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Alone time doesn't have to be lonely: Here's how to practice self-love on Valentine's Day

A local therapist shares tips on how to find company within yourself.

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — When you start to see Valentine's Day candy, gifts and flowers line the aisles at grocery stores, it's easy to fall into a trap of feeling lonely. James Chadwick, a therapist at Radiant Living Therapy in Plymouth, says it's a feeling single people may experience year-round. 

"Loneliness is key for a lot of people and thinking in twos," Chadwick said. "Thinking, the couple is going to satisfy me if I’m in a relationship.

But Chadwick says you shouldn't wait for a loved one to find inner happiness.

"You can be happy today and you can find that relationship with yourself," he said.

He suggests taking yourself on a date. Even if it may be a bit uncomfortable at first, it's something you can benefit from in the long run.

"Yeah it feels a little clunky or a little cheesy to get candy for yourself, or a massage for yourself, or take yourself to a movie or get a nice dinner... but in doing that, you create a safe base for yourself and get to know more of your own needs and what’s important to you in a relationship," he said.

One way to treat yourself is to spend time doing a "flow" activity.

"Flow activities that are immersive, that you lose yourself in. That’s another thing that scientists have found to be generating fulfillment," Chadwick said.

That can include running, doing a creative art activity, playing an instrument, journaling, or doing a puzzle. Chadwick says once you're more in touch with yourself, you can often be a better partner to a significant other once you find that person.

"This is the time to find out what you like to do and you can share that and look for like-minded people when the time is right," he said.

Last but not least, remember that Valentine's Day is just another day in the calendar year. It's important to practice self-love all year long.

"All kinds of love should be upheld and celebrated," Chadwick said. "Self-love is really important in that."

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