For many people, Valentine’s Day is hard because they are alone without a special someone or separated from their loved one. For others, the pressure to buy that “perfect” gift causes them so much stress; they don’t “love” Valentine’s Day but instead, dread it.
As for me, I find it too artificial to celebrate love on a day just because someone else tells me to via a marketing campaign. It seems to lose its genuine meaning so I always struggle with the day because of the pressure I feel to celebrate it. I prefer when someone I love surprises me or, I surprise them at unexpected times with a gesture of love. To me it means so much more.
So, over the past few years, I have come up with other ways to observe the day by thinking of those who truly are in need of some TLC. What I have come up with is to give back to my community in small, but hopefully meaningful, ways.
These things don’t cost a lot of money, and you can spend as much time as you want doing them. But, they can really make a difference in the life of someone who is alone and in need.
One of the most rewarding of these is to visit those in a nursing home or rehab facility who are alone and really need some love and some company.
Bring a special batch of cookies or homemade Valentine’s cards to nursing home residents. Or bring a deck of cards or a board game and play with some of the residents for a couple of hours. Or donate these items to the nursing home if they don’t have enough to go around.
Call a local facility and ask them how you can help or find out what they might need, it might be spending time with a caregiver’s loved one so the caregiver can have some time to him or herself.
Another thing I really enjoy doing is to bring the joy of reading to those who want it but can’t get to a local library or bookstore. You can help your local library by delivering books to those unable to get to the library. My library has a program called “Words on Wheels” that brings materials including books, audio books, DVDs, and CDs to those who can’t get to the library. Check to see if your library has such a program or volunteer to help start one.
These things both have something in common; they require you to volunteer, to give some of your time to others. These are just a couple of ideas, but you can volunteer your time to your favorite organization doing something you believe in. Ironically, I have found that giving back to others in this way gives me more joy than anything that I ever do for myself.
If you aren’t sure where to start to find a place to volunteer, or need some ideas, check for local volunteer opportunities at Volunteer Match.