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10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

10 Low-tech Valentine Hacks

Message to the Ladies: This is a post written for the men in your life. Casually leave this page open and put your laptop in the fridge, he’ll see it. Alternatively, post it to facebook with something like “Hahaha, Can You Imagine!??!”. Curiosity will do the rest for you.

Message to the Men: Hey guys, did you find this article in your fridge? It’s a trap, your lady doesn’t think you’re being romantic enough. I’m here to help with some romantic hacks.

Technology’s really convenient when you need directions to your friend’s party or your therapist. However when you’re trying to spend some one-on-one facetime with that special someone, tech gets in the way.

It’s not in our DNA to fall-in-love with screennames or avatars. We’re programmed to recognize the real tangible moments in day-to-day life. Today I present some refreshingly LOW-TECH valentines day hacks for guys to wow the women in their lives.

WARNING! This list contains much saturated AWESOME. If you do everything on the list she WILL expect a proposal at the end of the night. Choose what you do carefully.

1. Setting the Mood

This is a huge one guys! In order for the other nine hacks to work, you need to set the tone for the day before she even wakes up. The most effective way is through breakfast in bed. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • If it came from McDonalds it’s not considered “food”. Cook it yourself, guy.
  • Avoid bacon. It’s called “nature’s candy” for a reason, the delicious smell will wake her and ruin your surprise.
  • It’s not breakfast without orange juice, haven’t you seen a commercial?
  • Your best bet is homemade GIGANTIC waffles. She’ll know you care because they’re such a pain in the butt to make.

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    Wake up an hour early to chug your coffee and start cooking. When the meal’s done, tiptoe to the bedroom and gently wake her up. When she squints at you and smiles, be all “Surprise honey, I made you waffles!”.

    Make sure to give her a moment to get up and use the toilet before you shove the food in her face. Congrats, you set the mood for the perfect valentines day!

    2. Four-Minute Card

    A long, long time ago before there were ecards, people used to actually give each other pieces of paper. They called these pieces of paper “cards” and it was meant as a display of affection. It may seem like a kindergarden arts-and-crafts project, but a homemade card shows you actually care about her. Here’s some sage advice from a god among men:

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    A  transcript for those who forgot their headphones: “Take one sheet (of printer paper), fold it in half, draw a heart on it, sign your name, write I love you”.

    BOOM BABY! How’s that for some $0.05 insta-romance? It’d only take you four minutes of your time and you have no reason not to.

    Bonus tip: Glue a ‘piece of nature’ to your homemade card for extra points.

    3. Poetry

    A poem is like a text, but longer and with no Emojis. You don’t have to be French to grasp the basics of speaking romantically.The great thing about poetry is there are no rules, which makes it surprisingly simple to write! You don’t even have to rhyme, just describe her and swap out some words with a thesaurus.

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      Bonus Tip: Throw your poem in the card you made in hack #2 for maximum romantic synergy.

      4. Heat things up

      Turn off those new-fangled electric lights and go back to your caveman roots! The soft flicker of old fashioned fire is very alluring. She’ll agree that nothing is more romantic than cuddling in-front of a fireplace, or having a meaningful conversation by candlelight.

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        With fire, it can be easy to go overboard, make sure you’re keeping things practical. There’s no need to navigate the house with a big medieval torch.

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        Bonus tip: Avoid mixing scented candles. Pine+peach+peanutbutter is the smell of deer vomit, not romance.

        5. Play a Board Game

        You’ve been reliant on technology for so long, that you’ve completely forgotten how to act when it’s all taken away from you. Long before Facebook ruled your social life, board games acted as a crazy kind of analogue software.

        Thanks to the hipsters and geeks of the world, board games are having a comeback. You’ll want to be careful about which game you’re selecting, however. A 12-hour game of monopoly isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Here’s a hilarious game that was designed by couples, for couples:

        Bonus tip: The funnier the game, the better. Laughing releases oxytocin, the “love” chemical. SCIENCE!!

        6. Actually Dress Nice

        I wasn’t looking forward to having this talk with you, but it’s time.

