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Psychology lecturer gives advice on managing the Valentine's Day blues

​​​​​​News | 13 February 2024​

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Dr Sarah Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, offers some advice for people who may struggle being alone at this time of year.

“The media hype in the run up to Valentine's Day can become quite stressful for single people, as it often portrays unrealistic expectations of love and romance. Although we should not need a specific day to prove how much we love and care for that special someone, the media tries to tell us otherwise. In so doing, it ostracises those who are single.

“Being constantly bombarded with reminders of romantic love can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, sadness, rumination and even inadequacy as we compare ourselves to others in relationships. Negative thoughts and emotions creep in - the 'Valentine's Day blues' - and can make a single person feel both depressed and anxious. These feelings can last for several weeks, particularly for women and those in their 30s who may feel societal pressures to get married and have children."

Make plans

“So how can singles avoid the Valentine's Day blues? Well, the key is to plan. Plan to stay active and busy, plan to do something nice for yourself and plan to avoid exposure to dating environments – in real life and online. Why not show love for yourself and buy yourself a gift? Such an act of self-expression can be empowering. Alternatively, connecting with others including family and friends can be both distracting and fun."

It's ok to be single

“Another idea is to plan time to self-reflect. Think about what it is you are looking for in a romantic relationship, and what you could do to get what you want. Look at the bigger picture and reflect on where you want to be in a few years' time, and how you could achieve that goal.

“Ultimately, while romantic relationships can be fulfilling, your life does not need to be defined by your relationship status. Valentine's Day can be the perfect opportunity for singles to stop, take stock and engage in deliberate self-acknowledgement and acceptance. It's ok to be single."

Dr Sarah Taylor is a cyberpsychologist at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences. Her interests are broadly based on understanding how we are persuaded by information presented online. She has also researched projects focused on online dating. Further information is available on her academic profile.