The author of 'My Real-Life Rom-Com' has advice for singles during the season of love, and it's not to partner up
It's the season of love. The stores are full of hearts and flowers, pink and red everything, and sprinkles of glitter cover the floors. Commercials are encouraging us all to buy jewelry, chocolate and cards for that special someone. And it's all but raining conversation hearts outside. If all of the lovely-dovey stuff has you feeling more Cruella than Cupid, author and TikTok star Carrie Berk, 21, has some advice: lean into loving yourself instead.
Berk's new book, My Real-Life Rom-Com: How to Build Confidence and Write Your Own Relationship Rules, is part memoir, part guide to navigating the dating world, written for teens by someone who's been there.
The idea came out of Berk's own experiences swimming through the often muddy waters of first relationships. The author even used some of her own teenage journals for reference during her writing process, and she wants teens to see it as a guide to coming-of-age love and heartbreak.
But for those who don't currently have a relationship to navigate, Berk has a few ideas. PEOPLE chatted with the social media star on how to stay positive this Valentine's Day season, and it all starts with self-love.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings
"Whether that's anxious, sad, indifferent...it's all valid," Berk advises. "Accept your feelings for what they are and instead of pushing them down, use them as fuel to do something productive on V-Day."
She recommends giving your home or apartment a nice, restorative deep-clean, organizing your closet or working on a project you've been putting off. Whatever will make you feel accomplished, that's your V-Day task.
Make plans with your girlfriends
Channel your inner Leslie Knope and say "no thanks" to pricey prix fixe for two.
"So many restaurants are hosting Galentine's bottomless brunches," Berk suggests. "Or, if you're looking to ball out on a budget, plan a game night with the girls." And while we're talking Galentine's, don't forget it can be a gender-neutral term. However your singles squad identifies, band together to turn Valentine's into a celebration of singlehood.
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Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to pamper number one (you!).
"Self-love is the most important love of all," Berk adds. "So take this day as an opportunity to show yourself some next-level appreciation." She suggests treating yourself to a facial, taking a warm bath (and don't forget the bubbles) or going for a run. If it makes you feel good about yourself, go for it.
Remember that being single on V-Day does not mean you're a failure
"I spent many Valentine's Days single," Berk says, adding that her book is "filled with epic dating fails." Coming down with a case of the blues when surrounded by couples is normal, but take heart that you're not alone.
"It's normal and healthy to feel bummed out, but the more confidence you maintain in yourself, the more positive energy you attract (and maybe even a potential partner)," Berk adds.
Spread the love
"The energy you give, you get back," Berk says. Lean in to the relationships you do have instead of mourning those you don't. Berk suggests calling a friend or family member to catch up and telling them you love them. Chatting with someone who values you, regardless of relationship status, is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Doing an act of service like volunteering at an organization that supports a cause that matters to you, helping someone less fortunate or donating to charity are also great ways to pay it forward.
Buy yourself a gift
"No, it's not pathetic," Berk says. "It's kind of iconic. Just because you don't have a significant other doesn't mean you can't show yourself some love." Consider this your permission slip to treat yourself to something special. Go ahead: buy the chocolate, send yourself flowers or even splurge on something silky just for you. Whatever will put a smile on your face is worth it.
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