Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

How to Minimize the Stress Around Valentine’s Day with all the High Expectations


Valentine’s Day is one of those special occasions where we begin to think about ideas of how to make our partner have an unforgettable day long before Valentine’s Day has even approached. As a result of this, we often tend to overthink plans and gifts, which leads to a high amount of stress that could get in the way of our enjoyment of this very special day.

I will give you several perspectives on how to make Valentine’s Day a less stressful and more enjoyable experience.

1. Always, always be yourself. When we go out of our way to impress our partner, we often fall short because we are trying to be someone that we are not. It is helpful to keep in mind that your partner is yours, and they chose to be with you for who you are, so why try to change yourself? Some people might say that change is good, and I agree with that as long as you preserve and maintain the essence of who you are, even if you improve certain aspects of yourself.

2. Stick to what is relatively familiar. Based on your romantic relationship, you start to know what your partner likes and dislikes. Plan out a special dinner or a special outing based on what you and your partner like and enjoy. You can use previous successful outings as groundwork for creating a novel idea. Valentine’s Day is the day to step out of the box and try something new and unfamiliar, but it is important to stay grounded in reality and accept the fact that your plan might not turn out to be exactly the way you wanted it to. By having this thought in the back of your mind, you are likely to feel less stressed out if your plan doesn’t go exactly as planned.

3. Plan ahead of time. If you leave yourself to the last minute to plan your day and buy the gifts, then you might be putting yourself under more stress, and you might start second-guessing yourself about what you have arranged. However, if you plan ahead of time, and arrange things piece by piece, then you are likely to have more time to think about what you might be missing (whether it is gifts or any other thing that you might need to have a splendid Valentine’s Day). This will help minimize the stress.

4. Trust yourself, and know that you have given it your best. At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is about the feelings that you show your partner, more than it is about the plans that you arrange for them and the gifts that you give them. It is helpful to bear in mind that you have done your absolute best to make this special day as memorable as possible.

By: Ghinwa El-Ariss

Ghinwa El-Ariss holds an Honors Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto. She will be pursuing her Master of Science degree in Psychology at Trent University starting September 2017. She is passionate about Psychology and the Environment. She hopes that her blog posts help you learn a bit about her and her take on certain things. Most importantly, she hopes that you enjoyed what you read!

 

LOVING SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS AND VALENTINE’S DAY

downloadValentine’s Day is here and it’s a day to express love and affection towards family, friends and loved ones. It’s an emotional day for most, but it can be a frustrating day for others, especially for those living with a mental illness.

I remember the first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend. Even though it was a new relationship and we were just getting to know each other, we treated Valentine’s Day just like any other day. For me it was a day to show affection, but not it wasn’t for him. You see, my boyfriend lives with a mental illness and when he first moved in, 2 months prior, I discovered that he was not on any medication and as a result he couldn’t tell me how he felt. I didn’t completely understand then, but I do now.

He lives with clinical depression and with that comes sleeping all day, not wanting to do anything or go anywhere, and emotions are put on hold (don’t want to laugh and don’t know how or what to feel). He also lives with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which adds anxiety to the depression. Now you add dealing with the fear of going outside and the fear of talking to someone (you don’t want to text, call or email anyone). When you’re in a relationship you may also see paranoia, at least I did. He would ask me questions like “Do you love me?” “Why do you love me?” “Why don’t you find someone else, someone with a stable mind?”

Something else that I noticed, was that he couldn’t be touched when he was upset, anxious or panicky. The best thing I could do in those situations was to just talk to him and provide reassurance. What helped me the most was reading all I could on other people’s experiences of mental illness. I found it helped me to better understand him and his needs.

I’m not afraid to say it was a rough year, but it was worth it. We made it through. For the past 2 years now, he has been going to therapy and taking his medication, and we couldn’t be happier.

If you have a loved one that lives with a mental illness, I have some advice for you:

1. Please be patient. I know it can be frustrating and upsetting, but it will be worth it.

2. Your loved one will need reassurance. Don’t be afraid to tell them you love them even though they may not be able to express the same back to you.

