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5 Unique Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day — oh, the pressure! If you’re single, the idea of Cupid chucking random arrows around (and missing you) is kind of a bummer. Or maybe you’re paired up, but what if your celebration idea isn’t break-the-internet good? Instead of stressing, here are some ways to open your heart to the whole wide world this February 14th.

1. Get Social

Neqtr is the dating app is for socially conscious people who’d like to, well, socialize. You can sign up for earth-friendly group activities that could lead to a (clean energy) spark. If you’re single, spending your time volunteering on Valentine's can be a great alternative to that old cliché of hiding out under the covers and eating directly from the ice cream carton.

“You could go to the Food Bank and pack boxes of food, or serve a meal to a local shelter,” says Neqtr founder and CEO Sonya Davis. “Volunteer at an animal shelter and play with rescue dogs that need love, or make your neighborhood more beautiful by picking up trash. All of these options feel really good and fulfilling. Wallowing in self-pity only results in deepening the black hole we tend to fill with outside influences and escape tactics. Giving back helps fill that black hole and helps us gain a new perspective and gratitude.”

The already-paired may be tired of the same ol’ chocolate/flowers/fancy dinner trifecta. Doing a beach clean-up or yoga class is “way more fulfilling, rewarding, and it’s a beautiful bonding experience that you two can cherish,” says Davis. “It also can be a great workout.” She adds that the experience is a good way to see the real person behind the dating profile and suss out how well you work as a team. “It takes the pressure and hype out of the typical date experience, especially on this holiday, and you can help the populations that need it most.” She adds, “I've found that witnessing a partner or someone I'm interested in--or even someone I don't know yet--giving back can be incredibly sexy.” Whatever happens or doesn’t, you’ll have made the world a better place.

2. Make Your Lover Purr

No, not in a Cosmopolitan way… From SoCal to Boston to Atlanta, the cat café is catnip to lovers of kitties and coffee alike. The general idea is to combine delicious beverages and some cat snuggling, with the ultimate goal of finding loving homes for homeless kitties. It’s also great for those who can’t have pets to feel the feline love — researchers have found that pets can actually improve your health. Go alone for some happy meows and macchiatos or bring your best bae for some belly rubs and black tea. To find a place that combines fur and cafe latte, click here.

3. Walk it Off

The Great Outdoors needs TLC, too. If you adore nature and love to hike or love someone who loves to hike (or would love to meet someone who loves to hike), check out the Outdoor & Adventure Meetups section of www.meetup.com, where you can register for wilderness walks, historical hikes, pet walks, and more general outdoors-iness.

4. Heart the Day

Since you’re already surrounded by the color red and lots of cardiac culture (think: heart emojis, “BE MINE” Sweethearts candies, cupcake toppers, etc.), why not pick this day to learn more about women and cardiovascular health? Founded in 2004 by the American Heart Association (AHA) to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke as a number one killer of women, the Go Red for Women campaign has info on getting involved in the cause, living a healthy life, and whipping up lots of delicious heart-healthy recipes.

5. Compose a Love Song

Whether you’re going solo or doing a duet, heading out to hear your favorite band can be an oh-so-romantic V-Day moment. It’s even better if you buy tickets through TIX4CAUSE, a for-profit ticket resale marketplace that sells unused event ticket donations and gives a percentage of ticket sales proceeds to a charity of your choice. Or maybe your love has hockey season tickets and, guess what, the big game is February 14th. Is there any better proof of love than donating those seats to charity and staying in for dinner by candle light instead?