This Valentine’s Day, Love Yourself

valentineValentine’s Day can evoke different feelings for different people. Some revel in the candy hearts, the flowers, the candlelit dinners. Others are painfully reminded of past relationships, or feel left out if they’re not currently in a relationship. Still others are completely indifferent to what they refer to as a “made up” holiday.

Whatever your feelings on Valentine’s Day, this year we encourage you to use it as an opportunity to remind yourself that you deserve to be loved not only by other people, but by you. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but loving yourself can lay a foundation for stronger, healthier relationships with others. That begins with accepting yourself for who you are right now in your life.

It also means taking good care of yourself. At The Hotline, we talk with many callers and chatters about self-care. Caring for yourself is vitally important, but many of us neglect ourselves for a variety of reasons. This Valentine’s Day, consider doing something kind for yourself, even if it’s small. That could mean cooking a healthy meal, reading a good book, taking a class you’re interested in, or just sitting quietly for a few minutes. Self-care is about what works best for you. Need inspiration? Check out our self-care Pinterest board.

If you have experienced abuse, loving and caring for yourself might mean seeking support through counseling or support groups. Learn more about finding the right counselor for you, or speak with one of our advocates who can locate a counselor or support group in your area.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship or have previously been in one, it may help to create an emotional safety plan. This can be a very important way to care for yourself on your journey to safety. A Hotline advocate can help you create your own unique safety plan, so call or chat with us today if you need assistance.

Regardless of your situation, you deserve to be cared for, and you have the power to be your own caregiver. There are tons of ways to practice self-care, and sometimes it only takes a few minutes of your day to make a big difference in your life. We asked our friends on social media about their favorite self-care activities and received so many great responses! Here are just a few, but if you want to read more check out the original Facebook post:

“Baking yummy goodies and decorating them with my daughter’s help. Best part is eating them once we’re done”Gina

“Making sure I see my dv therapist every week and stay real and honest and open.”Gabe

“Although I don’t get to as often as I would like – I enjoy sharing my story of surviving with others. Every time I speak to a group I get another piece of ‘me’ back!”Marie

“Reading in my most comfy pajamas!” – Erin

“Sometimes, after the children are in bed, I climb underneath my down comforters with a cup of hot tea and cry. I maintain strength and courage for my family and friends but, in private, I allow myself to grieve, rejoice, solidify my resolve, and recite self-love, kindness, and understanding, releasing the angst and filling with love. Loving myself is my act of self-care.”Alice

“Walking, hiking, working in the garden, massage, hot bubble bath, quiet time and reading. All are necessary as I’m a single mom of two boys, it’s so important to make time for self care.”Kathleen

“[Being] mindful of the way in which I talk to myself. And bubble baths.”Gabriella

“Making sure I have quiet time everyday, which I need.”Grzenia

“Petting a puppy”John

“Volunteer, write poems and pray”Angela

“Singing my little heart out, as loud as I want, to whatever I feel like! There’s no better therapy for me!”Tamsin

“Yoga and crocheting and the occasional pedicure!”Katie


What’s your favorite self-care activity? Let us know in the comments!


Happy Valentine’s Day from the Hotline!

valentines-dayValentine’s Day is about expressing love and appreciation for the important people in your life – whether it’s your spouse, romantic partner, or a special friend. Here at the hotline, we strongly believe in the work we do with people who are hurting because of unhealthy and/or abusive relationships, but we want to celebrate healthy relationships, too.

This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to reflect on the people you love and how you can contribute to keeping your relationships healthy. Here are a few things to consider:

Love yourself. Sometimes this is the hardest part of a relationship – loving and accepting yourself for who you are. It’s just as important to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally and physically as it is to care for your partner. Don’t forget to make yourself a priority so that you can be your best self for your loved ones.

Communicate. Talk to your partner about your feelings and needs, and give them space to talk about theirs. Listen to what they are really saying; are they upset because you didn’t notice they did the laundry, or because you left your dirty dishes in the sink? Maybe they’re really trying to tell you that they don’t feel appreciated. Make the effort to talk and listen to your partner every day.

Trust. This is a key part of every relationship. Trust your partner fully, and always be each other’s biggest champion. If you don’t trust your partner and vice versa, there could be potential to slide into an unhealthy relationship. Talk through any trust issues and explore ways to be faithful, reliable, and secure with your partner.

Today, please join with the team at, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, to promote healthy relationships with the National Respect Announcement. Post this announcement to your social media accounts and let the world know that everyone deserves healthy relationships!

