The Daily Gamecock

Column: Take yourself on a date this Valentine's Day

<p>A candle-lit table that is set for one with Valentine's Day paraphernalia surrounding the tableware.</p>
A candle-lit table that is set for one with Valentine's Day paraphernalia surrounding the tableware.

For many people, Valentine's Day holds a negative connotation. If that sounds like you, challenge yourself to switch your perspective this year and make the holiday all about you. It doesn't have to be grand or planned, just something to help you be present this Sunday. 

<p>A person sits at a table set for one while surrounded by Valentine's Day paraphernalia.</p>
A person sits at a table set for one while surrounded by Valentine's Day paraphernalia.

The easiest way to start your morning in a good mood is to exercise. Set aside time for a slow-paced, outdoor activity such as biking. If you don’t have your own, rent a bike from a local shop or through an app. ColaTown Bike Collective shares resources on its website to find nearby and custom routes. There’s nothing better for the soul than fresh air, so choose a location surrounded by nature, such as the Riverwalk. 

Once you’re feeling good inside, it’s only right to match that vibe on the outside with a brand new outfit that expresses your unique style. 

The "dress well, test well" mantra is something to consider to have a day filled with confidence and self-expression. If you don’t have anything in mind yet, check out some local second-hand stores such as Sid & Nancy or Revente to amp up your style in a way that is good for the earth and your wallet. 

Nothing feels better than rocking something "new" on a day that is supposed to make you feel good. 

Share your style with a quick photo shoot or even a selfie. This can be done easily on your own with a crowd favorite, the timer-camera, or a tripod. Don’t forget about your window, either; it can make for a great prop with good lighting to catch a picture of your new fit.

Admire the results of your self-curated photoshoot, then flip the camera around. Capture someone else’s art while visiting the exhibits at the Columbia Museum of Art on Main Street. The walls are covered with pieces to catch the eye of anyone, no matter your artistic taste. Take some time to stroll in the silence and appreciate the creativity surrounding you, and be sure to take photos of the artwork that speak to you most. You can easily spend hours roaming the halls of this serene museum.

After getting a head start on your day, take some time for yourself. Taking yourself on a date can also be simply treating yourself right. Maybe it’s time for a facemask or to paint your nails while listening to your favorite album. Or, maybe you just want to kick your feet up and watch a television show that has been on your list. Either way, remember that self-love means doing something for you.

Try doing or making something you have always dreamed of with a DIY of your choice.

Maybe now that you’ve spent the afternoon soaking up many forms of art, you’re in the mood to get creative yourself. Before you settle down for the evening, make a pit-stop at Michael’s and pick up some supplies for a project. Purchase a paint-by-numbers, bedazzling or terrarium kit and set up shop in front of the TV. Watching a movie is so much more fun when you can create something at the same time.

After the long day you’ve had, you’ll definitely be ready to eat.

On a holiday that is supposed to make you feel good, food sure does a good job. Head to your local grocery store or even the dollar store to pick up your favorite foods for a muckbang. You can take on these tasty treats solo or share your picks with some friends. A variety of snacks and dishes to curate a buffet might sound intimidating, but there is no shame in indulging or having leftovers for the rest of the week.

<p>A box of chocolates that say "Happy Valentine's Day" surrounded by other Valentine's Day paraphernalia.</p>
A box of chocolates that say "Happy Valentine's Day" surrounded by other Valentine's Day paraphernalia.

If a menagerie of flavor doesn’t sound up your ally, there are plenty of online options to pick from to make a single dish.

Choose a recipe from Pinterest to recreate for dinner, or make an evening of it with an online cooking class. When you see the fruits of your labor simultaneously coming to life, you’ll be very satisfied.

If all of this sounds like too much work or too familiar, there are plenty of day trips that are feasible for a Sunday drive.

Head up north to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a different city vibe that offers a variety of retail, outdoor parks and great views. Down south, Charleston, South Carolina, brings a beachy and historic sense to most with great paths to walk and stores to shop. A little further south is Savannah, Georgia, filled with weeping willows and a change of scenery.

This Valentine's Day is for everyone. Don’t forget that self-love comes first, and with that, comes treating yourself.