Love can’t be confined to just one day of the year; so whether or not it is “love month” or Valentine’s Day, it’s always a good idea to consider these ways to show love to the people and places that matter to you.
We’ve come up with these simple ideas to express your love to your self, your partner/children/family/tribe, and the environment you choose to make your home.
Ways to show love to your self
It goes without saying that you cannot share love if you yourself are an empty cup. You need to fill yourself first, love yourself first, so that you are in the right state to share more of this love to others.
But “me” time goes beyond just the usual self-pampering (although that counts too). Here are some ideas on how to give your self some much-needed lovin’.
Limit exposure to sources of stress.
Easier said than done, but it really does pay to have a kind of “timer” to when you show up and “walk out” of situations and environments that regularly stress you out.
First, identify what these are. Is it work? Managing your time so that you are able to clock off from work—whether you work at the office or from home—is always a good idea, because you are able to “remove your working cap”, so to speak. This becomes more difficult if you are also working from home, but try to establish a “clock-off” hour so that you can switch to doing non-work activities to destress.
Turn off your phone and email notifications during these off-work hours. If you have a home office, literally close it up for the day so that you signal to your brain that your work is done, and you can now move on to less stressful things, like, say, bingeing your favorite shows on Netflix.
Establish a meditation or centering habit.
Meditation has proven through the centuries to be an effective way to show your self that your body and mind are worth keeping clear and healthy.
Whether you use an ancient practice like yoga or Reiki, read a religious book (like the Bible or the Quran), recite chants or prayers, or even as simple an act like journaling, there is good to be found in allowing yourself to be still, and to connect with your inner self.
If you feel like you don’t have time to meditate in the middle of your busy day, start out with just five minutes to keep quiet. When you wake up, instead of reaching for your phone to check messages or notifications, close your eyes and take deep breaths for a few seconds. Then think of how you want to spend your day, set your intentions, say a prayer if you will. You can also choose to write down your thoughts or your dreams, whether it’s at the start or end of the day.
Ask for help.
Overwhelm and burnout are two words that always snuff out even the most passionate of fires within us. Sometimes, asking for help is the simplest thing to do, but it is difficult to carry out for most people—especially those who think they can do things better and faster themselves.
But while that may be true at times, there is also wisdom in allowing others to assist us with things that need to be done. If you’re tired of thinking of what to cook for the day, assign someone else in the household to do it.
Even if you know you can do a better job of crafting copy for that work document, how about letting another team member take a stab at it (and just chime in your input when it’s time to edit)?
The kids need to be given a bath, but you still have to wash the dishes? Call in reinforcements via your partner. Or better yet, train the kids to bathe themselves (if they’re already of age).
Ways to show love to the people who matter
Having healthy relationships is part and parcel of a happy and balanced life. When we love someone, it’s only natural that we want to show them how we feel.
Whether it’s to your husband or wife, your children, other members of your household, or even the people you are close to at work, in your neighborhood or community, or your own group of friends, it’s always a win-win when you show love to the people who matter most to you.
Carve out space for them (whether literally or figuratively).
As opposed to spending time with them 24/7, one way to show that your loved ones matter to you is by giving them some space.
You can literally carve out space for them in your home where they can be themselves, say a dedicated corner for your husband (or kid!) to explore his interests (for example, if his hobby is Lego-making, designate a hobby surface for his toys, and discuss storage options that will help him organize them neatly). He will definitely feel that you care for and support the things he is passionate about—which in turn will make him feel valued in your relationship.
Giving your loved ones space also means allowing them to grow as individuals on their own; letting them explore their interests and passions without your input. This applies especially to partners and children, as you would want them to feel that they are safe to be themselves around you without you having to always provide some sort of input. When they do share their passions with you, it becomes all the more magical to witness how they become the unique individuals you knew they were meant to be.
Really listen to what they need and what they're trying to say.
When we have disagreements with our loved ones, it is easy to gloss over their behavior by imposing on them what we think they want or should do.
But while it’s necessary that you communicate your thoughts and feelings to your partner or loved ones, it’s also good practice to set those aside and really listen to what they’re saying. Sometimes, we think we’re listening to them, but what happens is we misinterpret what they’re saying based on our own biases and prejudices.
A trick that many counselors and therapists use is repeating exactly what they said back to them, then confirming if what you said is correct. Normally this will take a few tries (up to three, even), until you are finally able to repeat exactly what they said and meant.
