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Take time for yourself this Valentine's Day

Take time for yourself this Valentine's Day

An annual celebration of true love or a forced ritual obliging couples to splash out on restaurant meals and gifts while singletons bunker down with a box set until it’s all over?

Whether you view Valentine’s Day through rosy heart-shaped spectacles or from behind a cushion it’s certain that COVID, and the ensuing lockdown, will bring today into sharp focus and maybe even raise the question, why bother?

Being single on Valentine’s Day 2021 could be tough, especially for those already at a low ebb following over a month of lockdown isolation. Even a trip to the supermarket (the new going out) will inevitably involve pushing your trolley past rows of bobbing heart-shaped balloons, meal-deals for two and rack upon rack of slushy pink cards.

This combined with general pandemic concerns over loved ones, the economy and a yearning for a return to normality, is leading to a surge in mental health issues. Mental health charity Mind understands this; last year the organisation surveyed 16,000 people and found more than two thirds of adults with existing mental health issues said their problems had worsened under the pandemic. The Mind website has lots of useful information, case studies and resources on mental health in general and we’ve used the information to inspire some of our blog.

Now, while we’re definitely not trying to take the fun out of Valentine’s Day, here at Grand Central we’ve decided that for 2021 we’ll celebrate the singles. Today is a day to direct some love towards yourself. To enjoy the freedom to do or not do whatever the heck you want. 

So we’d like to kick off your day with five ideas on how to make February 14th all about the most important person in your life… you.

Reset your resolutions

You still getting on OK with those New Year resolutions, hun? Of course you aren’t.  And who could blame you? Diets, fasting, and giving up beloved treats are doomed to failure when you’re looking down the wrong end of cold dark January. Let’s move this tradition to the Spring. And while we might not be quite seeing daffodils yet there’s no harm in making plans for lighter nights, warmer days and (whisper it) no lockdown. Committing to even a little exercise a week can help alleviate depression, according to the NHS. Check out the NHS website for some great home workout videos and tips to help boost those happy hormones.

Ditch social media

If the first thing you do when you wake up is reach for your phone to scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feeds then don’t. Certainly not today anyway. Impossibly perfect couples posting soft-focus, carefully staged pics of breakfast in bed and other well-worn cliches will only make you feel inadequate. And absolutely no doom-scrolling through the news sites. Let’s give the news a miss today. You know by-now anyway what it’s going to be all about and that’s exactly what you don’t need today. What you do need however, is breakfast in bed, in your comfiest onesie while you listen to your favourite podcast. 

Plan a trip

While options for travel are limited right now it doesn’t stop you beginning one of the most fun parts - planning. While Boris is set to review current travel restrictions later this month, its likely to be domestic travel restrictions which are easier to navigate at first. A day out in London makes a perfect post-lockdown change of pace and scenery. Like most tourism bodies, Visit London has fantastic resources to help plan your post-lockdown leisure trip. The Visit London web site has a whole section dedicated to shopping, exploring and sightseeing safely once the city reopens. Another location we love to get lost in is York. Find out more on this historic city by visiting the Visit York website. And if you're looking for a way to get there, Grand Central serves both these locations on our North East route. You can find more inspiration and ideas in our Top Destinations hub.

Sunday dinner

If you were in a relationship right now you’d probably have some kind of indulgent meal planned. Why should you miss out? Use your lazy Sunday morning to go through a menu app and get your absolute favourite dish in for lunch. Expect deliveries to take a while today so get your order in early. If you’re counting the calories at the moment we give you permission to a have day off. And don’t bother setting the table - get a tray in front of the television and watch Bridesmaids, a film which brilliantly portrays the absurdity of striving for the perfect relationship. It’s also one of only two chick flicks it’s OK for blokes to like, the other being Muriel’s Wedding, of course.

Get out and about

Before you head for your big warm candlelit Sunday bath, it’s worth getting some fresh air. Maybe set yourself a steps target to walk off that calzone. There are countless websites dedicated to exploring your area on foot, including urban walks. Many include points of interest and the distance you can expect to cover.  Again, the NHS has lots of information on the health benefits of walking on its website, including motivational apps. And make sure to take your walk before it gets too dark. 

Whatever you decide to do today, remember it’s all about you. If you find yourself feeling down it’s OK and it’s normal to feel like that. If you need a little more help the mental health charity Mind has a great page dedicated to helping you beat Valentine’s Day blues

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