressure.

  4. Gail Pfeifer February 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Ah…Such a perceptive note about Valentine’s Day, and about loving yourself, which is the first step toward loving another. My honey and I (one of the few long-timed married couples I know) do this: We celebrate by going out for dinner on a day surrounding Valentine’s, rather than the day itself, so we can get good service, good food, and a relaxed meal. He still sends me flowers some time during the week (and he remembers I like tulips, which remind me of spring this time of year), and I still give him a box of chocolates (only milk, no dark) or fudge from our favorite summer fudge shop. On the day of sweethearts, we hunker down and maybe we’ll watch a movie or catch up on our DVR collection (The Human Spark series, the Mentalist, or whatever else we’ve missed lately). And we think about the spirit of the day, rather than the demands society puts on it; and this is something anyone can do, whether part of a couple, or not….

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