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10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

Valentine’s Day is approaching once again, and people all over the world will be scrambling for gifts to give their special someone. Whether they’re gifts for spouses, lovers, friends, or family members, these gifts tend to run the usual gamut of plush toys, roses, and candy. Consider something a bit more unique this year—it’ll certainly liven things up, and will stand out in the recipient’s memory far more than that box of chocolate will.

valentine ideas

    Here are a few ideas that you can do to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one:

    1. Put Together a “Date in a Box”

    date in a box

      No, it’s not suggested that you package up your partner, but rather that you create a gift box/basket full of all the things that would make a perfect date night; either for you and your date, or for a couple that you can give it to as a gift.
      For movie-lovers, the parcel could include a couple of DVDs and some popcorn with gourmet toppings to sprinkle over it. Wine aficionados could indulge in a bottle or two of their favourite wine, along with some cheeses, bread, olive oil, and candles. If the recipient’s ideal dates fall into the realm of fly-fishing tournaments or furry conventions, you’re on your own for ideas.

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      2. Sponsor an Animal

      Sponsor an Animal

        Love doesn’t just have to be expressed towards other humans—it can be directed towards caring for any species. If you love animals, consider making a donation to a charitable organization that helps to care for those in need.  You could choose to donate to a local pet shelter or wildlife rehab center, or any number of care facilities worldwide that offer medical care and sanctuary to animals like elephants, dolphins, sun bears, wolves, and countless other species.
        Donations are tax-deductible, and you’d be ensuring that an animal in need receives gentle care and compassion. You’ll often even receive pictures of the animal(s) you helped, and regular updates on their well-being.

        3. Make Chocolate “Sushi” Together

        ChocolateSuSh

          Don’t yarf: these faux sushi bites are absolutely not a mixture of fish and chocolate, so there’s no need to run screaming. Though it may sound bizarre to have dessert in the shape of maki rolls or nigiri, it’s actually a lot of fun, and will undoubtedly surprise the person you’re sharing it with.
          Making these is fairly time-consuming, so don’t leave your preparations to the last minute. The “rice” can be made a variety of different ways, but the most common ones seem to be either grated white chocolate, shredded coconut, or crispy rice and marshmallow mixture—the kind that’s used for squares. The “nori” is made of strips of dark chocolate, and you can use a variety of fillings and toppings to emulate anything you like. Try pieces of mango or pineapple, and use crushed raspberries in lieu of tobiko.

          4. Name a Star After Your Sweetheart

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          name a star

            This one might not be completely legit, in so far as you can’t really prove that the star you’ve named hasn’t been named for ten thousand other people and you’ve just been billed for it, but it’s a cute gesture. You can expand on this idea by getting the star’s coordinates etched into matching jewellery that only you two share.

            5. Have a Midnight Picnic

            125035__walk_l

              This is a really cute, low-key thing that you and your beloved can do together that’s low-cost, silly, fun, and can be put together from stuff you have at home. You can either wake them in the middle of the night to surprise them with a picnic spread in the middle of the living room, or you can tell them ahead of time so you two can plan together and nap as needed so you don’t fall asleep onto your sandwich in the middle of the night.
              This is also fun to do with your kids, if they’re old enough to appreciate it and won’t end up howling and miserable the next day.

              6. Make some Hair Jewellery

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              hair jewelery

                Okay, this one’s a bit weird and might appeal most to the goths out there, but hair jewellery was really popular in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and can be quite beautiful. Though it was mostly worn in remembrance—crafted as it was from the hair of dead loved ones—these brooches and rings can also be created while your sweetheart it still among the living.

                7. Take a Dance Class Together

                dance class

                  Nothing says “I love to be close to you” than forced, awkward togetherness in front of strangers. There’s such a wide range of dance classes to choose from that you two can be flouncing around the dance floor together in no time. Salsa, tango, swing, or ballroom: whatever would encourage you and your partner to have a ridiculous amount of fun together would definitely be a way to celebrate in style.

                  8. Grow a Tree to Plant in the Spring

                  grow a tree

                    Winter really isn’t the time to go planting things in your yard, but you can get seeds and nuts started indoors in a little pot of soil. Consider getting yourself a tree-growing kit (or just be experimental with a nut or pit of your choice) and see if you can coax a tree into growing for you. Once the weather has warmed up and your tree is sturdy enough to move outdoors, transplant it into the ground where you can watch it grow for years to come.

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                    9. Have a Marathon of the Worst “Romantic” Films Ever

                    worst movie ever

                      There are some spectacularly bad romantic comedies out there, and few things can make a couple appreciate how good they have it as watching some of the cheesiest, heart-stopping dreck that the film industry has put out. Make a big bucket of popcorn, pour some drinks (you’ll need them), log into Netflix, and enjoy. The groaning and wincing will bring you closer together.

                      10. Do Absolutely Nothing.

                      sit and do nothing

                        You could always choose to go against the grain of forced, expected displays of affection on this day: take a cue from the “Un-Birthday” party from Alice in Wonderland, and make this an “Un-Valentine’s Day”. Don’t do anything special, don’t make any big fuss… and instead, do something sweet and adorable on each of the remaining 364 days ’til the next time V-Day rolls around.

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                        Catherine Winter

                        Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on January 24, 2021

                        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

                        Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

                        For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

                        But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

                        It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

                        And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

                        The Importance of Saying No

                        When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

                        In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

                        Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

                        Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

                        Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

                        “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

                        When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

                        How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

                        It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

                        From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

                        We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

                        And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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                        At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

                        The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

                        How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

                        Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

                        But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

                        3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

                        1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

                        Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

                        If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

                        2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

                        When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

                        Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

                        3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

                        When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

                        6 Ways to Start Saying No

                        Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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                        1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

                        One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

                        Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

                        2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

                        Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

                        Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

                        3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

                        Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

                        Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

                        You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

                        4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

                        Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

                        Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

                        5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

                        When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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                        How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

                          Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

                          Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

                          6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

                          If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

                          Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

                          Final Thoughts

                          Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

                          Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

                          Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

                          More Tips on How to Say No

                          Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
                          [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
                          [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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