This Valentine’s Day, we’d like to remind you that everyone deserves a safe and healthy relationship. If you or someone you know has a question about a relationship, healthy or unhealthy, visit or text “loveis” to 22522.

Remember, love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them.

You can also call the hotline anytime, day or night, at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or chat online with us Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CST. Our advocates are here for you.

We wish you a safe and happy Valentine’s Day!

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Celebrate Healthy Relationships This Valentine’s Day

On the surface, the focus of Valentine’s Day seems to be teddy bears and gifts but the deeper meaning of the day lies in relationships — the one you have with yourself and those you have with others. Today, take time to reflect on the different people in your life and your relationships with them. Are you being an active participant in all of your relationships? A good friend, parent or partner?

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the healthy relationships in your life by realizing what makes them great and by thinking of ways you could make them even better. Here are some ideas for how to deepen the bonds you share with your loved ones.

For your friends:
Are your friendships two-sided, with each of you giving the other support? Take time today to make sure you’re being the best friend you can be. Be there for your buddies in a way that’s focused on them. Practice “active listening”  by using clarifying phrases to make sure you know what they are saying. For example,”What I’m hearing you say is _______. Is that right?”  Use eye contact during a conversation. Don’t assume anything, and don’t spend time planning what you’ll say next instead of listening to what they’re saying now.

For you:
There’s no better time to focus on self-care than this Valentine’s Day. Give yourself the gift of paying a little more attention to #1 today (yes, that’s you!). By working on having a strong, healthy relationship with yourself, you’ll be better equipped to thrive in healthy relationships with friends and loved ones.

If you are a survivor of an abusive relationship and today is a difficult time for you, make sure to focus on your well-being and try to steer clear of things that will remind you of an ex, like the place you always went to dinner together, or a song you both loved.  If you’re worried that you might be tempted to your ex, schedule activities with friends to keep you busy and have people you can call. Don’t forget that we’re available at The Hotline, toll free, and 24/7. Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

For your community:
February is a great time to give back in some way to your community, because it’s National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. One of the best ways to get the word out is to talk to the schools in your community — attend a PTA meeting and bring handouts for example. Download the teenDVmonth Toolkit which includes pledges, “how to” guides, prep manuals and more.

For your children:
In fostering a healthy relationship with your children, communication and dialogue are key. Take today to talk about healthy dating with your children and the young people in your life. Explain to them that in a healthy relationship, both partners feel free to be themselves and set the boundaries they want. Partners should respect these boundaries and be supportive of each others differences. Stress the importance of communication — and let it begin with this conversation between the two of you. If they want to text or talk on the phone to an advocate their own age, they can call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054.

For your partner:
Healthy relationships are all about respecting and honoring boundaries, but when you’re in a close relationship with someone this might sometimes fall by the wayside. Today, make a special effort to honor your partner’s boundaries, big or small. Does it drive them crazy when you leave the dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher? Are they bothered when you show up late to places? Make that extra little effort to try respect their needs, even if it’s as simple as washing dishes and setting your watch back a few minutes. Honoring your partner’s boundaries now will prevent the little things from turning into bigger things later on — it will be a gift for both of you!

What are some ways you plan on celebrating the relationships in your life?

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Valentine is a Healthy Relationship

The most popular gifts loved ones give each other for Valentine’s day are roses, chocolates and jewelry. Yes, it is nice to get the flowers and treats, but it is also nice to know that you are in a loving and secure relationship. The best gift you can give a loved one is the gift of a healthy relationship year-round.

Here are some tips to a healthy relationship:

  • Be respectful, thoughtful and kind. This sounds simple enough but there are times when our own emotions get in the way and we take out our stress and anger on those we love.
  • Be honest and talk openly with each other if something is bothering you. If there is conflict, see if there is a compromise that suits you both.
  • Be supportive of each other’s successes and also be there for one another when things don’t go quite right.
  • Maintain your own identities and spend some time apart so that you do not become dependent on each other and isolated from friends and family.

If you’re a parent, remember that maintaining a healthy relationship is also good for your children. They mimic what they see at home so show them through your own relationship what they should look for in a partner. It is never too early to talk with your children about how to develop a healthy relationship.

Consider these goals for teaching your children about relationships:

  • Ensure they respect other people and other people’s property.
  • Show them how to address a situation that makes them angry without using violence or angry words.
  • If they have a problem with a friend, talk to them about compromises.
  • Teach them that there are consequences for our actions. Kids need to know this, even at an early age.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship but you should strive for a healthy relationship that makes you happy and doesn’t cause you an inordinate amount of stress. Everyone deserves love, dignity and respect in their relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!