Singles practice self love and celebration on first Valentine’s Day during the pandemic

By Elizabeth Wheless

Valentine’s Day. You love it if you’re in a relationship. You hate if you’re not. However, for some, this old-fashioned view of the holiday is just unacceptable. It’s not about your romantic relationships, but expressing your appreciation for your family, friends, and even yourself.

Elizabeth Wheless reports on several UNC students’ efforts to celebrate themselves.


ELIZABETH WHELESS: Junior Cayla Ifill says her definition of self-love is listening to her needs and recharging emotionally and mentally. 

CAYLA IFILL: I tend to always do stuff for other people, but it’s treating myself the way I would treat other people. So taking time to make sure I, like, get something nice to eat or, like, taking time to make sure I just, like watch a show once a week, or something like that. 


WHELESS: Ifill relaxes with K-pop reality TV and chocolate cake, but she says they’re best enjoyed with her dog, Nike. She says Nike is almost like her “other half,” and sees the dog as a friend who just can’t talk. 

IFILL: I went to go watch the sunrise with Nike one morning, and I was like ‘I don’t want to do it alone,’ but I brought Nike. So I think when I do stuff like that, I, like, feel more whole; as my own person, and whenever I feel like that, I can bring love to other people. 

WHELESS: Senior Sarah Propest’s strongest relationship is with her faith. She attends Love Chapel Hill, a local church, where she finds activities that are, as she says, “life-giving.”

SARAH PROPEST: Being involved in this bible study has been a huge part of that. Just getting to connect with one another, um, and the ways that I have seen, um, the other girls who, um, log onto our zoom call each week has been awesome.

WHELESS: On “Galentine’s Day,” Propest is holding  a Zoom brunch through her church for women to connect and meet new people. She says she was…

PROPEST: Obviously inspired by Leslie Knope, “Parks and Rec,” the Galentine’s Day queen!

WHELESS: The TV show “Parks and Recreation” originated Galentine’s Day, with the character Leslie Knope giving out extravagant and thoughtful gifts to her friends. 

Propest says she’s excited to see her “mini dream” pan out on Galentine’s Day. 

PROPEST: I would just be super excited, I’ll probably drink coffee and be, like, really giddy from that too. 

WHELESS: Junior Julia Walia says exercise and treating her body with respect are her self-care go-tos. 

JULIA WALIA: I’ve found that’s really helpful; and sort of embracing who you are and, um, learning how to love yourself.

WHELESS: She says throughout her life, she wasn’t taught how to show self-love, so she had to learn on her own.

WALIA: It basically took me going through a very dark place to sort of realize that before I experience any kind of healing or positivity in my life, I have to learn how to love myself first.

WHELESS: She wants to encourage others who are striving for self-love to keep going and never stop searching. 

WALIA: Really once you reach that point where you can just look at yourself in the mirror or write in your journal and you feel this sort of sense of fulfillment. Once you reach that point, you feel like this huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.  

WHELESS: For those without significant others this Valentine’s Day, Ifill has some advice…

IFILL: To all my other single people out there, I feel you; it’s going to be okay, we’re going to have a good time, like… (laughter)

WHELESS: This Valentine’s Day, show a little self-love. In Chapel Hill, I’m Elizabeth Wheless.  

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