Many of us struggle to live up to the ideals we see on TV, in advertising and on social media, whether we are in a relationship or not. That's why days which are supposed to celebrate love and togetherness can highlight how different, alone or low we feel.
These feelings may be even more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic. You might not be able to spend time with people you care about. Or you may not feel comfortable meeting new people and connecting with others. And your usual ways of coping may not be available.
We're using Valentine's day as an opportunity to share advice and personal stories which might help if you're struggling, today or any day.
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Feeling lonely isn't a mental health problem in itself . But it is something that a lot of people with mental health problems struggle with.
There are many reasons that you might feel alone. It's not always about not having anyone around. Loneliness is simply about not feeling connected.
If you're feeling lonely around Valentine's day or at any other time, we have some tips for managing loneliness which may help.
John lives with social phobia and struggles with meeting people. Find out the steps he's taking to recover.
“I have made several online acquaintances, but this is a life-changing thing, and it's not going to happen overnight.”
Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. It's based on our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, which can sometimes feel difficult to change.
If you have low self-esteem you may dislike yourself, feel like you're worthless or that no one likes you.
Days like Valentine's day can be difficult because there are a lot of portrayals of unrealistic and idealised relationships to measure yourself against. This might make you feel as if you or your relationships are not good enough.
If you feel this way today, or any day, some things that can help include being kind to yourself, looking after yourself and setting yourself a challenge.
Visit our page on taking care of your self-esteem to find more tips for supporting yourself.
Natasha writes about rebuilding her self-esteem after a traumatic experience, and how she is helping others with their confidence.
“I gradually learned to be kinder, and value myself more.”
Even if you're in a loving relationship, you might feel left out on Valentine's day.
Going through difficult times together can sometimes make our relationships stronger. But they can also cause arguments or stress. And they can make us feel like we are not living up to the 'perfect' image we see around us.
If you feel this way, it might help to read Clare and Kate's stories below. They talk about experiencing mental health problems in relationships, and how they manage things. Our pages on mental health problems and helping someone else also have tips for taking care of yourself and supporting others.
Clare and her husband both have mental health problems. She shares how they have learned to cope.
“Finding new tools and techniques can be valuable, in ways you don't always expect.”
Kate blogs about how her relationship was affected when she became her husband's carer.
“I was combating his negativity every day, trying to cajole him into keeping going.”
There is support out there for you.
This information was published in February 2022.