Anna Williamson on Valentine’s Day: ‘Celebrate love in all its forms’


a photo of relationships expert Anna williamson; she is looking into the camera and smiling

In her monthly Psychologies column, relationships expert Anna Williamson discusses the benefits of celebrating love — whether romantic, familial, or friendly — for Valentine’s Day

It’s February, the official month of love, affection, and connection! Valentine’s Day often polarises opinions – it’s fair to say, people typically love it or hate it. But regardless of whether you go giddy for the globally celebrated event, or prefer to put it into Room 101, there is certainly something positive that we can all get from embracing and sharing the love in our lives.

And whether you’re attached or single, it matters not – why not view Valentine’s month as a chance to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life?

In recent years, we’ve seen alternatives to the tradition: why not make this a Palentine’s, instead, and let your mates know how much you care? Or how about a Galentine’s Day, for making memories with your best girlies? Or maybe you skip the sentimentality altogether?

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romance; why not embrace this month as a celebration of love in all its forms, in whichever way you’d like to express it? Take this chance to reconnect with friends, family, and, most importantly, with yourself.

Share heartfelt messages, spend quality time, and express gratitude for the love that surrounds you, which perhaps you haven’t prioritised for a while.

If you are entering this month in a relationship – whether a long-term one, or one just in its infancy – attitudes and expectations around Valentine’s can often be steeped in awkwardness. I can well remember countless cringey moments, over my years of dating and in relationships, once 14 February hovered into view.

Here’s how you can navigate similar scenarios that might arise this year, to ensure Valentine’s Day is productive for your relationship:

Communicate and manage expectations.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, have an open and honest conversation with your partner about what your views and expectations are, and in turn, listen to theirs.

Discuss whether you want to celebrate with a grand gesture, or prefer a cosy night in. This will help prevent misunderstandings.

Plan thoughtful gestures.

It’s the little things that truly do count, trust me. Have a think about how you can show your appreciation and love. How about breakfast in bed, a handwritten love letter, or a simple act of thoughtfulness and kindness? Remember, it’s not about the price tag – thought and effort will carry you an awfully long way towards making your loved one feel special!

Create lasting memories.

Time is the one thing we can all give (and it’s free!), yet is often the thing that’s most lacking in relationships. Rather than focusing on material things, prioritise experiences that create last memories. Whether it’s a romantic weekend away, cooking a meal together, or a simple picnic in the park, shared experiences strengthen the bond between partners.

Don’t forget to embrace some self-love, too. Valentine’s Day is not reserved solely for those loved-up in romantic relationships. Take this opportunity to indulge in some self-kindness and self-care.

Treat yourself to something special that brings you joy, maybe (a personal favourite of mine) a solo spa day to rest and relax, or a favourite meal, or just anything you want to do but have been waiting for a ‘reason’ to do so. Here’s your permission to go for it – you deserve it!

A healthy relationship with yourself is the foundation for fulfilling connections with others. As February unfolds, let’s redefine and then embrace the essence of Valentine’s Day.

Utilise this time to cultivate and celebrate love in all it’s wonderful forms – it’s a much more productive mindset to be in than declaring it a load of old rubbish! Love is a beautiful feeling, and a journey that deserves celebrating each and every day of the year – but this month is the perfect opportunity to amplify that joy of connection.

Here’s to a month filled with love, laughter, and cherished moments!

Read more: Anna Williamson shares her experience of getting the best out of love