So there I was: exhausted and bewildered on a hot and humid Saturday, trying to get through customs. I’d just arrived in Goa, India, following 14 hours of travel from London. My driver was waiting for me in the arrivals hall holding a small, sparkly red heart, ready to whisk me off to Arambol Beach for a puja ceremony. I had one month of yoga teacher training ahead of me. It was the Feb. 14, 2015, and I was all alone for Valentine’s Day—again.

I unpacked my bag in the sparse shack on the beach—my home for the month—and there was the card with two pears smiling up at me. “We make a great pear,” the card read. My anxieties slipped away. I can’t tell you how much I needed that little wink to show he hadn’t forgotten, that he cared. The next month passed in a blur of yoga, learning, sunsets and chai tea.

Long-distance love becomes a part of you. It can be hard as hell, but it can also make you feel as if you have grown wings.

We are separate again this Valentine’s Day, despite the fact that we’re newlyweds. Like always, we choose to find the positives, the silver linings. We’d love to be together on Valentine’s Day, but what if you can’t be? What then?

There was a time when I’d rather pretend the day didn’t exist. It was easier to ignore it all together. I even went so far as to mocking it. But, with several years of distance under my belt, I’ve realized this day can be just as special and just as sweet even when you’re showing love from afar.

It’s time to get creative. We decided long ago that Valentine’s Day wasn’t the time to spend a lot of money or make a big fuss (we tend to save that for Christmas and birthdays). Instead, we shoot for sincere gifts that make the other feel, quite simply, loved.

Get crafty.

After much deliberation, I decided to make my husband a dreamcatcher this year. I’m in Australia, spending time at our farm. The beach is just down the road, and the driftwood that washes up on the shore is beautiful. So I sat quietly on the porch and spent time crafting and reflecting. I know he will love it. He wishes he could be here, so I’ll make a piece home for him. We’ll also make a point to begin and end the day together. It can be that simple: showing love in the purest form of taking time drink coffee and chamomile tea together.

Write a love letter.

One thing we like to do when we are together is to not only get out our old love letters but also add to the collection by writing each other new ones. Be open and honest and real. Your words speak volumes and will be treasured forever. I can’t wait to sit down and do this again.

Treat yourself.

It’s also important to mark this day with a little self-love. How often do we long-distance gals leave shaving our legs or getting our nails done for right before our next meetup with our loves? Why not take a little time to make yourself feel good? You are important and deserve to feel great.

As I can’t be with my husband on Valentine’s Day this year, I’m leading a yoga class and serving breakfast at my house followed by a swim in the pool to start the day with high vibrations. It’s summertime in Australia after all. I’ll hand out origami hearts filled with positive affirmations. Sunshine, a workout, healthy food and good friends: the perfect start to my Valentine’s Day.

Do it with love.

Remember that whatever you choose, do it with love. It’s incredible how a little wink can have the most profound effect. When I was in India last year and I found that little card tucked in my bag, it was powerful. As humans, we all need to feel connection, to feel needed and wanted, to feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. You have the opportunity to make your loved one feel that every day. But what better day to start than on the day of love itself?

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers. I’d love to hear how you decide to spend it. What did you dream up for your love?

Written by Rebecca Hurtrel
Rebecca is a wellness coach and yoga teacher from Sydney, Australia. She now lives with her husband in Paris, following five years of long-distance love. They are expecting their first baby in June 2016. Rebecca writes about her yoga lifestyle on her website, rebeccahurtrelwellness.wordpress.com.

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