While Jeff and I have been very happily cohabitating with our kitty Pepper for more than a decade, we chose to opt out of the commercialization of Valentine’s Day about 11 years ago. While neither of us was ever that keen on this holiday, what sent me over the proverbial cliff was when Jeff bought me wilted roses at Dominick’s as a show of his undying affection. I think not, honey, dear, sweetie – jerk! What ensued was that I fled the house and treated myself to a really fattening meal at my favorite neighborhood burger joint, Fratellos. A hamburger and some of the best French fries east of the Mississippi helped put things in perspective and calm me down. So after the fallout – and the extra padding on my love handles, we made a pact to never celebrate Valentine’s Day in a traditional way ever again. Now I can tell you that more than 10 years later and flower-free, our relationship has weathered quite a bit and our deep bond has grown stronger.
Take Care of You
Well, it’s only 6 weeks since you made those New Year’s resolutions – have you kept them? If not, take solace in the fact that you are one of the estimated 90 percent of people who have bailed by now. But don’t give up – Valentine’s Day is a great day to regroup and revise your resolutions so that they are actually attainable and not just fantasies.
On a more serious note, it’s fitting that 50 years ago, the American Heart Association designated the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day as American Heart Month. Did you know that a woman’s risk for developing heart disease increases after menopause? Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined, with an estimated 43 million women in the U.S. affected. While these statistics are alarming, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk. Go Red and find out how to help prevent heart disease this month and all yearlong. Here are a few healthy tips for Valentine’s Day that can be followed any day of the year.
- Enjoy a professional massage or special day at the spa.
- Take a yoga or fitness class.
- Take a brisk walk, outside if weather allows, or inside at your favorite shopping mall.
- Cook a healthy meal for your sweetie, family, or friends.
- Make sugar-free gelatin in a heart-shaped mold and top it with non-dairy, reduced-fat whipped cream.
- Cut calories and costs by sharing an entrée when eating out with someone.
- Volunteer for a worthy cause.
- Give up smoking or commit to helping a loved one quit.
- Remember the hilarious film, What About Bob? Take a vacation from your problems, like Bill Murray did, even if just for a day.
Get Creative with Gift Giving
Think outside that heart-shaped candy box and get creative! Throw caution to the wind and consider ways to remold this holiday into a fun, carefree day, instead of one fraught with the potential angst of being single, dealing with the polar vortex, or being in a rut – personally or professionally.
- Splurge and buy yourself something you really want. A bottle of perfume, a beautiful blouse, a manicure, or a book by a favorite author may be just what you need to brighten your day.
- Buy your pooch or kitty a special treat and/or Valentine’s themed costume and put it on as long as he or she will tolerate it!
- If you have aging parents or friends, put together a healthy fruit basket as a gift – think strawberries, raspberries, apples, and red grapes for starters.
- Cook something really different – perhaps an ethnic dish or exotic dessert.
- Enjoy a nice bottle of red wine – in moderation, of course. It is relaxing and good for your heart.
- Disconnect from the digital space for the entire evening – no surfing the Web, texting, or working on the computer – this is harder than you think!
- Make a list of the 10 top things you love about your significant other, best friend, or a family member and take the plunge and share it with them!
Whether you are in a relationship or single, Valentine’s Day can be whatever you want it to be. The key is to tune into your inner voice, unleash your creativity, take care of your health, and open your mind to the possibilities. Above all, remember to love yourself.