Valentine’s Day and Month of Love

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Amy March

Valentine’s Day
Picture by Pixelgraphy Zimbabwe

Happy Valentines, the month of love. It is that time of the year again, soon after dealing with the festive season’s overspending during the month of January, you now have to celebrate recovery in style with your loved ones. Yes, February, the month of love epitomized by the 14th day of the month, the Valentine’s Day is here.  But will this year’s Valentine’s Day be the same again after celebrating this conspicuous occasion under the Covid pandemic induced lockdowns during the past two years. Your guess is as good as mine!

There is no way you can ignore this day given the high level of attention it receives from both the mainstream and social media. This year we have already witnessed Tiktok videos in circulation wherein people are singing, “Valentines is coming, who is your boyfriend or girlfriend.” It is pertinent to note that love is not the only emotion amplified around Valentine’s Day. To many people the Valentine’s Day brings up feelings of depression, low self-esteem /self-worth and loneliness. The media’s hype around the Valentine’s Day makes it difficult to escape these feelings. At Mental Balance we believe that your mental health is your greatest assert and looking after your mental health is of critical importance.

Love greatly affects our mental health. The Mental Balance Series has decided to give you a run-down of the impact of love on your life as a Valentine’s Day present. This is dedicated to those in marriage, relationships and the no-strings-attached relationship types. Additionally, individuals who have openly shared their mental struggles and those that are still gathering enough courage to do so are welcome to partake in this special gift.

A healthy and loving relationship is not only a cushion against poor mental health, but can also be a major source of support to those undergoing treatment for mental illness. Love and positive social support increase feelings of happiness and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Being loved improves self-worth and feelings of being valued, which in turn expedites the healing process. Involvement of loved ones during treatment can also help strengthen relationships and improve adherence and outcomes of mental health patients. Let us keep this in mind and always try to be there for our loved ones and people we care about.

  1. Love + a Healthy Relationship = Happiness

While love is not an all-round cure for mental illness, it is true that being in love and having a supportive spouse, partner and a healthy intimate relationship promotes happiness. A happy, stable relationship, whether with a spouse or partner, is connected to better mental health. It cannot go without mention that being in a bad relationship can worsen your mental health. An unstable or unhealthy relationship with your partner can destroy your self-esteem, increase your stress, anxiety, and depression levels and even trigger thoughts of suicide. You are therefore, encouraged to be happy always and be number one cheer leaders of your partners for the benefit of their mental health.

  1. Being Loved Promotes Self-Worth.

It is always normal to seek for self-validation from other people, for instance your marriage partner. Feeling loved indeed adds to one’s sense of self-worth. Knowing that someone loves you means that you matter, that you have value, and that someone would be devastated if you were gone. Thus, let us strive to show each other love everyday verbally and other actions. Some of us lost ourselves in the lockdowns and we are thankful of the partners, family and children who have been there for us.  We all need encouragement during “dark” and emotional times. It can be difficult to see your value, especially in the despair of depression or suicidal thoughts. But having someone who loves you can be the lifeline you just need.

  1. It’s the type of Social Support not the quantity that benefits Mental Health

The benefits of relationships are not restricted to romantic connections. Social support in any form has been proven over and over again to be good for mental health. Studies show that the quality of social support is much more important than quantity. In other words, it’s better to have one or two strong social connections than a large network of acquaintances. Teach your children to be good companions so that when you grow old they will provide you and your grandchildren good company. Can you imagine being surrounded by many cold people in your old age!

Research shows that a good social support network benefits mental health in several ways:

  • Better resilience in the face of stress
  • Healthier lifestyle choices
  • Better life-long mental health
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Fewer negative effects of stress
  1. A Healthy Relationship Wires Healthy Habits. ( and Happy Valentines day)

If you are in a healthy and happy intimate relationship, you are more likely to adopt and stick with healthy lifestyle choices. These include eating well, exercising, and avoiding substance abuse. All of these physical health habits promote good mental health. Your relationship may even encourage you to engage in more positive mental health habits, like opening up about your feelings and engaging in productive conflict resolution.

Focus on encouraging healthy habits in each other for good mental health. Find areas in which you can both improve, such as drinking less alcohol or getting adequate sleep. Work on improving those habits together and you will see improvements in mental health as well.

5.Self-Love

Practicing self-love can improve your self-esteem, make you aware of your strengths and allow you to embrace your weaknesses. While you might want to do things that feel good or exciting, practicing self-love means choosing to do the things that keep you focused on your goals and moving towards a healthier, happier life. Allow yourself to say no to things that wear you down and harm you physically or emotionally. This applies to your work, personal life, relationships, and recreational activities. Surround yourself with a healthy support system that includes people who respect your boundaries and who will keep you accountable. Also remember that, forgiving ourselves can take a back seat when we feel low or stressed, but this is a significant step towards self-love. We might forget that we need to forgive ourselves just as much as we need to forgive others.

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