Sweeties everywhere are celebrating Valentine's Day with expressions and tokens, date nights and probably some marriage proposals.

Loving relationships are not just chocolate hearts and flowers, and even the best ones take a lot of care. 

So how does anyone know they'll be able to show up for their partner, their family, and their community?

Raven Daer is the Communications Specialist with Envision Counselling and Support Centre. She said self-love is the best way to ensure healthy relationships, and it all begins with self-care. 

“It's just like our cell phone batteries, right? We can't use them if we let the battery drain out 100 percent. So why would we let that happen to ourselves?”

She said Envision likes to empower individuals to focus on and really embody self-care, but while some single or partnered people may be buying themselves flowers and chocolates today, Daer said self-care is not all bubble baths and other indulgences.

“True self-care is not all that. I mean, those things can absolutely aid to your self-care, but self-care is making the conscious choices each and every day to create a life that you don't feel the need to escape from,” she noted.

“So that can look like things that are as simple as removing toxic or unhealthy people or situations from your life. Even just eating well, focusing on nourishing your body with those healthy foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, going to the doctor if you notice that something is off or any other sort of support services, if you notice that you need a little bit of extra help.”

“Sometimes it can be doing things like staying active or even just engaging in things that you enjoy daily. So maybe that's dancing around your kitchen listening to your favourite music. Things like that. Things that spark joy and passion in your life.”

Parents, she noted, often struggle with taking the time for self-care, particularly those with smaller children.

“Make sure that you focus on putting back into your cup in those ways, whatever that looks like for you, because as caregivers, we are constantly pouring out. We're giving and giving and giving, and that's natural, and that's okay. That's an instinct and we need to be doing that. But we do need to focus on taking that time for ourselves. I know even as a mom sometimes, we can say, 'I don't have time to work out'. Well, we do. I mean, it's very difficult because we are all living very, very busy lives, but it's making those things a priority because those things are what help you be the best you.”

Daer said the most difficult part of finding what sparks joy, for some, is having to leave their comfort zone.

“Growth does not happen in that area, unfortunately, that comfortable little bubble that we like to live in is not where the growth happens, and that's not where our exploration happens either. So just being willing to put yourself into those things in the community that are offered, there's lots of great programs, art programs, sports all of those things, community groups, services, all of those things that are available within our community.”

She recommended checking into various groups via the City of Weyburn's website, or reaching out to Weyburn Tourism, just for starters.

“The library has a number of wonderful programs, the Wheatland Senior Centre is a wonderful place,” she added. “This community truly has a lot of wonderful locations, so just have those conversations with people and don't be afraid to reach out and ask.”

“How do we know that we truly enjoy doing something if we don't ever give it a try?”

Daer reminded that volunteering is a particularly effective way to get out into the community, make some connections, and try something new. She said the worst case is you don't find it sparks joy, but it will likely provide more experiences and even tools for going forward in your exploration of self.