Pandemic Valentine's

Consider an online massage class. (Glen Erspamer Jr./Dreamstime/TNS)

A buzzing restaurant filled with diners, a packed concert hall. Date nights of the past aren’t available this year, claimed by the pandemic.

But date nights can still be vibrant and romantic. We asked Illinois couples how they are making it work. Some picked up at-home painting kits; others are creating a restaurant-style environment at home, complete with children as servers.

When thinking about how to plan a nice night with your partner, remember that date nights are about finding an opportunity for connection, says Chicago psychotherapist Alyssa Arnol.

“Understanding how you and your partner best feel that connection, and prioritizing incorporating that into your date night ritual, is important,” she said.

We collected several ideas for Valentine’s Day, or date nights beyond.

1. Take a virtual tour of a country you’d love to visit. Maybe the pandemic has curtailed travel plans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still plot together. Many countries have virtual tours available, if you search online. For example, tour the Highlands of Iceland. If you want to really get creative, plan cuisine to match.

2. Order takeout from somewhere that feels festive, or a place you hadn’t been able to  try (or afford) in pre-pandemic times. 

3. Learn something new together. Join Chicago's Japanese Culture Center’s virtual class teaching the art of haiku; the class Feb. 14 begins a three-week series on the poetry form with a $20 suggested donation. Or if a class is too much of a commitment, write each other letters including favorite moments from the past year.

4. Sign up for a virtual painting class. Maybe you’ll end up with new artwork for your home.

5. Learn to lean on each other by taking a virtual yoga class. BC Wellness Plus is offering a $10 adult yoga class  Feb. 14 that anyone can join — instruction will include options for partner poses.

6. Try a virtual wine tasting. Ask your local wine shop if  it  has virtual tastings.

7. Sign up for an online massage class. Heaven on Earth spa is offering a $175 online workshop where partners can learn how to give a back and neck massage. By the end of the workshop, you should be able to help your partner unwind like a pro.

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