If balloons, flowers, candy, and lingerie make you want to retch this February, you’re not alone. Facing Valentine’s Day without a significant other? No problem! Here are some fun, creative ways to get a little emotional revenge on romance while spoiling yourself. This Valentine’s Day is all about you and finding a new passion.
Angst vs. Amour
If you’re looking to explore a new hobby and step out of your comfort zone, a trip to your local shooting range may be just what you need. According to Danielle Eberle, store manager at Smokin’ Gun Worx in Forreston, IL, many first-time visitors become repeat customers who want to learn about the safe handling of firearms.
“We have a lot of people who have never fired a gun before that leave here wanting to take safety classes,” she explains. “Many first-time visitors come to the shooting range with a family friend and usually leave with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.”
Smokin’ Gun Worx has two indoor climate-controlled shooting ranges with six lanes per range. “We keep our range at 60 degrees, so you don’t have to worry about cold weather, heat, wind, rain, or bugs. The air filtration system on the range is top-of-the-line, so there’s no worry about pollutants,” Eberle said.
Whether you’re an experienced gun owner or a beginner looking to appease your angst, Eberle says some rules apply to the type of targets used at the range. “We have several types of set and variable targets at Smokin’ Gun Worx, but we don’t allow people to shoot at any recognizable faces,” she said.
“We allow silhouette, deer, and bullseye targets, and we have a masked face target wielding a knife that can be set to charge at the shooter, but these are all generic objects. Shooting at someone’s name or image can be considered premeditated, and we have safety officers and cameras on our ranges to ensure maximum safety for our shooters.”
“We vary our targets depending on the holiday,” Eberle says. “You can shoot at pumpkins, turkeys, snowflakes, snowmen, and hearts. We even have an angry clown target available.”
Throw Yourself a Raging Good Time
If you’re planning a Valentine’s Day destination vacation, consider visiting Axe Monkeys. With four locations in the U.S. and Canada, Axe Monkeys offers a variety of entertainment experiences sure to reduce romantic angst in a fun and healthy way. In addition to standard axe throwing, the company offers specialized weapons throwing, a Rage Room, and mobile axe-throwing units.
According to co-owner Jason Boisvert, each axe-throwing session starts with safety training before patrons throw into bullseye sections of actual pine logs. “While a party is here for axe-throwing, they can get an all-weapons upgrade which allows them to throw knives, ninja stars, gambit cards, and Batman Batarangs,” he says. Patrons can also bring their own axes, knives, and other weapons to throw at Axe Monkeys.
While the company doesn’t allow axe or weapon throwing at photographs of individuals, customers can throw at various satisfying targets. “We can’t have people throwing axes at photographs of those they dislike because things get posted on social media, which creates problems for us,” Boisvert explained. “Our zombie targets are quite popular because if you hit the target in the heart, lungs, or brain, it will ‘bleed.'”
The Rage Room at Axe Monkeys offers patrons a 20-minute session where they can destroy objects using sledgehammers, iron rods, baseball bats, hammers, and two-by-four lumber. “People can bring in personal property to break or purchase items from our Rage Store,” he says. “I also take donations of old electronic items and household objects to use in the Rage Room.
Axe Monkeys’ mobile axe-throwing units are a great way to bring the fun of this activity to your home or business. “We’ve done corporate events, private parties, basically anywhere a group wants to try axe throwing,” Boisvert says.
“The unit has two targets, and we provide instructors who are there with you. The mobile unit is safe, large, and gate protected, so there’s no chance of any stray axes outside of the area. We’ve even had the mobile unit at divorce parties for those needing to get out some rage.” He adds that axe throwing in-store or with the mobile unit is a great team-building activity enjoyed by all ages.
Beyond having a fun time with family and friends, Boisvert highlights other benefits of a visit to Axe Monkeys: “Trying any of our experiences will give you a physical workout. You will work muscles in parts of your body that don’t get used in traditional exercise,” he points out. “The first time you land that axe on a target, it’s purely amazing. A visit to Axe Monkeys is a stress reliever, a confidence builder, and invigorating. People come in apprehensive and leave fearless.”
Single and Ready To Mingle
If Valentine’s Day finds you in the mood to mingle, a night out on the town may be just what you’re looking for. Supporting hometown businesses and enjoying live talent are just a few clicks away. Rockford’s Local Music Scene (RLMS) page on Facebook, started seven years ago by Kevin McCarthy, is the premiere place to find live entertainment in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
McCarthy, a Winnebago County (IL) Board member, and popular local DJ and emcee claims the site fills a unique niche in the community. “I started RLMS because no local media outlet provided a comprehensive listing of regional entertainment. Local bands would post about their gigs online, but there wasn’t one site or page where people could find this variety of information.”
“My friend, local musician Mike Coulahan, and I update the page daily to feature the latest in live local music, concerts, and performances.” Additionally, McCarthy promotes neighborhood benefits, karaoke, and trivia events on the page.
Performing in front of an audience, according to McCarthy, isn’t just for bands and soloists. ” Karaoke and open mic nights are popular at many local bars. All you need to perform is a bit of self-confidence and maybe a drink for good measure. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. You’re just having fun, and the audience should cheer you on. I recommend choosing a song you know well and even practicing it before trying it in public.”
McCarthy says attending an open mic or karaoke night all comes down to enjoying yourself. “I credit anyone who tries karaoke or gets up at an open mic night. It takes initiative and shows that you want to do something different. In general, people who attempt karaoke and the audience listening are just there to have fun.”
Self-Care for Your Welfare
If you’re craving a quiet, relaxed Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to a massage. With over 300,000 licensed massage therapists in the U.S., finding a provider can be done online, but many prefer a massage therapist that family or friends have recommended.
“All of the referrals I’ve received have been from other satisfied customers,” says Jena Webber, a licensed massage therapist and owner of The Body Workshop, a comprehensive massage therapy practice in northern Illinois. “Nobody finds it easy to relax, so at your initial visit to a massage therapist, focus on slowing your breathing and enjoying the experience.”
Webber said that open communication with your massage therapist is the key to getting the most significant benefit from your session. “Most therapists want to know which muscle groups are problem areas before the massage begins. However, it is up to the client to tell the therapist if the pressure is too hard or too soft. My massage style is gentle therapeutic work, but I tailor my style to what the client needs.”
In addition to deep tissue massage, Webber offers several other muscle therapies, including Thai yoga massage, myofascial massage, therapy-based pilates, traditional pilates, and a veterans program.
The massage environment, Webber says, also plays a role in how much a client can relax during their session. “The temperature of the room, massage table, the lighting, the music, and the overall atmosphere of the office can also enhance or detract from the massage experience. It’s also important to talk to your therapist about these things to have a good massage.”
Relaxation and stress relief are only some of the benefits of a good massage. “As you unwind during a massage, the parasympathetic nervous response is activated, which lowers your cortisol level and helps to heal your body,” Webber says.
“In addition to easing muscle tension, the deeply relaxed state of a massage can help in cellular repair. The relaxation benefits of a massage and the increase in circulation during a massage can be more beneficial in the long-term than simply easing sore muscles.”
Spending your Valentine’s Day pursuing a new hobby, stepping out of your comfort zone, or taking some time for self-care, is a great way to skip the romantic sentiments of this holiday and find a new activity to love.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.