Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, It’s Valentine's Day, but There’s a Pandemic To Get Through

10 Low-Stress Activities for You and Your Valentine

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Cake

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Doesn’t it feel like we just did Valentine’s Day? This time last year involved a heart-shaped meatloaf, painted sugar cookies adorned with food puns, and a late-night outing to a Broadway show. This year is just an excuse to get out of our mundane cycle of work, snacking, and Netflix binging.

The effort to organize something can feel like an added stressor to pandemic life that you just don’t have the bandwidth for. In an effort to relieve some stress, I did the work so you don’t have to. Explore one of these fun activities for a little something different with your special someone, family, gal pal, or even if it’s just yourself.

Whatever you decide, lose the pressure and have fun! Show love to the ones around you and yourself and focus more on the lights in your life and less on the grandiose gestures.

  • 01 of 10

    Bike and Bites Crawl

    Homemade Cronuts

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

    This past summer my partner and I turned a doughnut craving into a bike tour that took us across the five boroughs of NYC. We mapped out some of the top-ranked in the city and planned our route, eating one or two at each. This allowed us to get out, keep our social distance, and add movement to our consumption. If it’s too cold or you don’t have access to a bike, you can take a car or the Metro with parks and other sites sprinkled in.

  • 02 of 10

    Throw It Back

    Bagel Bites

    bhofack2 / Getty Images

    Who doesn’t love a good theme night? Throw a 90s celebration with a screening of "Big Night," "Soul Food," "The Joy Luck Club," or "Pulp Fiction." Create a menu inspired by movie scenes or your favorite 90s foods. Hello, Bagel Bites and the return of Good Humor's Viennetta.

  • 03 of 10

    Reflective Listening

    Woman dancing and listening music in the morning in her kitchen.

     Westend61 / Getty Images

    I love a lazy day filled with the sound of my favorite podcasts and puzzle building. It’s the ideal blend of solo reflection while being in the moment together. Give these food-inspired shows a listen then talk through some of the hard-hitting points. You can use Spotify's "group sessions" feature to share with a date from afar (or right next to you).

  • 04 of 10

    Pack Your Knives

    A Set of Kitchen Knives on a Magnetic Strip

     Sean Duan / Getty Images

    Turn up the heat with a friendly cooking challenge. Write a handful of random ingredients on slips of paper. Both of you choose three slips (or if it’s the family, break out into teams), then give each other a set amount of time to cook and present your creations. You can even Zoom friends to judge.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Recipe Project

    Baked Alaska

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Classic fine dining dishes can seem like a huge lift to make on your own, but they are actually quite approachable with the proper preparation. Make pasta from scratch, try your hand at an old fashioned blood orange sheet cake, or celebrate the Lunar New Year with homemade dumplings.

  • 06 of 10

    Virtual Mixology Class

    Negroni Cocktail-

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    If quarantine has taught me anything, it’s that I love a good cocktail and I’m horrible at making them. There are endless resources for online classes to take your imbibing up a notch.

  • 07 of 10

    That’s Amore

    Mushroom bolognese recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Make it a full-blown Italian night at home with the checkered tablecloth, red sauce, and a shower of Parmesan cheese. Build a cheese and charcuterie board while the bolognese cooks and pair each course with an Italian wine from different regions. Follow it up with a classic tartufo and cue the Frank Sinatra.

  • 08 of 10

    Picnic Retreat

    Picnic basket with fruit and bread

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Pack your basket, grab a blanket, and pick a scenic spot. Whether you make your own snacks or choose to support local restaurants by taking out, it’s one of the easiest ways to take in the sites around you. I suggest breaking out the frisbee or keep it chill with a crossword puzzle.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Culinary Journey

    spanish tapas and paella on table

     Martin Poole / Getty Images

    We all have a growing travel bucket list. Why not explore those destinations through your tastebuds? Choose a cuisine, then dive deep into the culture and history behind the dish as you explore the techniques, ingredients, and flavors.

  • 10 of 10

    Treat Yo' Self

    Red wine and steak dinner

    Moncherie / Getty Images

    It's been a year (no really, it's been a year!) and we've all been dealing with the realities of Covid in various ways. Treat the ones you're with and more importantly treat yourself, whether that means finally ordering out at that restaurant you've always wanted to try, having a nice bottle of wine, or just making it a spa day at home. Even better, there are a number of chefs out of work you can hire for a private dining experience at home with the proper precautions.