Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and this year it may look a little different, with no more fancy dinner dates or adventures away from home. Perhaps you're far away from the ones you love, or feeling a little unloved during lockdown - but remember, Valentine's Day doesn't have to be limited to romantic love.
In this blog post, we're celebrating the countless different ways you can show compassion for yourself and others, because the world needs love more than ever and this February is the perfect time to show you care.
Local community love
When Covid-19 first hit, we saw a huge wave of community support and mutual aid across the world, with everyday people coming together to help out their neighbours and neighbourhoods. It may seem like a little bit of that community spirit has faded now, but that doesn't mean we can't bring it back. Here are a few ideas for showing compassion for your local community and sharing the love this Valentine's Day:
- If you're not as busy as usual right now, why not use your extra time to volunteer? Use the DO IT website to find your perfect volunteering opportunity, including working with children, animals, nature and more.
- Make random acts of kindness part of your routine. You could create a free bookshare library in your building, pay it forward at a coffee shop, or buy a hot meal for someone experiencing homelessness.
- Help those who are struggling to afford food in your local area. Next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a few extra bits and bobs and donate them to a food bank drop off point - find out which items your local food banks need via the Trussell Trust.
Small business love
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want to live in" — Anna Lappé
Did you know that for every £1 spent with small businesses, 63p remains in the local economy? This contrasts with the 40p that remains in the local economy when shopping with big brands (source). What's more, when you buy from a small business, a real person does a little happy dance - trust us! It's time to invest back into our local, sustainable businesses and get involved in the #shopsmall movement.
Here's how to support small businesses this Valentine's Day:
- Treat your loved ones (or yourself) with some fresh flowers or a new houseplant. Plenty of local florists are ramping up their click-and-collect and delivery services, so make sure to shop small rather than hitting the supermarket.
- Restaurants and bars may be closed, but you can still support them by picking up vouchers to spend when they open again, planning the perfect future date night. Lots of places are providing gourmet meal kits and cocktails so you can recreate the experience at home too.
- Make a trip to your local takeaway coffee shop part of your routine, and avoid the chain cafés. Remember to bring your reusable coffee cup with you so you can ditch the single-use plastic and warm up on your daily walk.
Love for the great outdoors
The natural environment deserves some love this Valentine's day too! We don't need a small handful of people living perfectly sustainable lives, we really need everyone to pitch in what they can to build a better world. Here are some ideas to help protect your local outdoor environment from climate change and plastic pollution:
- Take part in a local group litter pick or beach clean to help prevent the harmful effects of single-use plastic pollution - find out more via the National Trust.
- Show compassion for our shared oceans by supporting charities such as the Marine Conservation Society - you can adopt a turtle, make a donation, or even shop from Global WAKEcup - we give 10% of all profits to MCS!
- Fight back against climate change in your community by getting involved with local climate action groups such as Extinction Rebellion or Friends of the Earth. You can also sign and share petitions such as this one that stands against oil drilling on the Isle of Wight.
Check out this blog post to find out more about the physical and mental health benefits of nature, and discover ideas for how to get outdoors more in 2021.
"The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself" — Diane Von Furstenberg
Your longest relationship in life and the person you spend the most time with is you, so why not use Valentine's Day as an excuse to reaffirm self-love by practising self-care? It's been quite a year, and you deserve a break! Here are some ideas to show yourself compassion:
- Schedule in an evening of total relaxation. Put your phone on airplane mode to avoid any stressful distractions, and snuggle in with your favourite book or box set, order in a delicious takeaway, or run yourself a hot bubble bath and queue up some podcasts for an evening of true escapism.
- Treat yourself to a Valentine's Day gift! You could order some comfy new pyjamas, a luxury candle, some skincare goodies or even some zero-waste homewares. A little can go a long way when you really put yourself first.
- Start embracing the new season early with a total spring clean. Clear out your wardrobe, sort through over-stocked cupboards and organise your shelves to help refresh your home and your mind from excess clutter.
It can be really tough not being able to see friends as much as usual. That is why it's more important than ever to make the effort to stay connected. Check in on your friends regularly, even the ones you think are doing well. We all need to stick together until we can meet again - here are some ideas to get you started:
- Organise a regular monthly Zoom catchup with your friendship circle, and keep it low-pressure for anyone that's able to join. You can schedule in quizzes and games too if you need a bit of organised fun to get the virtual ball rolling!
- Go on a socially distanced walk with friends that live locally, so you can enjoy the outdoors while you chat. Don't forget your coffee cup!
- Send them a card, just because. Valentine's Day or anyday, a letter or postcard is a lovely way to let your friends know you're thinking of them.
Gifts for loved ones
If you're lucky enough to be celebrating with someone you love this year, why not give them a gift that gives back?
Here are some of our top picks from the WAKEcup range that aim to reduce your household's single-use plastic footprint, now with free personalisation so you can customise the gift with their name. We also give 10% of all profits to the Marine Conservation Society to help protect the health of our marine ecosystems, and donate hundreds of free products to our NHS superheroes on the frontlines of the pandemic.