February is often thought of as the month of love. For those that do not have a significant other, it can bring about feelings of loneliness or isolation, but it does not have to be that way. A person can love in many ways.

Loving others and being loved by someone does not have to mean loving a significant other. Being loved feels good no matter who is showering you with that affection. Likewise, sharing love also feels good no matter towards whom your kindness is intended. This Valentine’s Day, try sharing your love with others in new ways. You will not only make someone else smile, but you just may improve your own mood and boost your mental health! 

renee-fisher-494610-unsplash.jpgLove a friend: Send a box of sunshine.

Friendships provide companionship and support, and help us develop positive social skills. Nourish your friendships this Valentine’s Day by celebrating those that are always there for you when you need them, those that make you smile, who understand you, and who ‘get’ you the most. You can always send a thank you note, a special card, or even a box of chocolates, but how about sending them a “box of sunshine?” A unique gift box or basket full of all things yellow – yellow nail polish, Lemon Heads, a yellow t-shirt, bananas, a candle, headband, some fun stickers, etc. Get creative and have fun with this “bright” idea. 

Love a stranger: Perform an act of kindness.

This is not a new idea, but sometimes we just need to be reminded how much it can mean to do something unexpected and kind for someone you don’t know. The smallest thing can truly have a huge impact on someone and can require hardly any effort on your part. Here are some ideas: paying for the coffee for the person behind you at a coffee shop, giving a compliment to a stranger, opening the door for someone, telling a manager at a store how great an employee is, or leaving a compliment for your server along with a tip. 

Love someone in need: Volunteer.

Volunteering for a cause that you believe in not only benefits those you are serving, but can raise your own spirits as well. When you give your time to help others, you feel good about yourself. If you have been thinking that you want to give back to the community but keep putting it off for one reason or another, make Valentine’s Day the day you start. 

Love an animal.

Numerous studies have shown that animals have a positive impact on people, including providing support and companionship. This Valentine’s Day, you can show love towards a pet by making sure their vaccines are up to date, getting them a special toy or treat, or just taking them for a nice walk. If you do not have a pet, spend some time at an animal shelter, or think about rescuing an animal. If you’re allergic to animals, just take a few minutes to watch funny YouTube videos of dogs or cats. It is guaranteed to improve your spirits, even if only for a little while! 

Love yourself.

You always hear that you must love yourself before you can be loved. Take it to the next level this year and go ahead and send yourself that bouquet of roses, or box of chocolates you’ve always wanted to get on Valentine’s Day. It may seem vain or even silly, but why not? This is the ultimate self-care. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves! 

With these ideas, spread love this February in more ways that you ever have before. But don’t stop just on Valentine’s Day - these ideas can continue all year long. 

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