Think outside the (chocolate) box

Happy couple with a heart balloon for Valentine's Day.

Loving, supportive relationships have long-term health benefits.  They can help reduce stress, promote a healthier lifestyle, give a sense of purpose and even add years to your life.[1]

Valentine’s Day is an occasion to tell a special someone how much you care. But don’t get stuck in a “flowers, cards and candy” rut.  These five ideas can help you build lasting memories —no calories added.

  1. Design a forever bouquet. Live flowers don’t last long, which means your gift will end up in the trash. Use paper, ribbon, brooches or other items to create a bouquet that never dies.
  2. Create something together. Look for a paint night or guided craft activity. Buy a piece of furniture and assemble it as a team. Search for photos and trinkets to make a scrapbook. These bonding activities leave you with something to treasure for years to come.
  3. Make a memory box. Gather items that are special to your relationship. Ask your partner to do the same. Pack them with a love note and short explanations for each item. Exchange memory boxes to look at your relationship through their eyes. Pack them away to reopen on a future Valentine’s Day.
  4. Book an escape room. Test your couple power by working towards a common goal. In an escape room, you’ll collaborate on puzzles, riddles and more. This can be an excellent group date if you invite other couples to join you.
  5. Go on a scavenger hunt. This one requires a bit of preparation, but can be a ton of fun. Create clues to lead your partner through memories of your relationship. Make it as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Be sure to have something special at the end of the hunt. This could be a home-cooked meal, a surprise visitor or anything else that makes your date smile.

Whatever you do, remember that the day isn’t about expensive presents or fancy meals. It’s a special time to let the people you love know that you care. Happy Valentine’s Day!

[1] Northwestern Medicine, “5 Benefits of a Healthy Relationship,” https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/5-benefits-of-healthy-relationships, accessed Jan. 2, 2019.