Valentine’s Day might be a good opportunity to consider a gift to yourself. It’s been nearly a year since life as we knew it completely changed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. For many of us, hectic social schedules hit pause while we learned to practice social distancing and isolating from loved ones. By design, this didn’t prove an ideal backdrop for meeting new people and finding love nor for fighting to survive a long distance relationship. For many, it’s been a time of learning to love themselves, spending more time alone than ever before — whether they wanted to or not.
SKIP AHEAD Best Valentine’s Day gifts for yourself
For better or worse, the pandemic has forced many of us to refocus our priorities and rediscover ourselves, explained Susan Harrington, a licensed professional counselor.
“It's said that the heaviest burdens we carry are the thoughts in our heads, and this is absolutely true,” said Harrington, who’s also a marriage and family therapist. “Who do you spend the most time with everyday? Yourself.”
Valentine's Day is all about love, but we often do not think of loving ourselves.
Susan Harrington, Licensed Professional Counselor
Therefore, the experts we consulted agreed, finding ways to make your life meaningful, purposeful and rewarding is key — it all starts within. And it can all start now, alongside a day dedicated to showing appreciation. As you’re thinking about shopping for Valentine’s Day this year and all of the people in our lives that we love, don’t forget that you are one of them.
“Valentine's Day is all about love, but we often do not think of loving ourselves,” said Harrington, who noted we've been given a rare opportunity for self-reflection and deserve recognition for the work we’ve put into ourselves.
“When the world slowed down this past year, it gave everyone a chance to take stock in their life, what they enjoyed, what they want more of, how they want to live differently or what they would like to experience less of,” said Jennifer Teplin, a licensed clinical social worker. “While Valentine’s Day may have been a 'hallmark' holiday in the past, I believe this year it will be infused with more meaning and intention than it ever has before. We are more clear on who matters the most to us, as well as those who may need some extra love,” said Teplin, who founded Manhattan Wellness and acts as its clinical director.
Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day
We all deserve a treat simply for surviving the past year — no matter your relationship status.
“Singles certainly deserve treats as much as couples do,” noted Nancy Irwin, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist. “Just like children, Valentine's Day is for everyone — any age and relationship status.”
Show yourself love based on the way that you most appreciate receiving it.
Sheva Assar, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
This Valentine’s Day may look different for a number of reasons, including the impact of social distancing, ever increasing strains on long-distance relationships and the inherent heartbreak of having experienced recent and perhaps unforeseen loss. That irregular set of hardships means it’s especially timely to be kind to yourself, rejuvenating and enjoying yourself with intention, said Sheva Assar, another licensed clinical psychologist we consulted. “This last year has been unprecedented in many significant ways and it is important to take the time to thank and love yourself for all that you have endured and the many changes and adjustments that you have made to be able to cope with the numerous stressors,” she said.
“While you may be single, partnered, married or something in between, the one constant in your life is yourself so for me this is why 'treating yourself' should be something you try to do everyday,” Assar noted, “especially on the holiday of love.”
Best gift ideas to treat yourself to this Valentine’s Day
As you shop online from the safety of your home, Assar recommended remembering two things: doing what you can to celebrate you and reframing the idea of Valentine’s Day to one that is focused on loving you because you’re worth the investment.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled the best Valentine’s Day gift ideas to give yourself, following the guidance we got from experts.
This AirPods Pro model is the best wireless earbuds for Apple users. Not only will you gain the ability to drown out the chaos with noise cancelling and transparency modes, but these earbuds are equally beloved for all-day wear and high-intensity workouts.
For Teplin, this journal was made for those who’ve gotten through 2020 to help them now survive 2021: It enables individuals to quickly reflect on their day ahead, intentions throughout reflection at night.
“Having a routine feels great when we feel out of control in our life and this journal also enables the individual using it to look back at their year-at-large as a way to inform what they can expect for the future or a moment where things are unclear,” she said.
If you’re spending more time outdoors this winter, give yourself a warm hug with this Canada Goose down coat. Not only does it offer supreme protection against cold rain but this sleek, wind-resistant, machine-washable jacket features an adjustable cinched waist and removable hood.