More often than not, the first time you do this will not be exactly what they said, as you are interpreting their words based on your own understanding. By allowing them to confirm that what you repeated is correct, you are able to show them that you do want to understand what it is they’re saying. At the same time, you are given the opportunity to really absorb, in their own words, and deeply comprehend what they really want to say.
You’ll be surprised at how different you interpret their words most, if not all of the time. But when you do peel back all those layers of misunderstanding, you’ll finally arrive at common ground and make the necessary adjustments and compromises that strengthen your relationship.
Do something nice for them—based on their love language.
This goes without saying. Whenever we want to show love to someone important to us, we often think of grand gestures to impress them—flowers, gifts, the works.
But what really matter in relationships are the little gestures we do that make our loved ones feel, well, loved. Consider first what their love languages are. (Not familiar with the 5 Love Languages? Check out this site, take the quiz, and let your loved ones take it too.)
If your love language is service, but your partner’s love language is touch, they will rarely notice your act of love (i.e., fixing them up a cup of coffee every morning without them asking to). And if you aren’t physically affectionate to them, they will often feel that you don’t show your love to them as much.
A little tweak to how you show your love goes a long way. Apart from making their cup of coffee, try to squeeze in 5-second hugs throughout the day. So it really pays to know what your loved ones’ love languages are, as it allows you to show to them how they want to feel loved, and vise versa.
Ways to show love to your home
We all learned from the global pandemic how very important our homes are to our own mental health and well-being. When we found ourselves stuck at home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we realized that home is not just some place to crash after a long day. We also need to put some thought into our dwelling spaces, because they greatly affect our moods, our health, and even our relationships.
Here are some quick, inexpensive ways to show some love to your home, without resorting to complicated upgrades.
Do a quick audit of your space.
When we’ve lived in a place long enough, we sometimes don’t realize how much it affects our overall mood. We often think, “It’s so depressing here,” or “it’s so hard to move things around.” We don’t realize that perhaps, it could be the lack of natural lighting, or the use of the wrong lightbulb color, or an inefficient furniture layout that could be the culprit.
Auditing your space simply means taking a good close look at the room, area, or space that you would like to fix up, and asking important questions that will shed light on problem areas. A room audit lets you highlight what you like and don’t like about your home, and help you figure out how everyone at home is making use of that particular space.
You could ask questions like: What’s not working? What do you absolutely hate about it? What MUST go or change? What are its positive features? What’s currently working for it? What needs to stay?
Zeroing in on your home’s positive and negative features could help you identify the things you need to change about it.
Let go of the unnecessary.
It may feel tempting to have every little tool for every little task that needs to be done—a vegetable slicer, a salad spinner, a garlic masher, a knife sharpener, ad infinitum.
But unless you have space for every item you think you may need, they often will all just end up piled in a heap in every corner or surface of your home. So doing a seasonal decluttering of your house is highly recommended, as this will also give you that chance to see what things you may already have that’s been hiding in cluttered piles.
When you do away with those piles, you’ll find how lighter and freer your space feels. And isn’t that always a better feeling?
Add some warm and cozy elements to make it feel relaxing.
After figuring out what could be improved in your space, and removing all the unnecessary items, it’s time to spruce it up a bit with some elements that add that warm and cozy vibe to it.
Indoor plants are a great addition to any space, as it literally adds life to any corner. Artwork that means something to you and your family could also help liven up a drab or empty wall. Photos of the family in uniform-looking frames (i.e., black frames with thick white matting) could help tell your story.
If you’ve been relying on only overhead lighting, add some table lamps on one or two corners or end tables, and use warm white bulbs. These always add another layer of lighting that gives depth to a space, and at the same time literally warms it up, gives it a moody, cozy ambiance.
How Gal at Home can help you show your love
We don’t claim to be experts in providing self-care and relationship-building tips. But we do have several solutions to concerns you may have about how you can show love to your home! Who knows? Working on your home may just be the self-love/love for others you need in your life right now *wink wink.
If you need someone to help you sort out your ideas for sprucing up your home and want to volley them with a design pro, then our 1-hour online design consult might be what you need. You can even gift someone you love with an online consult, if you feel like they need help threshing out their home concerns with someone.
If you want a designer to provide you with a detailed plan and concept for your home, but which you are willing to execute yourself (or with your preferred contractor or suppliers), then our eDesign services might be up your alley.
To know more about our online design services, click the button below.
Photo credits: Photos by Ketut Subiyanto; Monstera; Annushka Ahuja; cottonbro studio.