Valentine’s day is celebrated globally as the international day of love.
While the beginnings of this day remains a bit sketchy with conflicting tales, the foremost account states that the feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496AD, who died on that date in 269AD, the chosen day for festivities is the present date of 14 February.
However, according to Everydayhealth.com, the day of love is one of the saddest days of the calendar. In 2012 it’s alleged that over 2,000 adults were found to have high levels of psychological distress because of the day and the subsequent weeks after.
The continuation of the stress could be due to February now being declared the month of love, with higher expectations of gifting and the feelings of being pressured to find love. In the same article, it’s mentioned that 70% of single people stay home and wallow in pity on the day.
“I hate that stupid day, it’s just a reminder of my failed marriage,” says 35-year-old teacher Nandi from Tembisa. “Working at a high school makes it even harder, watching giddy teenagers sending each other plastic flowers and soft toys, is the worst.”
Nandi says that in her 10 years of marriage, her ex-husband never sent her roses, but at least she wasn’t sitting at home alone weeping.
Feeling emotionally void has also led many to try dating apps such as Tinder, which allows online singles to pick a partner, chat and meet on dates. There’s a rush to find a partner, so one can declare on social media that they aren’t single. According to Vanity Fair, the surge in Tinder users are higher during February.
With the pandemic and people being forcefully home bound, the numbers must have doubled. Questioned if she’s on the dating app Nandi replies: “A colleague introduced me to it and I joined, unfortunately, I don’t attract gifts, only attract penis pictures.”
Sechaba Mokoena owner of Rosabela Gardens, a flower delivery service that gets extra busy around the 14 February says: “We have experienced people buying themselves flowers. We know this because we do personal orders and deliveries.”
Not to be taken lightly, stress from loneliness can impact mental as well as physical health negatively. Largely affecting the brain and possibly the heart, Professor Pamela Naidoo, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa shares the sentiment that both organs are interlinked.
“As the brain releases hormones telling the body what to do, receptor cells in your blood vessels pick up these messages…
“Physical activities aid in countering anxiety and depression, decreasing your blood pressure and improving your cholesterol level and consequently diminishing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.”