Though traditionally Valentine’s Day seems hardest for single people, capsule the reality of this holiday is that it gives almost everyone crippling anxiety. Even if you don’t “believe” in Valentine’s’ Day, side effects it is simply impossible to escape the pressure to be hopelessly in love and passionately romantic on February 14th.

That pressure tends to lead to serious disappointment, even for those with a significant other they actually love. Whether you’re happily boo’d up, unhappily shackled to your S.O., single and ready to mingle, or single AF, here are 4 ways to make this year’s Valentine’s Day a little bit better than last year’s.chocolate1. Make Chocolate Haut Again

While we all appreciate a cheap package of chocolates from Rite Aid every now and then, Valentine’s Day is not the day to skimp on quality. Since chocolate is so often seen as a cliched, impersonal gift, you’ll have to step up your game to make it special.

Vosges Haut Chocolat is the perfect place to start if you’re looking for something a little more romantic. This gourmet brand caters to global tastes, and has plenty of impressively romantic gift boxes to impress your S.O. (or to show your appreciation for yourself.) There are even gift boxes of exotic truffles and high-end champagne. L.A. Burdick and La Maison du Chocolat are also worthy purveyors of exceptional chocolates.

Hotel

2. Find a Honeymoon-Worthy Hide-Out

Sometimes the best way to say “I love you” is by giving your partner the break they deserve. Valentine’s Day falls awkwardly on a Tuesday this year, but a last-minute staycation can be a much-appreciated gift. Apps like Hotel Tonight can help you find the level of luxury your heart desires at a moment’s notice.

Some hotels even have Valentine’s Day Packages, which can include anything from flower arrangements to 4-course-meals. It’s never too late to have that rose-petals-on-the-bed moment you’ve seen in the movies. Or at the very least, two dozen roses, champagne, chocolate, and a hotel-provided “pleasure kit.” That’s what you can expect when you book the Library Hotel’s famous Erotica Package, so anything is possible.

innerchef

3. Let Your Inner Chef Shine

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but that’s clearly true for just about any human with a pulse and an appetite. Cooking is a highly personal, hopefully delicious way of expressing your appreciation for someone. It’s also a great way to bond with fellow single friends if you want to avoid all the couples in restaurants.

Valentine’s Day is an ideal occasion to pretty desserts in the forefront. Try popular cookbooks like “Marbled, Swirled, and Layered,” for recipes that are both unforgettably tasty and irresistibly beautiful.

fiftyshades

4. Shamelessly Indulge in Escapism 

Movie night is always a solid date idea, and it’s an even better way for single people to get the most out of Valentine’s Day. This year, the second installment of Fifty Shades of Grey is coming to the big screen, and let’s all hope that it’s even more delightfully baffling than the first.

No matter how unrealistic the plotline (hot, psychotic billionaire with a helicopter falls in love with random 21 year old college student in Oregon) , and no matter how problematic and borderline creepy the central characters’ relationship is (highlights include Christian Grey breaking into Anastasia’s house), there is something riveting about this series. It’s painful to watch, and yet it’s so hard to look away. What better way for singles to spend Valentine’s Day than to quietly mock the entire romance genre? 

– Naakai Addy