February 14 marks Valentine's Day, a holiday symbolizing love and romance. The day—originally commemorating St. Valentine’s burial—has turned into a time of exchanging gifts of flowers and chocolate, and going on romantic dates, all with an intent to show love and care to that special someone. Spending Valentine’s Day alone is often frowned upon or found to be embarrassing, which is far from the truth. If you are alone on Valentine’s Day this year, use it as a day to practice self-love and learn that spending Valentine’s Day alone is normal.

Embracing self-love this Valentine’s Day fosters personal growth and improves mental health. Self-love is the appreciation of oneself and realizing your worth. According to Business Insider, “[It is the] feeling of trust, confidence, and pride in yourself and your abilities.” Self-love may mean prioritizing your needs and treating yourself with kindness and respect. This concept is seen by many as narcissistic and self-centered, but it is necessary for self-improvement and overall life satisfaction, both mentally and physically. What might this look like? Making decisions regardless of others’ opinions, not comparing yourself to others, and putting yourself first.

This Valentine’s Day is a day of love, even if you are alone, so find activities that focus on self-development and prioritize your happiness. First, take on a new hobby. Hobbies can be a helpful distraction from any stressful factors in your life—providing excitement, releasing dopamine, and giving yourself a sense of enjoyment and pleasure. Whether this may be taking on arts and crafts or joining a yoga class, hobbies are a beneficial addition to your mental well-being. Second, get yourself a gift. Studies show that those with higher stress levels tend not to reward themselves. When feeling stressed, self-gifting has the potential to boost your productivity as a result of being able to relax. Maybe get yourself a box of chocolates or a bouquet as a reward for all the work you have done so far. Lastly, do something nice for someone else. Showing kindness towards others has been shown to increase a person’s empathy, compassion, and mood. It also decreases blood pressure and stress levels and increases the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are the “happy hormones” responsible for feelings of satisfaction and happiness. This Valentine’s Day, take yourself on a date and practice self-love even if you are alone.