Health Team

The best way to say 'I love you' is to stay away

Posted February 10, 2021 3:40 p.m. EST

— Some say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also keeps you safer, according to the latest guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mail love letters, send roses or deliver chocolates, but don't plan any in-person activities this Valentine's Day with people outside your household.

The CDC guidelines say the safest way to celebrate the holiday is to stick with the people you live with or transition the festivities online.

For people interested in expressing their love for those outside their household, CDC guidance advises going outdoors.

CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, cautioned against any indoor gathering with people outside your pod.

People can increase their risk of contracting the virus by "having an indoor dinner party with their friends who are not a part of their household or going to an indoor restaurant that's crowded."

School-age children typically exchange Valentine's Day cards with their classmates, but many students are attending school online. They can still safely mail cards, Wen said.

Coronavirus transmission through products is minimal, so, "there is really no risk of sending cards or edible items to other individuals," she said.

Still stuck on how to mark this day? How people express and receive love often fall under five love languages, according to author Gary Chapman: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.

Here are some ideas of how to safely celebrate Valentine's Day based on these languages.

Words of affirmation

Go old school and write a handwritten letter to someone. It can be a love letter to a romantic partner or a letter letting someone know you're thinking of them. Send a voice recording to someone complimenting them. When they're missing you, they can replay your message to hear your comforting words.

Acts of service

Make breakfast for the other members of your household. Nothing's better than waking up and having one less thing to do in the morning. For those outside your household, consider having breakfast delivered.Create a playlist for someone of songs that remind you of them. When they listen to it, they'll think of you.

Receiving gifts

Send someone a delivery of their favorite foods. To put a romantic spin on it, consider sending dessert and wine. Chocolate strawberries anyone?Ship a Valentine's Day care package with their favorite items. Fill the box with gifts that remind you of them, like homemade treats and a lavender-scented candle.

Quality time

Pick out a new recipe or two to cook together. Make it a phone-free zone so you can give your undivided attention to your partner.Schedule a Zoom call for a paint and wine night. Screen share a video of step-by-step painting instructions and follow along with your partner.

Physical touch

For members within your household, give them a hug. It's been a tough year and a hug can do wonders to melt someone's worries away and show them you care.For people outside your household, send something that can be physically comforting, like a blanket or a stuffed animal to cuddle with. If you're sending it to a romantic partner, consider lightly spraying your perfume on it so it smells like you when they receive it.

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