TAKE A BREAK
Try These 3 Tricks to Improve Your Mindset Lonely on Valentine’s Day?
If you feel like the “before” actor in a Match.com commercial right now, you’re not the only one. Valentine’s Day causes an epidemic of
loneliness. But contrary to those cheesy commercials, the feeling isn’t exclusive to people struggling to find a date — and it won’t necessarily be solved by one.
What is loneliness, really?
Psychology Today defines loneliness as “the state of distress or discomfort that results when one perceives a gap between one’s desires for social connection and actual experiences of it.” That means you can get lonely any time you crave a deeper connection to someone, even if you’re married and have 500 Facebook friends. If COVID-19 lockdowns and canceled holiday celebrations have left you frustrated and sad, you’ve caught the loneliness bug.
How can you fight the feeling?
• Work out your social muscles. If you don’t push yourself to connect with others regularly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of loneliness and depression. You have to commit to your social life just like you would to an exercise routine. To do this, try blocking off time in your calendar to call your friends or loved ones, or join an online group with regular Zoom meetings you’re committed to showing up for. • Add more art into your social life. Researcher Jeremy Nobel, the head of The UnLonely Project, says that getting creative with other people could help reverse loneliness. If you’re feeling disconnected, try collaborating with your sibling, roommate, friend, spouse, or child on something artistic. You can paint together, have a jam session, take photos, or write a poem. Whatever you choose, getting creative will bring you closer. • Find and fix your negative behaviors. Does scrolling through social media make you feel like you’re missing out on all the fun or leave you feeling like a zombie? If so, it’s probably time for a hiatus. As you go about your day or week, keep a notebook with you and write down what you’re doing when you feel loneliness creep in. By identifying those negative behaviors and swapping them with positive ones, you can turn your thoughts around. Loneliness is serious: It’s a predictor of premature death, and one leading researcher compared its health impacts to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you’re coping with loneliness, try the tips above, and if you continue to struggle, reach out to a counselor near you.
‘MY FURRY VALENTINE’ PUP SNACKS
Inspired by SugarTheGoldenRetriever.com
Who needs a Valentine’s Day date when you have a furry friend at home? This Feb. 14, show your pooch your love with these frosty strawberry dog treats. Use a heart-shaped silicone mold to make this snack extra festive.
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, puréed
Note: If you don’t have a heart-shaped mold, you can freehand your treats on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 tbsp dollops of yogurt for an hour, then top with 1/2 tbsp of strawberry purée and freeze another hour. 1. Fill each heart in the mold 3/4 full with yogurt. 2. Freeze the yogurt hearts for 1 hour. 3. When the yogurt is set, add the puréed strawberry on top of each heart to fill the rest of the mold. 4. Freeze for another hour, then share the tasty treats with your dog!
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