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5 Ways to Let Your Love Shine

It’s the season of love. Time to check all the boxes on the grand (and expensive) romantic checklist, right? You know the drill…Candlelit dinners. Couples' spa day. A sexy dress that you might just be a little self-conscious wearing, but it’s what you’ve always done. It’s how you mark the occasion.

And this year, of all years, amidst our year-long pandemic you might be thinking, “Why not just skip it?”

It’s the season of love. Time to check all the boxes on the grand (and expensive) romantic checklist, right? You know the drill…Candlelit dinners. Couples' spa day. A sexy dress that you might just be a little self-conscious wearing, but it’s what you’ve always done. It’s how you mark the occasion.

And this year, of all years, amidst our year-long pandemic you might be thinking, “Why not just skip it?”

If you’ve been on lock-down with your loved one, you’ve likely had to dig deep (at least at times) to find the fortitude to keep the peace, let alone keep the romance alive. How do you remain vulnerable with one another while navigating the pressures and responsibilities of the past year in close quarters?

It might be simpler than we think.

If we ask ourselves what matters most to us–what makes life worth living–it probably has a lot to do with that other person we've been lucky enough to have by our side.

We could think about February 14 as a day to take a break from all that has depleted us this year—all that has divided our attention—and make it an occasion for replenishment. We can use it as an opportunity to replenish our shared love and belonging with that special person.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that and here are a few simple moves to show you how.

1. Drop the Pressure to “Get Valentine's Day Right”

We've had enough twists and turns this year. Instead of feeling like we need to wow our Valentine with a surprise, we can head the disappointment train off at the pass by taking some time to talk about our expectations and desires.

  • Decide when and how: Decide together what day, amount of time and the way to celebrate that works for you as a couple. Would February 13 or February 15 be better? All day or a few hours? Do you want to go with the traditional candlelight dinner or is brunch in bed more your speed?
  • How long: Plan for a dedicated window of time (or two). The time you choose needs to no longer than you can realistically stay engaged and dismiss distractions. It might be a couple of hours, two 45-minute chunks, a little this day and a little that. The key is to set-up whatever works for you as a couple so your Valentine has your undivided attention.
  • Celebrate with others: Would you prefer to celebrate as a couple only or do a virtual double-date? Valentine’s zoom? Housemates? Children included?
  • Create a simple habit: If planning something to do is still too much, focus on small gestures you could do to break out of your routine. Would your loved one enjoy a shoulder rub during a stressful call? Coffee or tea in bed? Lawrence Lovell, mental health counselor and founder of Breakthrough Solutions, says, “It does not have to be drastic for it to be special.”

“The most important part of Valentine’s day is to give your undivided attention to the moment — i.e., more eye contact, express appreciation, extend gratitude, and show love,” said Lovell. Everything else is gravy.

2. Set a Mood That Invites You to Center Your Attention on Your Valentine

Our physical environment has a profound impact on us. Altering your space with music or scent not only stimulates your senses, it bypasses the cognitive processing part of the brain and signals the more primitive part of the brain that it is ok to let your guard down and unwind. Here are some mood setters than can be as simple or extravagant as you like:  

  • Rearrange your furniture: Since our homes are doubling as our places of work, try rearranging furniture or adding something new. Adding a colored light bulb or new sheets can be restorative and bring new life into the space. 
  • Change of scenery: Taking a walk together is an active way to have a meaningful conversation without the pressure to spark romance.
  • Aroma of a candlelit dinner: Try out a new savory recipe or an array of your tried and true favorite flavors. Adding a blindfold is a fun way to focus your senses on what you're tasting. 
  • A slumber party for grown-ups: Take movie night to the next level with a plush pile of blankets, pillows, sweets, and candles. Make it a cinema by renting a projector to watch movies on a blank white wall or screen. 
  • Distraction free: Have a red ribbon handy to tie your phones together and stash them in a drawer.

3. Use Touch to Extend the Intimacy with Your Valentine

We have an innate and sophisticated ability to communicate emotions through touch alone.  Whether it's a soft squeeze, a full-body massage, a hug, or hair strokes, touch is a powerful connector. And now, in a socially distanced world, we're extra hungry for the connection.

Here are some tips to give a great massage:

  • Use a body-loving, healthy oil or lotion. Your Natural Healthcare's Nano CBD lotion is designed with healing, full-body glide. It is insanely luxurious.
  • Move from big to small. Massage the big muscles and body parts first (back, thighs), then move to the smaller ones (neck, calves, arms, hands, feet).
  • Remember to pay attention to the extremities. Massaging the hard-working and often overlooked feet, hands, head (and scalp!) feels fantastic and are easy to do if you're a beginner at massage.
  • Use the optimal pressure. When massaging limbs, exert pressure when pushing towards the center of the body and lighten up when rubbing back towards the hands and feet.
  • Keep continuous contact. When giving someone a massage, try to keep your hands in contact with their body even if its a light touch. Continuity of touch creates a soothing sensation of undivided intention.
  • Put your whole body into your massage.  
    • Keep your arms just slightly less than locked when massaging. Let the weight of your body and legs do the work rather than your arms. 
    • Don’t be afraid to use your knuckles so your hands don’t tire out so quickly.
    • Run your forearm bone along tough areas like the back of the thighs. Or, carefully place your elbows or feet for a constant and heavy pressure to loosen up super tight spots.

4. Give Your Valentine a Personal Touch

Unless you promised your sweetheart diamonds, what is often most appreciated is something simple and genuine that shows you really thought about them. Being able to show another person precisely what makes the special to you is priceless.

Here are a few fun, sweet, and silly ideas to get you on your way: 

  • Write a love letter from the heart. Take the time to articulate exactly what makes your loved one special. Be ridiculously specific. Level up by creating a scavenger hunt with individual love notes for each clue along the way.
  • Make your own card with a hand-drawn cartoon of the two of you. Bonus points if you can’t draw your way out of a paper bag.
  • Create a playlist with both fast and slow songs. Invite your Valentine to dance and get those school dance butterflies all over again. 
  • Try a new recipe together or sign up for a virtual cooking class.
  • Create a piece of art together with a shared class or video tutorial, or create a photo collage of the two of you. Hang the completed piece as a sweet reminder of your pandemic year Valentine's Day.

5. Focus on What You Can Control: Your Attention

Make the most of your time together by focusing on the good things happening in the moment. Time and attention are two of the most precious things you can give. Here are a few tips for staying in the moment:

  • Give your partner some “time off.” If you've been cooped up together, consider giving them some space to do an activity they love on their own. Art supplies, bubble baths or new books can encourage them to feel guilt-free to enjoy the gift of some alone time.
  • Be flexible if your special time isn't immediately unfolding per your expectations.
  • Practice giving each other grace if one of you find your attention drifting. Gently bring your loved one back into the moment with you. 

When you're creating your special occasion together, remember to make suggestion that show your partner you're thinking about them, too (not simply proposing your own favorite ways to share time. As you choose what to do, ask yourself: What would add the most value for my partner? What fills them up? What would mean the most to them?

The way we prefer to receive love is usually the way we give love, but sometimes our partner may prefer to receive love differently. Show them that you know what makes their heart sing and you're already setting the stage for them to experience full love and belonging in the safety of your heart. And, that opening can almost guarantee you'll receive the same!


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