Be your own Valentine with self-care

February 13, 2020 Swedish Behavioral Health Team

Self-care promotes the most important relationship of all—the one you have with yourself.

  • Self-care isn’t selfish.
  • You can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself.
  • Decide what you enjoy and then do it.


Valentine’s Day is all about relationships and treating them with the special care and thoughtfulness they deserve. As you plan your celebrations, don’t forget to put yourself on the agenda. Regardless of whether you’re part of a committed couple or currently flying solo, the most important relationship you can nurture is the one you have with YOU.

That’s where self-care comes in.

“Self-care is being mindful and deliberate about doing something kind for yourself,” said Amanda Eskola, MSW, LICSW, a behavioral health provider at Swedish Primary Care. “It’s that five or ten minutes a day you take for yourself. Self-care is a priority. It’s not being selfish.”

"It’s difficult to care for others if you don’t first care for yourself."

It’s difficult to care for others if you don’t first care for yourself.  Amanda shares seven ways you can practice self-care on Valentine’s Day. Try one or two (or all). Your relationships—in all their forms—will be better for it.

1. Enjoy a special meal

Indulge yourself with a delicious dinner that features some of your favorite foods. If you enjoy cooking, prepare a special meal for yourself. Make your favorite dish or stretch your culinary skills with a new recipe or technique. If cooking and clean up sounds like too much effort, splurge on your favorite take-out. Real plates, silverware and candles add a festive touch whether you’re dining as a party of one or twelve.

2. Connect with a friend

Valentine’s Day isn’t reserved exclusively for couples. For a twist on the traditional, celebrate your friendships and the important role they play in your life. Gather up a friend or two and have your own “Galentine’s Day” or “Boys’ Night Out” event. Book a reservation somewhere fancy or keep it simple with pizza and a bottle of wine around your kitchen table. For friends that are far away, but close to your heart, send a text, a card or an e-gift card.

3. Take yourself on a date

Plan an activity focused entirely on your interests. Visit the museum and check out the newest exhibits. Go to the ballet or maybe a wrestling match. Do something just for you.  “At the end of the day, the most important person you have to focus on is yourself,” said Amanda. “We all have ebbs and flows, but if you’re not happy and content it’s time to do a check-up on yourself.”

4. Pamper yourself

Book yourself a day at the spa or schedule an afternoon of golf. Get a massage. Take in a movie, and go ahead and get the popcorn. The details are up to you. The important thing is to let yourself unwind, relax and refresh.

5. Get active

Adding activity and exercise to your daily schedule is a self-care ritual that brings both mental and physical benefits. Take it up a notch on Valentine’s Day by enrolling in a class that stretches your abilities while it strengthens your core. Or keep it simple with a walk through the park or forest that lets the beauty of nature release your tension.

6. Write yourself a love letter

It may sound a little corny, but writing out all the things you like about yourself can help you realize just how special you are. Not sure how to begin? Try using sentence starters like: “I love you because . . .” and “Here’s why the world is lucky to have you.” You can always refer back to these affirmations on a daily or weekly basis to keep the self-love going throughout the year.

7. Take a nap

Does the mere mention of Valentine’s Day make you tired? Take a nap. It’s a no-cost, no-fuss way to improve alertness, enhance performance and reduce mistakes.

“Self-care is an ongoing process, not just something to do one time a year.” 

“Self-care is an ongoing process, not just something to do one time a year,” said Amanda. “It comes in a variety of forms. Do small things for yourself and recharge your batteries. Treat yourself. It puts you in a better place in all your relationships.” If you can start small and then commit to a routine of doing nice things for yourself, you might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.


Find a doctor

Managing your healthcare with regular checkups and preventive screenings can be a life-saving form of self-care that improves your overall health and wellness. Find a doctor you can trust in our provider directory.

Share how you’re celebrating #selfcare on Valentine’s Day and every day with the readers @swedish.

Related resources

Putting yourself first: the importance of self-care

15 ways to be a happier, healthier you

Benefits of mind-body practices during your healing journey

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

Whether it's stress, anxiety, dementia, addiction or any number of life events that impede our ability to function, mental health is a topic that impacts nearly everyone. The Swedish Behavioral Health Team is committed to offering every-day tips and clinical advice to help you and your loved ones navigate mental health conditions.

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