Martz: Taking the stress out of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. A holiday that strikes fear in the hearts of some, loathing in the hearts of many and loveーit seemsーin the hearts of few. Valentine’s Day has seemingly divided us into groups of hopeless romantics stressing out about how to accomplish their big gestures, cynics who let the holiday pass them by and single people who have to try and navigate the day in some sort of socially acceptable way.

And that’s not even mentioning the pressure that comes with being in a relationship and trying to make one random day super special just because that’s the expectation. Whether it’s your significant other, society, your own personal feelings or your lack of a relationship, Valentine’s Day can quickly devolve into a stressful day.

But why?

If we look back on elementary school, Valentine’s Day was objectively a good day. Free candy, fun cards, bright colors, spending time with your friends and showing them you loved them. Why can’t that be the spirit of Valentine’s Day as adults? And in its inception and through all the myths and legends of its origin, at its heart it is truly about spreading love.

I’m not saying anyone is required to care about Valentine’s Day, but, if approached in a positive way, it has the potential to be an awesome day. If we strip back the pressure and competition, what we’re left with is gestures of love and caring. And candy. All of that sounds pretty good to me.

So if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, then spend your time showing your friends you love them. Maybe it won’t be as great as cuddling up with that dude from your chemistry class whom you’ve been staring at for the last week, but spend time with your friends and show them you love them in simple and small ways. Grab a tub of ice cream and watch a movie, or make some pancakes in the shape of hearts and pass around a box of chocolate.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a day where you’re required to prove that your love for your significant otherーor for your friendsーis the greatest through grand gestures and large sums. It should be an excuse to spend some time with the people you love most and remind them how important they are to you.

Sure, Valentine’s Day has been commercialized and turned into a competition, and that may make you hate it. It might seem like an obligation, and everything on that day might seem fake. But changing your view on the day from obligation to opportunity can help you make Valentine’s Day an amazing day. Life’s short and we don’t tell the people around us how much they mean to us enough. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to do just that.

Paulina Martz is a second-year theatre and psychology double major. Another way to have a great Valentine’s Day is to join her and give blood!