11 Ways to Love More (And it Doesn’t Even Need to be Valentine’s Day)

Heart with candies inside
Is this what Valentine’s day means?

This morning I got ready for my favorite holiday of the year. I know what you’re thinking. Valentine’s day has come and gone, silly! But hear me out, okay? There’s a reason I leave my big celebration for after Valentine’s instead of on the big day.

Valentine’s day, named for one or several Christian martyrs who married forbidden lovers and restored sight to the blind, has become one of our biggest commercial holidays. It isn’t always about doing random acts of kindness for people, or showing you appreciate your significant other as much as it is about getting the raddest new gift. Goodness knows if you don’t buy this $40 dollar box of candy instead of the $30 dollar box, you might not love your girlfriend enough!

Don’t get me wrong, Valentine’s a cool way to appreciate the people you love. Yet, if Facebook statuses are anything to go by, there’s a big chunk of us out there who dread it. If you’re in a relationship you may be running like a crazy person to look for the perfect romantic gesture rather than appreciating your significant other. If you’re single, Valentine’s might feel a little too much like singles awareness day.  The day after Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, however, the pressure’s off.

Here are eleven tips, whether you’re spoken for or single, to spice up your personal life after the Valentine’s day rush goes by and all that fancy chocolate finally goes on sale.

Okay, so you’re in a relationship, with someone cool. You might not be getting married or anything, but you’re comfortable together and all… Maybe too comfortable? Oh no! How can you bring the excitement back?

  1. Get scared. Go on a roller coaster. Watch a horror movie, whether in a movie theater or staying at home, snuggling together on the couch. Studies have shown that the adrenaline rush of something frightening increases attraction.
  2. Do something unexpected. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be something simple like bringing your girlfriend or boyfriend a coffee when they’ve had a long day.
  3. Custom design your gift. Get them someone to serenade them with that song they keep singing in the shower… or something more obscure that they might like. Like potting soil and some seeds, or a ticket to an aviary with that cool bird they’ve been waiting to say.  It’s the stuff that romantic comedies are made of….you know those indie ones with Zooey Deschanel? Yeah.
  4. Make a difference, together. Do you both like helping people? Create a project to make the world a better place. That might just be donating a bunch of goods to a food pantry or even starting your own nonprofit. When you’re both doing something good for other people, you will fall in love all over again.

So you’re single… No! Don’t stop reading. The most fun stuff is ahead for you.

Me, Laura, making a heart shape at the camera
I love you guys! (In a platonic way, and all, you know. Yeah.)
  1. Make unusual Valentines for your platonic friends, family, and/or crush. Origami flowers, a custom wooden cup holder, funky cards, or little post it notes with nice comments. The sky’s the limit!
  2. Plan a platonic fieldtrip with your bros, and or gal-pals. Maybe both at once. Bond over some new restaurant you’ve discovered. Share some secret you’ve never told anyone. Make it a yearly pact. Realize that this is super-easy to do since you’re single, and next year, who knows?
  3. Go it alone. I know this sounds weird and terrifying, but make a date. Just you. Go the whole nine yards. Dress up, go out, treat yourself… Who knows, you might just meet someone new and amazing. That person just might be yourself.
  4. Go gourmet. Take all that discount chocolate you bought, and make a new recipe with it, if that’s your thing. It might not be brilliant, but it will be fun. (Or eat it right out of the box. That’s good too.)
  5. Do an impromptu movie screening with a pal. Watch anything you like-horror, suspense, historical-drama and chick-flicks are all good. Ironic commentary is recommended but not necessary.
  6. Go to somewhere you wouldn’t ordinarily go. You a rock chick? Try a classical concert. Are you a really academic dude? Try and watch a comedy show. You might discover new tastes and things about yourself you never knew before.
  7. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger. It could be something relatively minor, like holding open the door a couple extra seconds for a person you don’t know or asking someone how they are, or something bigger, like helping at a soup kitchen. You’re increasing the love in the world. How is that not a good thing?

So if this valentine’s day wasn’t as perfect as you hoped, don’t sweat it! You can do anything nice about any day of the year. And that, I think, just might be what love’s about.

-Laura

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