Take yourself to a fancy movie. This has been my favorite thing lately – the movie theater I like, the seat I choose, no one stealing my popcorn or commenting at all the wrong moments. In St. Petersburg, I’d go for Cinema Grand Palace, with super comfy chairs and a selection of movies in English and Russian, and enjoy watching a movie all the way through.
Sweat it out in a banya. Few things are more Russian than banya – the local version of sauna – and both guys and gals agree. People go with friends, they go alone, they go with family, they go to get away from the world and reconnect with themselves. Some banyas are pretty basic but you’ll still get plenty of steam, while others feel like a spa at a nice resort. One of my favorites is the Degtyarnye Bani downtown.
Make something. A friend of mine recently went to a culinary studio where they made marshmallows, something she as a CFO just doesn’t get to do that much. But with the growing number of workshops around town, you can try your hand at making anything from furniture to mosaics to paper fish. It’s not even so much about learning as new skill as it is about the joy of working with your hands and pure creativity, as well as seeing things in a new light (maybe a stained glass workshop?).
Go on a shopping spree. Last year, Singles Day in China brought over $30 billion in online sales. All these people were single and shopping for themselves. When’s the last time you bought something not because it made you look good but because it made you happy? It doesn’t have to be an object – anything self-care counts.
Try speed dating… in a library. Just for the fun of it. Gogol Library is hosting a speed-dating event where people of all ages get to talk about their favorite books. Guests come up to stations where they have five minutes to chat and get to know the other person. You might want to brush up on Russian literature – or not, and just come with the idea of enjoying the company of like-minded people. And still no shaving required.