~  Bye bye Valentine’s Day pressures and traditions, why not committing to yourself this year instead? Gen Z are changing the rules and building on self love  ~

Whilst this time of year tends to shine a spotlight on romantic relationships, at Yubo we believe that the most important relationship you have is the one you share with yourself. This month, we decided to invite some inspiring and strong young people to reflect on self love by opening up about issues they’ve had to overcome to be their most authentic selves today.

We surveyed over 35,000 of our 13-25 year-old users all over the world to better understand how they value their relationship with themselves, rather than with a partner. Turns out over a fifth (33% in the US and 21% in the UK) referenced the former as the “the most important” vs. 16.5% citing a romantic partner, coming last behind their relationship with their family (24% in the US) or friends (29% in the UK).

Despite this, half (51%) of Gen Zers still feel there is a societal pressure to be in a relationship on Valentine’s day. And, where is this pressure coming from?

  • Doing it for the ‘gram: Overwhelmingly, half (50%) of teens and young adults said they felt the most pressure to be loved up on Valentine’s Day from traditional social media
  • Me, Myself and I: A fifth (21%) said the pressure is actually coming from within themselves
  • Television Romance: 17% of Gen Zers said TV shows, movies and music are fuelling the romantic pressure around Valentine's day

Although Gen Z prioritises the relationship with themselves over a romantic relationship, we revealed that over two fifths (43%) of Gen Z say that loving themselves is ‘still a work in progress’. However, young people are taking necessary steps to love themselves by spending more time on self care at least a few times a week, with more than 20% actually carving out time for it even daily.

A guide to Gen Z Self care - Speak, Sleep, Work Out, Hydrate, Repeat

The most popular forms of self care for Gen Z is working out (coming first in the UK with 36.5%), getting more sleep (with an overwhelming success in the US with 47,7%) and speaking to or spending time with friends and family (coming first in Australia with more than 38%). This is closely followed by drinking more water and shopping.

In light of the findings, Yubo knows facilitating young people in learning to love themselves is more important than ever before, especially as lockdowns have negatively affected the mental health of those aged between 13-24 severely. A survey conducted on our users revealed more than 60% of British and American teens felt depressed because of the pandemic.

The influencers Hailee and  Kendra were chosen to chat with some of inspiring young people to talk about self love. See the video:

In order to help them boost their self compassion this Valentine's day, Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Psychiatrist, Clinical Director of Good Thinking and member of the Yubo safety board, has revealed his top tips to help us all learn how to treat ourselves with more kindness:

  • Comfort your body. Try to eat something healthy. Lie down and get some rest. Perhaps massage your own neck, feet, or hands or even take a walk. Remember the things that improve how you feel physically and try them again.
  • Give yourself encouragement. Think of what you would say to a good friend if he or she was facing a difficult or stressful situation. Then say those same words to yourself to boost your confidence and motivation.
  • Make time for some breathing space. Make time for some breathing space. When everything seems uncertain or overwhelming, take a break. Take note of your feelings, but then also focus on your body senses; feel the ground beneath your feet. This will refresh you and help you engage with what you need to.
  • Put it into print. When you are feeling more relaxed, write down or print off a list of your achievements, or your good qualities and keep it somewhere safe. If you start to doubt yourself, read those words again and respect the person who wrote them.
  • Address the Problem: Get to the root of what is bothering you first and foremost so you can figure out how to navigate the problem. From there, you can identify what you need to feel better about the situation and ultimately practice self-love.

Embracing your true self online: giving a voice to our community

In addition to the poll, we also had the chance to speak with some of our amazing users that have learned to love and embrace who they are over time and with the support of friends on Yubo :

Zach (@queenzach2019 on Yubo) a 19-year-old from suburban Pennsylvania: “Yubo has served as a powerful vesel for me, a place I have been able to connect with friends that only a few months ago they had not even known yet. While self love hasn’t always been easy for me, and still is something I work on daily, Yubo has been a safe space for me to be myself in the truest form of the word.”

Mikaylah (@kaykaymid) from Long Island, NY: “As a student in my first year at college during a pandemic in NYC, it’s hard to meet new people. Even though I’m on the dance team, making friends during lockdowns hasn’t been easy on campus. Yubo has made my friend pool that much wider, where we can talk about body positivity, self care and self love, and anything else that’s on our minds.”