It is Valentine’s Day Week, so the greeting card companies are working overtime and flower and candy makers have loaded up the stores and jewelers are shining up their goods, hoping that you will buy as much of this stuff as possible as a way to show a special someone just how much you love them.
But while those things are wonderful tokens we can GIVE to someone we love, it is important to note that things are NOT love.
So for this week, a reminder to take care of love – take care of those you love, take care of your relationships, and take care of yourself and remember you are loved and worth loving.
Why is this important? Because for many couples, Valentine’s Day is the most stressful day of the year. There are so many expectations piled upon us by the media and friends and family and others we see around spending loads of money on a very ‘thing’-focused day. While we all know it is a ‘manufactured’ holiday, we also feel the constant pressure to demonstrate our love. The result? Stress.
And as most of us know, stress is directly linked to health issues, such as:
– Physical illness:
– Heart disease:
That is all pretty depressing for a Valentine’s Day thought … but that isn’t my intention. Instead of stressing about spending loads of money on your spouse or significant other – or stressing because you DON’T have a significant other or hoping they will ‘put a ring on it’ or stressing because you think that SHE hopes … well, you get the picture.
But instead of all that stress … try LOVE. Because while STRESS is bad for you health, LOVE is GREAT for your health! In my ‘Monday Musings’ I chose hugs over kisses. Here is some info on how hugs and holding hands help our health:
Hugging and holding hands. According to a study reported to the American Psychosomatic Society, hugs can do a world of wonders. It was found that holding hands with a partner for 10 minutes or sharing a brief hug can “greatly reduce the harmful physical effects of stress” such as their heart rate and blood pressure. Such touches lowered the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that aid the pleasure centers in our brain.
Not that I have anything against kisses, but for me hugs are so inclusive – they include hugging your lover, your friends, your parents and siblings, and your children and pets. There are articles about health benefits and also the beauty benefits of love.
For ourselves, we’ve had many years of spending too much money, years of dinners with the kids, and more recently just enjoyable low-stress days together celebrating our love – while our kids begin to deal with all of the stress!
But the problem is that for many Valentine’s Day is incredibly stressful because it can feel terribly lonely if you don’t have a significant other … yet there are plenty of resources to help you there as well. For me, the most important thing to remember is this:
You cannot fully love someone else until you love yourself. So on Valentine’s Day remember that YOU are important, YOU are worth loving and that YOU are beautiful. Not only is it true, it is good for your health!