Using your love language to practice effective self-care.
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Using your love language to practice effective self-care.

Let’s back up a bit and first explain what a love language is. According to Dr. Chapman, the author of the book “The 5 Love Languages”, there are five primary love languages that people speak. These include words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.

The premise of the book is quite simple: different people with different personalities give and receive love in different ways. By learning to recognize these preferences in yourself and in your loved one(s), you can learn to identify the root of your conflicts, connect more profoundly, and truly begin to grow closer.

You can pop across to the website and complete the quiz to find out what YOUR love language is.

But what about you?

How does this help you to practice self-care?

Here is the thing, by knowing which is your love language, you can practice better self-care, and here is how.

Social media will have you thinking that massages, bubble baths, cups of tea, journaling, and maybe a new pair of shoes will help you to fill your cup. For some, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Let’s chat about my client, Naomi.

Naomi hates shopping and isn’t a huge fan of baths. The idea of someone touching her for a massage, facial, or pedicure just makes her cringe. Needless to say, she thought there was something wrong with her.

The good news? There isn’t anything wrong with her at all! None of these activities were fueling her love language. Naomi’s love language is acts of service. A tidy desk and a good to-do list tickle her pink. These are the things she needs to do to fill her cup.

But what about you? Well, once you know your love language from the quiz, you can start introducing some of the following into your self-care routine. (Remember, you might have two fairly close love languages, so there may be some overlap).

Words of affirmation:

Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise or appreciation. According to Dr. Chapman, this language uses words to affirm other people. For those who prefer the words of affirmation language, hearing “I love you” and other compliments are what they value the most. Words hold real value within this language. Furthermore, negative or insulting comments cut deep – and won’t be easily forgotten.

Suggestions for self-care:

  • Keep a gratitude jar.
  • Recite psitive affirmations.
  • Watch TED talks.
  • Write positive notes.
  • Compliment yourself.

Quality time:

Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention. This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. Unlike the words of affirmation language, talk is cheap and being a loved one’s main focus leaves quality timers feeling satisfied and comforted. Distraction, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful to these individuals. Being there for them is crucial.

Suggestion for self-care:

  • Enjoy the sunset.
  • Watch a meaningful movie you enjoy.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Start a garden.
  • Go on a nature hike

Receiving gifts:

Gifting is symbolic of love and affection. For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a tangible gift. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person is materialistic, but a meaningful or thoughtful present is what makes them feel appreciated

Suggestion for self-care:

  • Invest in your hobbies.
  • Make yourself a calming self-calming kit.
  • Start a DIY project.
  • Treat yourself.
  • Enroll in a fun class.

Acts of service:

Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love. For these people, actions speak louder than words. People who speak the language of service want their partners to recognize that they appreciate help in any way possible. Lending a helping hand shows you really care. People who thrive on this language do not deal with broken promises – or perceived laziness – and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them. Basically, if you’re not willing to show your appreciation by doing them a favour, you’re saying you don’t value them

Suggestion for self-care:

  • Set monthly goals.
  • Declutter and tidy up your place.
  • Keep a habit tracker.
  • Donate to a charity.
  • Meal prep your lunches.

Physical touch:

It can be sex or just holding hands. With this love language, the person feels affection through physical touch. To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. That doesn’t mean only in the bedroom – everyday physical connections, like handholding, kissing or any type of re-affirming physical contact are greatly appreciated. A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn’t necessarily over-the-top but getting a little touchy-feely does make them feel safe and loved. Any instance of physical abuse is a total deal-breaker.

Suggestion for self-care:

  • Work on your skincare routine.
  • Enjoy a cup of tea.
  • Do a few stretches.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables.

This list is not complete in any way but hopefully, it will help you to find what works best for you, so that you can prioritise yourself and practice some real, meaningful self-care.

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