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Be mindful, Valentine: date ideas for the most romantic of days

Heart made of sushi pieces alt text: We love a mindful date

Valentine’s date ideas? The Internet is full of em! But isn’t Valentine’s Day about… uh, hold on, what’s it actually about? Love? Romance? Spending money on dates, flowers and chocolates for a manufactured holiday that forces people into awkward situations while pressuring them to say and do things that feel unnatural and uncomfortable?

No, you’re right, it’s about love.

All jokes aside, if you have a perfect relationship you should definitely enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day! If you have an imperfect relationship, guess what—you can celebrate it too. And if you’re single, there’s chocolate in aisle two and it’s going to be on sale soon. We can all be winners on Valentine’s Day, regardless of our relationship status. That’s why Galentine’s Day was invented and wait, is Palentine’s Day a thing? Maybe it should be. Here, #PalentinesDay—there, it’s a thing (you’re welcome).

While we think there is something special to this day, we also know that love should not be commodified. We know that we need to be mindful in terms of how we spend our money and more importantly, our time with the people we love.

Here are some tips for how to be more mindful this Valentine’s Day, when you’re a real person and not a character in a 90s romantic comedy. Here’s our guide to “eat, play, love” without breaking your budget or losing your mind. 

Eating together is a great date idea.


Love is a dish best served… at home

A date night that begins with a romantic meal seems like a given for Valentine’s Day, right? But with fixed menus, overcrowded restaurants, long lines, miserable waiters and overpriced meals (it comes with “free” champagne though!) then throw in flowers, chocolate and a greeting card, even the cheapest of intentions will have you going over budget. We think there may be more mindful ways to spend the day with your significant other.

A mindful Valentine’s Day isn’t too different from mindful shopping, where thinking about the intention behind the action becomes an important part. With over 190 million greeting cards and 250 million roses expected to be sold (for over $4 billion in sales), we think there may be better ways to show your love this year. One option is to celebrate on a different day and spend the 14th staying in and cooking a meal together. Take a recipe you’ve always wanted to try or spend the evening making cocktails or mocktails. Take the day off work! Quit your job! Just kidding, don’t do that. 

Did you know that candy and chocolate are sold every day, not just leading up to Valentine’s Day? I know—this is pretty game-changing news. Prices for chocolate and candy are marked up on the days leading up to February 14. The same chocolates you know and love are suddenly presented in slightly different (read: pink and red) packaging that has our hearts aflutter. If you really must leave the house, we suggest going out and getting all the discount chocolate. The day after Valentine’s Day, you can find chocolate and candy up to 70 percent off and, who knows, you might even find some discarded flowers along the way. Can you say free potpourri?

A couple shares a laugh while applying homemade face masks.


Some people love games, others hate them

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about playing mind games but it also shouldn’t be taken so seriously! There are many ways to enjoy your partner’s company without gazing into each other’s eyes for hours on end (staring contests are fun but blinking was invented for a reason). A better plan this Valentine’s Day is to stay in and play games for free on your tablet or TV or find an actual, physical childhood board game to play. If you and your loved one are gamers, there’s nothing better than staying in and playing some favorite vintage video games surrounded by snacks. It might finally be time in your relationship to get real, get personal and bring out the Atari. 

If you want other playful ideas, we have two more. In these stressful times, we suggest a night of self-care, with face masks, chocolate covered fruits and optional wine or herbal teas. Another fun idea is to draw each other with your eyes closed—this may just end up the best-framed piece of… art in your house. Whether it’s your first Valentine’s Day together or your 50th, this activity is guaranteed to make you giggle.

This may sound strange (many things in this article have felt a bit strange, to be honest) but here’s something to think about: throw an event that includes your single friends and make the day about love and friendship in general. Single people often hate Valentine’s Day with a burning passion and we all know why—it’s not great to be reminded that you are unloved and alone. How awesome would it be if current love-birds remembered that feeling?

A couple share the view of a sunset from a beach blanket.


Love is all you need

With millions of Americans getting engaged on Feb 14 (trust us, we checked—it’s millions), it begs the question: what are we buying into? There is an underlying theme in this article and surprisingly, it isn’t Valentine’s Day. The theme is enjoying each other’s company. The theme is… time well spent. 

We think the best way to spend Valentine’s Day is to just spend the day with your valentine. It’s the time we spend with our loved ones that really matters. We suggest that you celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing what you and your partner always say you’ll make time to do but never get around to actually doing. This could mean taking a guided city tour, watching a sunset, going for a hike, watching your favorite childhood movie or taking a cue from any of these romantic and free dates ideas.

Romance is alive and love is real… but do you have to prove it on February 14?

Valentine’s Day can be about authentic expressions of true love and we here at Ting think it’s wonderful to celebrate love and all the ways it makes life better. But we also think you can make the day, and your time, mindfully spent. We hope you fall in love with that.

What will you do to be more mindful this Valentine’s Day?