This year Valentine’s Day, like all holidays during the pandemic, holds new meaning. While different communities are affected differently by COVID-19, the world is universally being asked to explore love more deeply.

So, couples and single friends alike, enjoy your holiday safely and imaginatively, using the following list to fill any gaps.

A simple, heartfelt letter can mean more than a fancy gift

Make Cards/Write Letters

In a world that’s increasingly technology-focused and socially isolating, especially during COVID-19, it’s vital to remember the human element. That’s why making Valentine’s Day cards and writing letters are solid ways to impact someone else’s day positively and safely. 

When you gift something handwritten or hand-made, it shows that you set aside time to do something nice for them. Plus, most people love to receive something physical, something that they can hold onto over the years, to remember you by.

So, write a letter for someone from the heart this Valentine’s Day to convey your thoughts and feelings. Then send it off with a hand-made card to ornament the sentiment.

And don’t forget the floral arrangement – the perfect finishing piece to compliment any Valentine’s Day gift. Check out the local business District 2 Floral Studio for creative ways to compliment your handmade/handwritten gift before it’s too late!

“There has never been a sadness that can’t been cured by breakfast food.” — Ron Swanson

Breakfast in Bed

No matter where you’re at in life, breakfast in bed is good for the soul. Whether you’re going solo, preparing something for your S.O., or hooking up your friend, food connects and recharges us.

Additionally, cooking for someone can have real-world benefits for one’s mental health – ultimately because cooking is about feeling connected. By cooking for someone, you connect with them in a positive way that, even if it’s subtle, is still meaningful.

But if you can’t cook, order from local restaurants. Luckily, anything can be breakfast food and you can find an assortment of Omaha’s best cuisine selected by the Reader.

And before you start cooking something, make sure you can finish it. You don’t want to create more work for yourself, or them. 

Finally, put your heart into the meal and you can’t fail. Breakfast in bed is an ultimate start to a memorable Valentine’s Day!

Connection + Laughter = what we all need

Laughter, Love, Local Online Comedy 

Valentine’s Day is for laughing with people you love and loving the sound of their craziest laughs. Laughter isn’t just romantic; it is downright healthy. And “healthy” isn’t a word used freely after a year of COVID-19. 

Therefore, Omaha is celebrating consciously, both on Valentine’s Day and throughout the month, from Feb. 5-26th, as comedy gets live-streamed. So, for your sanity, go watch Brooke Barsell on the Backline’s Facebook page, from the comfort and safety of home.

Tune in on Valentine’s Day for special performances by Barsell and Nick Lindermann. They are co-hosting Swapping Sets, where they will exchange jokes and perform them. 

Whether you’re tuning in for the Backline’s open mic night or for Contagious: The STAY HOME Comedy Show, you’re in for a good show. Each open mic sees fresh material, while Contagious narrates pandemic life with balanced comedic insights, featuring national and international acts. 

Taking a break from social media can reduce FOMO and help you be more present for your loved ones.

Unplug, please!

Today, many live on their Smartphones, connecting with friends, absorbing information, or working as independent self-employed freelancers. While technology’s advantages certainly exist, it’s still important to give life the undivided attention it deserves. 

So, set down the devices and log off social media. For Valentine’s Day, this should go without saying; but staying unplugged throughout the entire month could yield surprising positive outcomes.

Pew Research Center reports approximately 30% of Americans, 48% aged 18-29, go online ‘almost constantly.’ Moreover, a 2018 Guilford Press Periodicals study indicates limited social media usage decreases loneliness and depression.

Even if you use social media for work, conduct business with an in-and-out mentality: don’t check your notifications or feed when doing something work-related. Let those in your life know where they can reach you. And when making calls to other people, refuse to exercise your impressive double-tasking skills; instead give them all your attention.

Great poetry can touch the heart like nothing else. (Roses optional.)

Read Poetry

Despite schools teaching kids that poetry is a thing of the past, poetry remains as important today as it ever has. Many creators, students, and teachers of poetry have commented on a worldwide resurgence of interest in the poetic imagination. Nebraska even has a Poetry Society!