        You’re a complete mess! Nobody taught guys how to properly dress-up without the use of youtube as a guide. On the rare occasion us guys do pull it together, it’s usually for the one profile pic and then it’s back to pajamas for the rest of the week. That’s just not going to fly this valentines day.

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          Dress in something form fitting. Regardless of your bodytype, you always look better with clothes that properly fit.If you’re a chubby guy and self-conscious about it, use layers for camouflage.

          Bonus Tip: If you’re reading this on the Valentine’s morning there’s still hope. Take your best clothes, apply a lint-roller, iron, and bottle of Fabreeze. Act confident and tell us how it turns out!

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          7. Romance On the Cheap

          Since you’re doing the homemade card throwback anyways, here’s another way a younger version of yourself was trying to get lucky with the ladies.

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            A single red rose is a romantic (and inexpensive) gift that will show her, you’re not just devilishly handsome, but also pretty thoughtful and junk, too.

            Bonus Tip: Serve the rose with the breakfast in step one. You’ll want to have a mop ready, because she’s going to melt.

            8. Nostalgia Like WOAH

            This is the one that will get you in trouble, if you don’t plan on popping the question.

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              Take her back to where you had your first date (or where you first met, if you can remember). Prepare some stories from the time you spent here. Look in the mirror beforehand and try to rehearse a single tear-drop rolling down your cheek. Let her know you remember the place like it was yesterday.

              Bonus tip: Don’t attempt the cry if you can’t master the single tear. A hint of sentimentality from an otherwise put-together guy is one thing. Snotface crying is much less attractive.

              9. Dinner

              If you can swing a home-cooked meal, you should eat dinner in the previously mentioned candlelight. If you feel like you’ll burn your house down, maybe a restaurant is a better idea.

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                From the moment you step foot inside the restaurant, cell phones are to be turned off. I didn’t say to set them to “silent”, you’ll actually be turning them OFF. No instagramming your food, no checking texts, no social media. You’ll be looking at each other’s faces and talking to each other using words that come from your mouths.

                Bonus tip: Be interesting. You have time to prepare for this, and now’s your time to impress her with things not directly related to video games.

                10. Romantic Coupons

                This takes the concept of the card an entire leap forward. You probably plan on doing little things here and there for her anyways right?

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                  So why not cash-in on those things by giving her coupons for them. Throw her a few footrub coupons, a few for doing the dishes, and a few a bit more exotic.

                  Bonus tip: You lose points for calling it a groupon.

                  Remember, valentines day takes place on a Saturday this year. Consider extending the technological hiatus throughout Sunday and see how you feel.Who knows, you might not want to go back!

                  Featured photo credit: Romantic Heart from Love Seeds via farm7.staticflickr.com

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                  Last Updated on September 30, 2020

                  How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                  How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                  We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

                  In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

                  The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

                  The Importance of Living in the Moment

                  “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

                  While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

                  Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

                  Better Health

                  By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

                  Improve Your Relationships

                  Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

                  Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

                  How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

                  By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

                  Greater Self-Control

                  You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

                  Why Do We Worry?

                  Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

                  When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

                  Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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                  Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

                  3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

                  Step 1: Overcome Worrying

                  In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

                  Calm Your Mind

                  When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

                  The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

                  In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

                  Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

                  Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

                  People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

                  If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

                  Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

                  In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

                  Racing Mind

                  Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

                  You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

                  If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

                  Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

                  None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

                  So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

                  By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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                  In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

                  Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

                  A Wandering Mind

                  From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

                  Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

                  Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

                  Outside Influences

                  Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

                  Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

                  Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

                  So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

                  Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

                  Understand Mindfulness

                  The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

                  When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

                  You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

                  This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

                  To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

                  If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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                  You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

                  Mindfulness Meditation

                  Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

                  Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

                  You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

                  This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

                  If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

                  Mindful Breathing

                  While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

                  You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

                  Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

                  Mindful Walking

                  Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

                  Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

                  Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

                  You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

                  In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

                  You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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                  Mindful Eating

                  Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

                  The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

                  Live in the present with mindful eating.

                    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

                    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

                    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
                    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
                    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

                    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

                    Mindful Activities

                    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

                    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

                    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

                    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

                    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

                    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

                    More About Living in the Present

                    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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