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12 ways to practice self-care this Valentine’s Day

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Written by
Annalise Mantz
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Sleep. Shower. Subway. Eat. Work. Drink. Repeat. It’s all too easy to fall into a day-to-day routine that leaves you more than a little bit exhausted. Stressed becomes the new normal—just part of living in New York City.

RECOMMENDED: Find more Valentine’s Day ideas in NYC

Self-care falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s one of those buzzy wellness words, usually mentioned in the same sentence as vegan smoothie bowls and yoga retreats in Mexico. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Right?

Actually, you do, and it’s not all that hard. This Valentine’s Day, channel the cast of Parks and Recreation and treat yo’self to something you like, for no other reason than that you like it. No matter if it’s an expensive manicure, SoulCycle class or a whole bottle of wine—we’re not judging. Whether you’re single, coupled or somewhere in between, here are 12 ways to practice self-care this Valentine’s Day, because you’re worth it.

Relax with float therapy
Tune out the world in a 60-minute session in a sensory deprivation tank. It’s just you, the tub full of salt water and a mellow blue light. No music, no talking, no distractions. Take the opportunity to meditate, rest or just be alone. $69 for one hourlong session

Savor some handmade raw chocolates
There’s a reason why chocolate makes everything better: Cacao actually boosts your levels of serotonin, the chemical compound that triggers feelings of happiness. Harness that good feeling in a raw chocolate workshop. You’ll feel like Willy Wonka, and go home with a box full of goodies. $35

Sit in the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art
You’re never really alone in this city. At home, you’re just a thin wall away from your neighbors. On the street, you join the throngs of countless commuters hurrying to work. On the subway, you’re so close to your fellow passengers that you get to know them too well. When you need some solitude, step inside the Museum of Modern art to find the sculpture garden. This half-acre oasis of stone floors, minimalist fountains and visual art offers a respite from all the hustle and bustle. $25

Find your om in yoga class
Pass on the after-work drinks and instead head to an evening yoga class at Human@Ease in Greenpoint. Some deep breathing and vinyasa flows will work wonders on your stress levels, and help you strengthen and tone your muscles while you’re at it. $10

Learn to make your own perfume
Little-known fact: the New York Botanical Garden offers occasional workshops and adult education classes. Soak up the gorgeous views of the grounds while crafting your own all-natural perfume using essential oils. You’ll take home one solid perfume, one roll-on and one aromatherapy spray. $89

Admire the classics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
There’s nothing worse than visiting a museum with someone who isn’t on the same page. One of you wants to read every sign, the other wants to breeze right through and someone eventually gives in. Go solo so you don’t have to compromise. Stand in front of the Temple of Dendur for as long as you want and give Vincent van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait With a Straw Hat” the attention it deserves. $25

Indulge in a massage and facial
Spa day! First, let a talented masseuse work out all those kinks in your neck and knots in your shoulders. When you’re thoroughly relaxed, an aesthetician will get started steaming, exfoliating and cleansing your skin. Since the Red and White Spa uses all Dermalogica products (the brand lauded by doctors and beauty editors alike), you know your complexion will look radiant. $89 for a 50-minute Swedish massage and a 50-minute European facial

Bake some sweet treats at Momofuku Milk Bar
Attention amateur cook and fans of The Great British Bake Off: It’s time to hone your skills at Momofuku Milk Bar. Don an apron and learn how to make the bakery’s ultra decadent crack pie (a buttery custard filling poured over an oat cookie crust) and birthday cake funfetti truffles in this two-hour cooking class. Whether you choose to share the spoils or devour them yourself is totally up to you. $95

Find a quiet moment in the New York Public Library
The only thing better than curling up with a good book at home is finding a deliciously silent reading nook. The Rose Main Reading Room at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is one of the city’s best, with its glorious golden ceiling, sleek marble walls, old-fashioned chandeliers and long wooden tables. Snag some new reading material and camp out in one of the stiff-backed chairs for a quiet afternoon well spent. Free

Marvel at the stars in the Hayden Planetarium
Staring up at the heavens as Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice booms overhead is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Experience the wonders of the cosmos at the Dark Universe show at the Hayden Planetarium. You might even gain some perspective; after all, your worries about finishing that big project at work seem very small compared to the enormity of the night sky. $34.99

Bike across the Brooklyn Bridge
Rent a bike and cycle across the Brooklyn Bridge to get those endorphins and good vibes flowing. Ready to keep going? There’s a five-mile network of paths running through Brooklyn Bridge Park to explore. When you get tired, take a spin on Jane’s Carousel. It’s the little things! $6.50 per hour

Take yourself to a Broadway show
Can’t convince any of your friends to go see Waitress with you? Don’t worry—it can actually be more enjoyable to see a show by yourself. It's the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to pre-show themed cocktail, without worrying about what your companion might think. Bonus: You can sometimes score better last-minute deals on single tickets! Prices vary by show

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