Count the ways

February 12, 1998

Count the ways

Self-care experts Niki Scott, Lisa Boice, Annie Benton and Deborah Kern offer the following suggestions for celebrating a solo Valentine's Day:

Let yourself play.

Buy a helium balloon, release it and watch it fly high above you, Scott says.

Pick up a bottle of children's bubbles and wave the wand.

"You'll find yourself laughing out loud," Scott says.

Plan a great trip.

Stop dreaming about where you'd like to spend your next vacation. Pull out the atlas and the travel brochures you've collected.


To celebrate her recent birthday, Benton went to Italy.

"I just got out a map and said 'Tuscany. I've never been to Tuscany before,' " Benton says.

Take a silent retreat.

Rent a room at a bed and breakfast, or simply stay home.

Decide not to talk all day, and take the phone off the hook, Benton says. You can read, listen to music or write in a journal.

This quiet, constructive time allows you to reflect on all the things that are wonderful in your life, Benton says.

Be good to others.

Call a friend you haven't seen recently, Boice says.

Smile at busy sales clerks, and write letters to local officials thanking them for a job well done.

Boice also suggests doing an anonymous good deed for a friend, or taking your pet to visit someone who is lonely.

Another possibility is calling your favorite charity and asking what you can do to help.

Boice says she sends flowers to her two teenage daughters at school on Valentine's Day.

Indulge yourself.

Treat yourself to a massage, take a long bubble bath or buy some chocolate.

Above all, don't feel guilty.

In order to help someone else, you have to give yourself a boost, Kern says.

"The next day when you wake up, you'll be in a much better place to help others," Kern says.

Do something fun.

Boice offers these suggestions:

Play a game of cards.

Spread out a blanket in the living room and have a picnic.

Go to a movie with a friend, or rent a video and ask some friends over.

Reread a favorite story or book.

Make your own valentines.

Write a poem or story about your best Valentine's Day.

Write yourself a love letter.

"Pretend you're writing to someone just like you," Scott says.

Include all the things you like about yourself.

Have a wonderful meal.

Splurge on a special dinner, and buy yourself the best steak in the house, Scott says.

If you love to cook, take the time to whip up something special at home.

If you don't want a big production, keep meals and clean-up simple on Valentine's Day, Boice says.

Make a date with yourself.

Ask yourself what you've wanted to do but haven't had time for, Benton says.

"Let your imagination wander, and go do that," she says.

Send yourself flowers.

Benton says she buys herself bouquets on a regular basis.

"Fresh flowers are cheery, and they change your environment," Benton says.

Don't forget the card, Scott says.

"Say 'These are because you are the most wonderful person I know, and I love you,' " Scott says.

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