3. Be sure to take time for yourself. What you’re experiencing may drain you mentally.

Overall, just remember that Valentine’s Day might look different for you and your partner, but the important thing is that you’re with your loved one and that you do love them and see them for who they are and not their mental illness. Also remember that they DO love you, even if they don’t always express it.

By: Anita Levesque

Anita is a mental health advocate with lived experience through loved ones; father – bipolar; brother – PTSD, depression, anxiety; mother – PTSD; boyfriend – clinical depression, severe OCD, GAD, personality disorders. Her goal is to focus on personal experiences with mental illness.

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Why Valentine’s Day can make you feel Anxious

170112799Valentine’s day is a day dedicated to celebrating LOVE with those closest to you. However, for a lot of us without relationships this can be a day filled with fear, anxiety, and sadness because we might feel like we don’t have anyone to celebrate with. Even for those of us in a relationship, this day may create a lot of stress and anxiety. It can be confusing to have these thoughts and feelings when you are in a happy relationship and feel pressured to be happy and exude feelings of love. I will be exploring some of the reasons for these thoughts and suggesting ways to combat them to prevent them from becoming harmful to you/your partner.

1. You FEEL pressured to be a perfect couple and have the PERFECT date.

Both in the mass media and on our social media feeds we are constantly being flooded with pictures and images of ‘happy’ couples, decadent gifts, extravagant dates, etc. These images can make us feel like we need to live up to these standards in order for our relationship to be worth something. Trying to live up to these high standards is unrealistic and can be a source of stress and anxiety. Just as in other aspects of the media, the misconceived notion that happiness is about money and material wealth is a lie. I encourage you to stay true to yourself and your partner and do something you both want/love to do, rather than trying to show the world how ‘perfect’ your relationship is. That could mean going to the movies, going out for dinner, or even staying in and ordering a pizza in your PJ’s. At the end of the day, whatever you end up choosing, you will always have fun together!

2. You FEEL pressured to show your loved one you care.

The very reason for the day is to express the love we always feel for our partners (also, family, friends, etc.). For some of the same reasons as above, Valentine’s Day can put pressure on us to find a way to go above and beyond in expressing our love. We have to plan the perfect date, pick out the perfect gift, and even ensure that the ‘I love you’ message we give or send to our partner is perfect. Some of us rely solely on the material objects to convey this message, while others also want to say it or write it in a note or card. Don’t get hung up on what to say or how much to say, just write down how you truly feel. Remember that this isn’t a test or a contest between you and other couples, or even between the two of you. Anything you could possibly say in a card on Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you’ve already said to your partner and will continue to express through the course of your relationship. Valentine’s Day should not be a day to measure your commitment to your partner, but more of a fun day to self-indulge!

3. You FEEL like a bad partner if you don’t do something for them/you don’t know what to do.

Wanting to do something nice for your partner isn’t a bad thing at all. The only time this can feel uneasy is when you feel uncertain of what they’d like or uncertain if they’ll receive the message that you care and want them to feel loved. My advice would be to NOT overthink it. If you know your partner well enough, you’re bound to know a few things or dates that they’d like. All in all, I’m sure your partner will be happy simply with the idea that you thought about them and put time into planning a date or getting a gift, regardless of what you choose. If your partner is hung up on what you chose, there could be a reason for this. Do you express feelings solely through gifts, did you both set a limit that was or wasn’t met, or do they value your relationship only on gifts and dates, and not actual feelings? These are all questions that hopefully you don’t need to answer, but can be helpful if your partner is really unhappy when you try to do something nice for them.

The bottom line is: KEEP IT SIMPLE and HAVE FUN! If you’re single, take the day to treat yourself and relax! And if you’re in a relationship just tell your partner what you always do, that you love them, and be authentic if you are giving them a gift or going out. Happy Valentine’s Day!

By: Sarah Morrone

Sarah Morrone lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is an aspiring teacher and Registered Early Childhood Educator. Life has taken her on a little detour and is currently managing a cosmetics shop while writing, painting, and getting to know herself.

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