It features 675 down fill, which shoppers will see typically ranging from 400-900 (the higher the number the better) and will keep you comfortable in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Canada Goose.
Although the Big Green Egg is at a higher price point than other at-home smokers, “these ceramic cookers are almost a must for any backyard kitchen,” Jonathan Fox of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, previously told us. This versatile ceramic kamado-style charcoal grill might be worth the investment for you, given with its ability to grill, roast, smoke, bake and sear.
With a lifetime warranty, you can worry less about rust or how it holds up to the elements. The seven different sizes to accommodate different yard spaces all share the innovative egg-shape design, but the most popular is the Large, which can cook up to 12 burgers, six chickens vertically and seven racks of ribs vertically.
This smart treadmill from NordicTrack allows for an immersive workout without having to hit a gym and is an alternative to an exercise bike that can help users achieve an endorphins boost without needing to leave home. Despite being a commercial series treadmill, it easily folds for compact space.
It also comes with a touchscreen display and a one-year free trial of iFit, Nordictrack’s interactive fitness membership, allowing you to follow along with guidance from a personal trainer — after the trial, the membership will run you $39 per month. The adjustable incline goes from -3 to 15 percent and you can run up to 12 miles per hour on the machine, which can support up to 300 pounds and has a ten-year frame warranty.
Hair stylist Courtney Foster previously told us that the Supersonic is her "all-time favorite blow dryer" because "it prevents heat damage by regulating direct heat on the hair strands, eliminates frizz and provides high shine, which is crucial when it comes to getting the perfect blowout."
And she’s not the only one raving over this luxury hair dryer. Celebrity hair stylist Jhonatan Rendon — who styles Christian Siriano and Lindsay Lohan — also recommended the Dyson model because the "hair dryer is engineered to protect hair from extreme heat damage."
This mattress has the potential to change the way you sleep for the better. This popular mattress-in-a-box will be delivered to your door for a contactless experience.
The hybrid mattress is made up of five main layers with memory foam, gel pods and springs for better support and ergonomic design. There’s a cooling gel coating and “airscape” cutouts in the foam for increased temperature management.
Harrington noted that one of the most valuable presents is the gift of time so treat yourself to spending less of yours cleaning. This smart robotic vacuum model maps out an entire floor of your home to clean it more efficiently. Owners can also set boundaries from smartphones to prevent the vacuum from going into specific areas.
"It can also empty its canister, return to its base when it knows it needs a charge and can stay current with software updates to add features in the future," Carl Prouty, tech expert at Abt Electronics, previously told us for our guide to the best vacuums. The Roomba is also compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
If you’ve been forced to start working from home, there’s a good chance it’s taken a toll on your body if you don’t have an ergonomic setup. You may not have noticed it immediately, but the chair in which you spend hours upon hours matters — and like mattresses, not all ergonomic chairs are created equally.
This breathable mesh back seat allows for ventilation, helping to prevent uncomfortable back and butt sweat, and lumbar support fosters sitting with proper posture. The seat height, headrest and tilt resistance are also all adjustable to help you find the most comfortable fit for you.
Part of Petals and Peacocks’ new capsule collection, entitled Self Love Valentine, this unisex sweatshirt is the perfect cozy top after months of self-isolating. Not only does rocking this playful sweatshirt promote the important message of loving yourself but it also takes this positive energy to the next level by helping a good cause. Petals and Peacocks will donate five percent of profits from your purchase to a nonprofit of your choice.
If you’re enjoying more time experimenting in the kitchen, treat yourself to the ultimate dutch oven. Not only is this multi-purpose, 2-quart Le Creuset enameled piece an investment that you’ll get use out of for years to come but also it should survive getting passed down across generations.
You can also choose to get it in more than a dozen striking colors. Plus, there are a range of matching pieces, like the Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet, if you’re looking to start or add to your enameled cast iron collection.
There’s nothing more valuable than a good night’s sleep — with the continued stressors of 2021 working against it, many of us can use all of the help in this department that we can get.
