Valentine’s Day can mean as little or as much as you want it to. Some people choose to ignore it altogether and others choose to mark the day in their own special way. If you want to do something you may feel the pressure of traditional big, grand gestures and that might not be optimal if you have a Chronic Illness that limits what you’re able to do. Even if you feel limited there are plenty of ways to observe Valentine’s Day that won’t stress you out.
- Communication – If you are celebrating with a romantic partner talk about what your expectations are about Valentine’s Day in advance. The last thing you’d want is for you to be on different pages. Be honest about what the holiday means or doesn’t mean to you and come up with a plan together. There can still be surprises, but when you know each other’s expectations it will save a lot of stress later.
- Be Realistic – If you have chronic joint pain don’t force yourself to go on a romantic ice skating adventure in the name of having a “picture perfect” Valentine’s day. No one will be having a good time. It all goes back to communication. There are lots of things that people with a chronic illness can do, but there are also limits. Be realistic about what those limits are. If you tire easily, think of a less physical adventure, or make a low impact walk part of the day instead of the whole day. Be realistic as to whether you can actually do “a whole day” or if a “half-day” is better for you.
- Think outside the box – Dinner, Dancing, Movies – these are classic Valentine’s Day activities but they are by far not the only ones. Also bear in mind that places that are popular are usually packed on Valentine’s day and require a reservation. If crowds are not your thing then you may want to steer clear. Some alternatives may be, instead of going dancing at a club, getting a private dance lesson at a dance studio. Instead of dinner, get lunch or brunch or even order a romantic dinner to go and eat it at home with candles. Going to a zoo (weather permitting) and taking a painting class are also fun alternatives to traditional Valentine’s Day activities and are much lower impact.
- Don’t forget your friends! – If you don’t have a romantic partner or even if you do and you just want to do something less traditional have a small gathering! Celebrate Galentine’s Day or Palentine’s day with the people you love and take some of the stress off of yourself. Many hands make light work, so decorating or cooking can be a shared activity followed by movies or party games. There are lots of kinds of love in the world and when you have a chronic illness it’s nice to tell the people in your life who support you how special they are.