Whether you’re attached or on your own, Valentine’s Day can feel like a chore. Perhaps you’re sick of having to hand out giri-choco (obligation chocolate) in the office, ethically superior to the commercialism of this love-themed holiday, or just looking for a way to shake things up in your relationship. This year, instead of ignoring or just getting through it, celebrate it — on your own terms. These tips will help you thrive on the most romantic day of the year.

Matsu no yu, Nishi-Waseda (Photo by Stephanie Crohin)

Try Something New (On Your Own)

Join a painting class, take a dip at your local sento, try canyoning, dine out at a solo yakiniku joint or hit a karaoke booth and sing your heart out without judgment. Challenge yourself to do an activity you’ve never done before and test your boundaries. Even if it initially makes you feel scared, you’re likely to find out something new about yourself — and that’s always a good thing, right?

Smash Something

Literally. Go break some stuff at Reeast Room, a facility that lets you go wild and bash things to bits. The company has a few locations across Tokyo but the Ikebukuro venue has a few options to suit different tastes: a break room (an all-you-can-destroy affair), axe throwing (so you can live out your lumberjack dreams) and a “free art” wall that you can design any way you like. 

More info: reeastroom.com

Make a Self-love Playlist and Have a Dance Party at Home

Whether you just want something to jam to while you’re washing the dishes or you need to shake off your frustrations, it’s always better with a soundtrack. Here are two playlists to remind you that you are your own person — in older and newer renditions — to get you started:

Buy Yourself Chocolate…and Make It Fancy

Skip buying cheap chocolates for everyone in the office and instead splurge on some good quality treats for yourself. Chocolate contains the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, which are precursors to serotonin and dopamine, respectively. They help increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which makes us feel calmer, happier and less anxious. In other words: chocolate does a body good. Buy some bean-to-bar selections from Dandelion Chocolate or the “chocolat sando” from Vanilla Beans the Roastery. 

More info: dandelionchocolate.jp and vanillabeans.yokohama

Illustrations by Rose Vittayaset