These buttery, 100-percent organic cotton sheets will keep you both cool and cozy and help make you feel like you’re slipping into a luxury hotel bed without leaving home. The lightweight, matte-finish sheet set also comes with a 17-inch deep fitted sheet for added convenience.
A splurge that you might be be grateful for this year is Dyson's 3-in-1 humidifying fan that purifies, humidifies and cools a room as you spend more time at home. It’s designed to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria in the water before dispersing it into your home, according to Dyson.
The multi-functional humidifier circulates the purified and humidified air with a cool breeze, to boot. It also connects with Alexa and Siri and cleans itself for minimal maintenance.
In time for Valentine’s Day, designer Monique Lhuillier has teamed up with Hanky Panky, which is known for their comfortable thongs, for a recently launched collection of lacey, intimate apparel.
This romantic capsule collection of lingerie, complete with scalloped lace details, might be worth the splurge.
If you’ve been embracing more time in the kitchen, upgrade your at-home cooking and baking game with this all-encompassing KitchenAid Stand Mixer, which cookbook author and Shopping contributor Jonathan Bender recommends.
The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is available in up to 20 colors and comes with a flat beater for mixing batter or mashed potatoes, a wire whisk for beating eggs and a dough hook for kneading bread dough. You can purchase a variety of attachments for the highly-rated mixer, too, such as the food grinder and gourmet pasta press.
While weighted blankets have become a beloved addition to many bedrooms but they aren’t your only option for calming wearables.
Gravity Blanket teamed up with Modernist to create a machine-washable, 100-percent polyester fleece robe with a 3-pound removable collar. The unique weighted inner piece is made from glass beads.
What to keep in my while shopping for yourself
It sounds simple to do but is often hard to achieve: prioritizing yourself. To help, Assar recommended checking out Gary Chapmans' “The 5 Love Languages” or taking the online quiz to help identify your preferred love language.
“Show yourself love based on the way that you most appreciate receiving it,” Assar advised. “Pro Tip: Treat yourself in whatever way you would have love to be treated by a special someone this year.”
Otherwise, the experts we consulted recommended keeping some of the following in mind as you navigate this Valentine’s Day holiday and finding ways to treat yourself.
New hobbies, old goals
Treat yourself to something you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s making an upgrade to your bedding so you sleep better, ordering gear for a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try or investing in new at-home gym equipment.
“So often we push things off because we're busy living but, for the first time in a long time, we've all been given the opportunity to pause, look around and make some hard decisions,” said Teplin. “One of those hard decisions was whether to quickly rush through this experience and count the days until it's over or to use our time wisely and invest in bettering ourselves.”
Consider gifts that foster intimacy with yourself. Lingerie isn’t just for people who are in a relationship, for example.
“Love is easy during the good times, but loving when there are challenges is where intimacy is built — for the self, for the family and for a significant other,” said Irwin.
Stress relief and relaxation
It’s easy to lose sight of the positivity in your life and your strengths during times of high stress, noted Assar.
“Thus, it is essential to intentionally put time and energy toward yourself and bring to awareness your many strengths and demonstrate love and appreciation for yourself,” she said.
Consider gifts that simply spark joy, not necessarily something you need.
“You deserve to treat yourself with love and respect, especially as life is just more difficult right now,” Harrington said. “If you aren't happy with yourself it just means you need to spend more time nurturing that relationship as you would any other.”
Purpose and passion
Social distancing presented a forced opportunity to slow down, evaluate how we have been living and reconnect with ourselves as we seek to refind our passions.
“As we faced being by ourselves for such a long time, often for the first time, some people did not like what they discovered while others felt re-invigorated by pausing some of the daily stress by finding parts of themselves they thought they had lost,” said Harrington.
Consider elevating your ability to enjoy time alone.
“The gift of time is the most fulfilling as the preciousness comes from never being able to get it back,” Harrington said. “Use the time to re-energize yourself.”
Whether or not you traditionally consider yourself an outdoors person, Harrington recommended shopping for something that encourages you to spend more time in the fresh air.
“Sunlight releases a hormone called serotonin and serotonin is associated with boosting mood as well as helping a person feel calm and focused,” she explained.