There are awesome bookstores in Omaha – including The Bookworm, last year’s winner of ‘The Reader’s Choice Best of the Big O’. You can pick up a great book of poetry and support a local business, all in one thoughtful move.

Regardless of how you get poetry into your home, make sure to read poetry aloud with the people you treasure. This is how people originally read poetry – aloud – because it is one of the most rewarding methods. 

And if you’re feeling brave, try writing your own to share it aloud. This is a great chance to connect with someone you love, all while having fun in the process.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Find New Music

Live music has largely come to a standstill during the pandemic; and even still, people are staying excited about music. While artists are mostly live streaming or working in the studio, avid listeners could use the opportunity to find new music.

Major streaming services Deezer and Spotify have found that most people stop looking for new music around their 30s. But learning new music can help your brain stay active, healthy, and young by essentially stretching its dormant muscles.

What’s more, sharing your excitement, and the new music itself, with someone else, is a defining part of music culture. It feels good to connect with another through music, even more so when you both feel like you’ve “discovered something.”

Of course, you could always go the classic route, and make someone a personalized mix of music you love. And if you need suggestions, check out the Reader’s pristine music suggestions.

Share Your Heart: Volunteer 

While Valentine’s Day traditionally has to do with romantic love, this doesn’t have to be the case – especially right now. Other types of love are important, and on entirely different levels, such as the love for one’s fellow human being.

That’s why volunteering is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day – there’s no shortage of folks who need love. Whether you’re going solo or volunteering with friends, you can and will make a positive impact.

And although social distancing complicates volunteer efforts this year, those efforts are still necessary, and possible, with a little imagination. For example, AARP’s ‘Cupid Crew’ has issued countless personalized Valentine’s Day cards for elderly assisted living folks experiencing increased isolation during the pandemic.

If you and your partner, friend, or family member can get involved, now is the time. Not only can you do some good, but you can also have a great time.

Can I get an “Amen” up in here?

Reflect On Personal Growth

No matter your relationship status, focusing on who you are and how you’re growing is always important. That’s why taking an introspective route during the holiday could make your Valentine’s Day even more special. 

It may be cliché, but it’s nonetheless important to remember that real love starts from within and doesn’t require validation. The only person you are truly stuck with is yourself, so you may as well appreciate that fact.

Still, romantic love is very important to a lot of people; and thankfully, self-love enhances the prospects of romantic love. Because when you’re more in tune with yourself, you can appreciate the deeper aspects of another person.

Finally, practicing the art of self-compassion is a process, and it won’t solve all your problems all at once. Instead of getting down in the dumps for introspection’s sake, remember that you’re just living life and reflecting.

Watch Your Favorite Movies

This year’s Valentine’s Day is a perfect chance to enjoy some of your favorite movies, comfortably, and with your favorite company. There aren’t any hard rules about what types of movies you should watch; all that matters is you enjoy them.

If you don’t feel like scrolling aimlessly through whichever movie streaming app you fancy, make a list with your movie mate. You may realize you share a favorite film with this person, which can be a game-changer for the marathon.

Additionally, it’s important to be open to watching something completely new-to-you. And if you want some outside input, check out the Reader’s list of the best films of the last decade.

Moreover, if you’re healthy and identify more with Galentine’s Day than the traditional holiday, head to Edge of the Universe. The local establishment will be showing girl buddy movies for your Galentine’s viewing pleasure.

Love is a verb.

Clean Up

Whether you’re preparing for a big Valentine’s Day date or just relaxing with no solid plans, a clean home rocks. Of course, no one wants to clean on Valentine’s Day – which is why you should be proactive and clean beforehand.

Taking the time to make your home a breathable space can make a major difference in your mood. If you can’t walk around without bumping into stuff, for example, it might be time for a clean.

If you have an excess of clothes, now is the time to donate to local thrift stores and nearby drop-boxes. Not only do you do something helpful for others, but you are decluttering your living space – it’s a win-win!

And if you live with someone else, cleaning can show that extra ounce of love that Valentine’s Day is all about. Show the person you live with that you care about their home too.

Leave a comment