Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! However, this year’s celebrations may look a little different than usual. Okay, they may look significantly different. We’ve been in the throes of a global pandemic for nearly an entire calendar year now, and fatigue is rearing its ugly head in every aspect of our lives. We’re all dealing with occupational changes. For you, it could be unemployment, working-from-home adjustments, or the upheaval of your usual routine at the office. Grocery shopping is different, interacting with friends and family is different, and “going out” is a memory at this point. And as if that weren’t enough weight on our shoulders, we’re also afraid of getting sick with the new COVID-19 variants, let alone the original virus itself!
With all of the stress these changes bring, romance, intimacy, and Valentine’s Day might be the last thing on your mind. The constant strain and worry take a toll on your health, physically and mentally, so staring lovingly into your partner’s eyes in the soft glow of candlelight may seem…out of place. Not to mention that the usual Valentine’s Day rituals of dinner on the town and catching a movie at the theater aren’t quite possible right now, especially here in New York.
Just because your dinner reservations may be canceled doesn’t mean that connecting with your love is canceled too! Taking some time to recharge your romantic life may help reestablish some normalcy and comfort for both of you. If you’d like to do something special for your spouse or partner but don’t know where to get started because of the pandemic, check out these ideas to treat your other half to a beautiful Valentine’s Day – no Hallmark cards required.
Romance doesn’t need to suffer even during a pandemic
1. Valentine’s Day Breakfast in Bed
You might as well start the day off strong, right? And what better way to show your partner some love than bringing them a lovely breakfast in bed! It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; just their favorite bagel or some scrambled eggs with a cup of coffee goes a long way. But if you want some bonus points? Try to include as many heart-shaped food items as you can on the tray!
2. Create a New Valentine’s Day Tradition
Maybe you both look forward to going out on Valentine’s Day as a couple – that’s the tradition you’ve always had, and you want that tradition to continue. It may seem disappointing that most restaurants are closed or providing limited service, but this is the perfect opportunity to create a new tradition together! You could order take-out from your favorite restaurant and set up a romantic table for two at home. You could play your favorite board game or card game together. Perhaps your partner enjoys relaxing in the tub, and you could draw a nice, hot bath for them – or, you know, for both of you! Don’t be afraid to form a new tradition with each other; it will make your valentine feel extra special.
3. Bring Valentine’s Day to the Kitchen
Instead of ordering dinner to-go, why not make it together? Not only do you get to enjoy an intimate meal with your other half, but you get to spend extra quality time working together to make something that you can enjoy as a couple. Again, if the kitchen is a daunting place for one or both of you, keep it simple! Even if you make something as easy as sandwiches and salads, the important thing is that you’re enjoying time together and strengthening your connection.
But there’s no shame in keeping a frozen pizza on hand – you know, just in case!
4. Enjoy a Valentine’s Day Stroll
If you and your partner are “outdoorsy,” a Valentine’s Day walk through Central Park or Prospect Park could be the perfect treat! Not only is a socially-distanced walk a great way to get out of your apartment and breathe in some fresh air, but it also creates plenty of space to have meaningful conversations – without the pressure of sitting directly across from each other, expecting immediate responses. Ask each other how you’re doing with all the changes you’ve endured in the last year. Talk about your early days, the honeymoon phase: what did you find most attractive about each other? What do you remember from the first date? How do you think your relationship has evolved since then? What’s your favorite memory together? You might be pleasantly surprised by some answers, but you’ll get to relive some of the golden moments of your relationship too!
5. Make a Bucket List
Sometimes, the best way to cope with the pandemic is to dream about the future, long after a sense of normalcy returns. Curl up on the couch with your valentine, some blankets, a notepad, and a bottle of wine, and let your imaginations run wild! What do you want to do once restrictions are lifted? Where do you want to travel someday? Is your next big trip to Disneyworld or Barcelona? What do you both want to accomplish in the next ten years? The sky is the limit! Open up about your dreams and aspirations, and let yourselves feel hope and excitement for the days to come.
6. Don’t Succumb to the Valentine’s Day Pressure
At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and your relationship. If the thought of adding yet another thing to your to-do list just piles more stress onto your plate, don’t sweat it! Expressing love and romance is not reserved exclusively for a specific day in February. Instead, try to show your partner small gestures that show your commitment is year-round. Fix them a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Do the laundry by yourself, so they don’t have to worry about it. Give them a back rub after a long day, or just because they love it! Simple, sweet offerings of love are one of the best gifts a person can receive.
Regardless of where you stand in your romantic relationship, couples therapy and marriage therapy can help make it even stronger. At Loving at Your Best, we provide Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Schema Therapy to help you better celebrate love with your partner. We can help you build connection and intimacy with your valentine throughout the year! Reach out today so we can help your relationship flourish.