Karen Brazas: Make someone’s (Valentine’s) day, and yours as well | TheUnion.com

Karen Brazas: Make someone’s (Valentine’s) day, and yours as well

Karen Brazas
Other Voices

It's Valentine's Day! So if you want to match the "national average cost" for sharing your love, and if you have that $150 burning a hole in your pocket, go out and spend it on someone you love.

But what if you're running a bit shy on cash this month? Or worse, what if you are minus a sweetheart? Do you just block this day from your February calendar? Do you attempt to avoid the vast displays of heart-shaped candy boxes, the dozens of red rose bouquets, and the endless aisles stacked with greeting cards that encourage you to profess your love for a mere $6.99?

If you're at all stressed out about this ubiquitous "holiday," no need to hide out for a day and wait for it to pass. Consider an alternative. I offer a few ideas to ease your anxiety and maybe even bring joy, not only to you but to someone else.

Start a "gratitude journal." Actually take pen to paper and write down what you are thankful for. Include anything … the rain, the snow, the people you know … the grass, the trees, the cool winter breeze. And no! There's no need for rhyme. But give some serious thought to the people and things for which you are grateful. Once you get started, you'll be surprised to find that your list grows pretty fast.

I offer a few ideas to ease your anxiety and maybe even bring joy, not only to you but to someone else.

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Is your mom on your list? If you're lucky enough to still have her on this earth, call her today. Wish her a Happy Valentine's Day. I would willingly spend $150 and so much more if I could place a call to mine in heaven. And don't forget dads. They need affirmation too. Call him. Thank him for something he's done for you.

Or how about a brother, sister, aging auntie or old friend you've lost touch with? A phone call, an email, or even a "wave" from Facebook might make their day. What to say? Simple … "I was thinking about you today. Hope you're doing well."

Do you have a neighbor you rarely see because you or they are "just always too busy?" Take a half hour and bake a pan of cookies and stop by. Bound to bring a smile. Or take some sweets or flowers to a convalescent home or hospital ward. Make someone's day … and yours as well.

Do you know someone who is hurting, but you avoid that person because you don't know what to say? Our son's old high school friend committed suicide last month. I'm sure there was not one person at the memorial service who didn't ask himself, "What could I have done to help ease her pain?" Maybe Valentine's Day is a good day to reach out.

And last, but truly not least, write a love letter.

Write it to your spouse, your parent, or your son or daughter. It doesn't have to be sugary sweet. It just has to be sincere. A letter to let them know you care, that you appreciate and respect them. That you are proud of them. And that you love them.

Make someone's Valentine's Day happy … and then maybe yours will be too.

Karen Brazas lives in Nevada City.

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