Do you regularly practice self care? Are you aware of your Love Language? Combining your Love Language with self care leads to effective, successful self care that is personalized for you. Let’s talk about self care using love languages.
When the topic of self care came up for this post, I was initially uninterested. Some think that self care is a selfish indulgence. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It is a necessary practice to stay healthy and reduce stress.
It’s not that I don’t like self care, but sometimes the suggestions made self care seem like just another task on my to-do list. My to-do list is already full and not getting smaller. All of that changed when I thought about self care through the lens of The Five Love Languages.
I am a big fan of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. His philosophy is easily applied to marriage relationships, parent-child relationships and friendships. Now I was thinking of applying it to self care. This piqued my interest level.
Why do we need self care? Women are notorious for taking care of everyone else’s needs before taking care of their own. If this is true for you, then you need to be deliberate about self care. Women also are often overly critical of themselves. We have high expectations for our bodies, our relationships and our jobs. If we fail to meet our own high standards, we feel discouraged. Another good reason to be deliberate about self care.
The most important reason for practicing self care is because it supports our being successful in life. We can’t give to others if we are exhausted. We are unable to meet our high standards if we are foggy minded. Basically, healthy living includes taking care of oneself. So let’s look at self care as a way of loving ourselves using The Five Love Languages.
What are the Five Love Languages?
Chapman categorizes the way we express and receive love into five areas.
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
He encourages us to use this knowledge to better show love to family and friends. Reading his book will help you understand your preferred love language and the love language of your family members. There is also a quiz available online.
To use Chapman’s categories for self care we need to find activities that we do for ourselves but also communicate love.
Self Care Using Words of Affirmation
To meet your need for Words of Affirmation you may find reading inspirational quotes life giving. A positive quote in the morning could set your mood. Another option is finding positive affirmations and use them as a mantra throughout the day.
If you have an especially difficult task to complete, pumping yourself up with positive affirmations makes the task easier. It reminds me of the Seven Dwarfs and their song, “Whistle While You Work.” The act of whistling helped to create a positive workplace.
Journaling is also a way to provide affirmation to yourself. As your journal grows, you can look back and see areas of your life that have improved or challenges you have overcome. These lookbacks are affirming. It is also healthy to get your thoughts on paper. Many times simply writing things down relieves your worry.
Finally, I suggest using social media for Words of Affirmation. If you deliberately post positive messages and upbuilding stories, you feel affirmed and you encourage others.
Self Care Using Acts of Service
Acts of Service for yourself means doing things that make you feel cared for. Are there tasks you’ve been putting off because you never have time for them? Now is the time! Do your self a favor and organize that closet you’ve neglected. You will feel very accomplished.
Have you ever wanted to volunteer for something but thought you didn’t have time? Take time now and allow yourself to volunteer. Take it slowly, but give yourself that gift. It will be an act of service for others, but you will also benefit.
Or you could turn it around, an act of service to yourself might be giving up a responsibility at home and assigning it to someone else. Does your child contribute to family life by taking care of things around the house? If not, it could be self care for you to give them some more responsibilities. My 8th grade teacher challenged me to help out more at home by cooking dinner regularly. I’ve never forgotten how much that meant to my mom.
Self Care Using Quality Time
This category is probably the easiest one. Most of us know what we like to do when we get some free time. The challenge is to let yourself take the time. DO IT! It is self care. My adult daughter loves to go out to a movie all by herself. It is her self care.
Hobbies are a great way to practice self care. When life gets hectic, I like to pick up a new sewing project. It sounds odd, but it is my form self care. What do you like to do as a hobby? Give yourself permission to have the quality time you need to participate in your hobby.
Other ways to practice quality time are: reading a fun book, taking a nap, mediation or prayer, and exercise. These are often activities that get moved to the bottom of our to-do list, but practicing self care using quality time means you move them up the list.
Self Care Using Gift Giving
Showing love through gift giving means you put a lot of thought into a gift you give. Now you need to put some thought into how to give yourself some gifts. Start by making a list of fun gifts you would like. The list can include simple things like a special drink at the coffee shop or more extravagant items. Just writing the list will help set the stage for giving yourself gifts.
Gifts to yourself don’t have to be objects, they can include experiences. Is a weekend away with your friends a gift you would enjoy? Perhaps stopping at a favorite ice cream shop is splurge you seldom allow yourself. Self care using love languages gives you permission to treat yourself to some guilty pleasures.
Other gifts that come to my mind are: taking a fun class through community ed, bake your favorite childhood treat, buy some new music, or go shopping with a friend. All of these ideas are gifts to yourself. Take them, you deserve it.
Self Care Using Physical Touch
Physical touch is a love language that seems to need two people, but there are ways to show yourself love through physical activities. Anytime your body feels relaxed, soothed and comforted you are experiencing physical touch. A simple breathing exercise called box breathing can bring about this calm.
I find that exercising regularly helps me to relax and feel less stress. Other people enjoy taking a long bath and listening to soothing music. Of course getting a pedicure, manicure or facial are also ways to practice self care through physical touch.
Basically, self care using physical touch means you need to engage your senses in some way to produce a more peaceful, relaxed experience. It could be music, sunbathing, scented candles or a professional massage. Each of these result in lowering stress and improve your health.
This week I started a 10 Day Cleanse. This is definitely self care using physical touch. My whole body reacts to the food and drink I choose. It isn’t easy to do this cleanse, but I think it is self care that will produce good results.
Self care is important. You are more healthy, less stressed and stronger when you practice self care. Coping with life’s struggles takes a healthy mind, body and spirit. By using The Love Languages you can personalize your self care to the language that speaks to you.