Valentine's Day is approaching, which can only mean one thing… love is in the air!
Now, before you get the wrong idea, this won't be a blog purely for couples. Valentine's Day is about love and that love can and should include everyone. So, this year, we've created a list of date night ideas whether bae is your other half, your best friend, or yourself, and whether you're suffering with fatigue, a lack of money, or just a plain lack of ideas.
Kaleb (17 - living with a brain tumour) and Ella (18) have been friends for 6 ½ years and share some of their favourite 'friend date' ideas.
- Have a joke - this mainly involves showing each other cat pictures (sad, but true!)
- Talk - whether it's about your tumour, holidays, school, gossip or whatever else, communicating, sharing and listening is a brilliant way to have fun, love and feel loved
- Go out for a meal, order in a takeaway, or have fun making something for each other. We first bonded over a shared love of cake and confectionary, so perhaps bake a cake!
- Go to the cinema and then talk about the film after
- Go to the park, talk, swing, slide, have fun
- Go shopping – whether you buy something or not, just trying on silly outfits, finding tasty food, and wandering around together can be great fun
- Do some in house activities – board games, video games, a puzzle, there's a lot you can do without even leaving the house
- Talk about all your best memories you've had as friends – embarrassing school stuff, funny moments, what you first thought when you met each other, how far your friendship has come
- Grab a box set and binge watch a new show or an old one you both love to watch over and over
Abigail (22 – living with a brain tumour) likes to make sure she's making time for the most important person in her life – herself, and shares some of her favourite 'self date' ideas.
- Listen to music – especially your favourite songs
- Go get your nails done, or do them at home yourself. Doing something to pamper myself is a great way to relax and have fun.
- Go shopping – even if you don't buy anything, the journey is fun and gets you out and active. It can also give you something worth saving up for
- Bake cakes, brownies, or bread. A nice foody treat always goes down well
- Take yourself out for a meal, it's becoming more common to eat out alone now and if you take a good book it's not as daunting as many people think. If you are too worried to go out alone, why not get a takeaway in or make yourself something really yummy at home?
- Binge watch your favourite TV shows, or have a movie marathon of your favourite films, whilst curled up in your pjs and a blanket
- Plays games – card games, board games, a puzzle, Xbox, Playstation, Wii – any game really!
Beth (26 - living with a brain tumour) and Sam (25) first met during a Duke of Edinburgh residential trip. Eight years' later and they're still together. Having had many dates together, they have plenty of ideas to share.
- Film nights in, make your own cinema but with the pause button and pyjamas.
- Games. From board games to candy crush, any game will do!
- Get a takeaways or cook each other a nice meal.
- Catch-up on your favourite TV show or watch an old classic
- We both like to go to IKEA. We love looking around, getting free pencils and having lunch!
- Get some snacks, put a film on and just relax with each other
- Bake a cake, cook something new, or get crafty
- Get out a bottle of your favourite drink (can be non-alcoholic!) and rewind your past – embarrassing, silly, heart-warming memories.
- Go stargazing – get some blankets and a pillow and get cozy! Conversation will naturally flow or you can just lay in comfortable silence and take in the scenery
- Building duvet fort and cuddle up inside with a hot chocolate
- Go to the zoo – you can walk around and enjoy each other's company without any pressure to talk or move around too quickly and there are plenty of opportunities to sit down and relax (and have a picnic!)
We know that a brain tumour diagnosis often impacts the wider family. In our 'Losing Myself' report, 2 in 3 said that they had seen a negative impact on their relationship with their partner, while 72% have had physical intimacy affected. Studies show that it is the personality and cognitive effects of brain tumours that place the most strain on relationships, particularly where they cause behaviour change, but that techniques to support caregivers can make a positive difference.
We have been working in partnership with OnePlusOne - a charity that specialises in relationship building - to investigate the experiences of those affected by a brain tumour and possible support needs. If you would like to contribute to our work on developing bespoke relationship support for those affected by a brain tumour, please contact the Information and Support team on 0808 800 0004 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, you might be interested in Click – an online resource that's been developed by OnePlusOne to provide general relationship support and help you strengthen your relationships. It features a professional-led listening room, moderated community posts, evidence-based articles, goal-setting, quizzes, and personalised recommendations to help you improve and maintain the quality of your relationships.