Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2022

Each night this week, I’ve had to carve a little time out to prepare for Valentine’s Day. I am quite the perfectionist, even micromanaging my children’s Valentine’s Day cards, so an alarm goes off, and they know they have to make a dent in the pile of Valentine’s cards they have to make for 24 classmates, 12 cousins, a smattering of grandparents, and the one and only Lady Gaga.

Love doesn’t always show up on schedule, summoned by an alarm, and there isn’t usually a list of people who need it. Today I invite you to join me in stretching to think about other ways we can show love and kindness to ourselves and those around us:

  • Be Still + Breathe. Just before I started writing this sentence, I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the wall behind me. I learned recently during a medical appointment that I never take deep breaths and that my diaphragm, the source of deep, life-giving breaths, did not engage in my breathing practice. Giving myself space to breathe is a way I’m showing love to myself this Valentine’s Day. I invite you to join me by practicing deep breathing and visiting PleaseStay.us for other self-care tips, mental health resources, and a pledge you can take promising to stay in the world.
  • Kindness. My friend Kelly was getting coffee and asked if she could drop one off on my porch. I almost responded telling her she was sweet to think of me but she didn’t need to bring a coffee. But then I realized, a. I wanted the coffee, b. Kelly wanted to show she was thinking of me, and c. That giving and receiving kindness mattered to both of us. I have the actual receipts of how much this matters in the form of the recently published report, Kindness Is Action. There is an undeniable link between kindness and mental health, from helping people feel safe and less alone to changing the trajectory of their days and even their desire to stay alive. So, I told Kelly I did want her to bring the coffee, and we’ll both have a better afternoon because of her kindness. Allow yourself to indulge in the kind actions and invitations of those around you, and when you’re in the position to return them, do it. And, once you’ve given, received, or even witnessed kindness, share it with the world on our newly launched Channel Kindness Map.
  • Be There. Babysitters make my world go ‘round, especially now that I’m beginning to safely travel. I was thanking one recently, standing in our dining room and when the children went to bed, the babysitter blurted out that she knew someone who attempted to end their life. We sat down, I thanked her for telling me, and I listened to her share her experience. This babysitter who bravely sought support left my home with a trusted person to talk to, validation of her emotions, and a mental health resource including Find Your Anchor boxes. I’ve had to share both often over the past couple of months, and I’m proud to be able to be there for the folks in my community. Truth is, you’ll never know when you’ll need to be there for someone, and it makes all the difference to do so.

So, my Valentine’s Day plans are as follows; show off my fancy new breathing skills, get Kelly back for that coffee, and be prepared with resources handy to show to be the kind of person – on Valentine’s Day and always – whom people can blurt things out to.

We have a lot of people to love on, y’all, including ourselves.

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