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  • Writer's pictureJami Smithson

Are You Speaking Love Languages To You?



Since 2020, when the world changed, mental health awareness is more prevalent, people are becoming more self aware and realizing how important self care is. When I bring up the topic of self care to my clients and ask what they do for self care, inevitably conversations tend to lean towards bubble baths and getting hair and nails done for the ladies and I’m mostly met with a blank stare from the gentlemen which is typically followed by the question, “what do you mean?”. The truth is self care can be so much more and is as much for men as is for women; for that matter, kiddos should also be learning what it means to practice good self care. So let’s dig into this, shall we?


Let’s begin with a few self care stats:

  • Only 30% of Americans set aside time for self care.

  • Single people are better at self care than those who are married or in a relationship.

  • Men are more consistent with self care than women.

  • At home spa routines are the preferred form of self care by 47% of Americans.

  • On average, Americans spend 65 minutes per week on self care. 

  • 64% of Americans believe self care can boost their confidence (Team, 2023).


So what are you waiting for?!?


Many have heard of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman which is very helpful when learning how to connect with a partner and there are several versions out, even for parents who are wanting to connect better with their children; this concept can also be very useful when directed toward self in helping us stay balanced but many don’t think to use the concept in this way. What might this look like? Well, I’m glad you asked! 


First let's identify the five love languages given to us by Gary Chapman ~ words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, and acts of service (Link for book is below). Now take each of these love languages and begin to brainstorm things that you can do for yourself that would fall under each category and make yourself a list for each one. I will give examples to get you started!


Words of Affirmation

~ Positive self talk…. Do you speak kindly to yourself? (hint: if you wouldn’t say your thought out loud to another person because it’s hurtful try not to say it to you yourself, instead challenge that “stinkin thinkin” with a thought that is the opposite of your default thought). Give yourself pep talks and encourage yourself!!


~ Practice saying daily affirmations.


~ Journaling



Receiving Gifts

~ How often do you buy yourself something just because? Treat yourself by purchasing something that makes you happy; i.e. clothes, shoes, little indulgences.


~ Treat yourself to a day trip or a weekend away.


~ Invest in yourself; get supplies for hobbies like crafts, reading a new book, gift yourself a day off or a bouquet of flowers.


Quality Time

~Do you spend time alone with yourself? Having quiet time to just be in your space and in the moment with whatever it is that you’re doing is so beneficial for mental health; so, whether you’re meditating or cleaning the house…. Turn off the tv, music, podcasts, etc. and embrace the quiet.


~ Set aside time to check in with yourself regarding your mental health regularly, not just when it’s necessary.


~Take yourself on a date.


~RELAX; pray; spend time in scripture.


~ Participate in hobbies or things you enjoy.


Physical Touch

~Practice somatic soothing exercises.


~ Get a massage.


~Mani / Pedi


~ Give yourself a neck or foot massage.


Acts of Service

~Spend time making your home environment a place that you really enjoy; create a clean and peaceful environment that is a reflection of you and what you enjoy.


~Tidy up before bed so that you can wake up refreshed and ready to begin your day without having to face chores.


~Go to therapy!


~ Get involved in acts of kindness; giving back and serving others will feed your soul.


~Schedule and go to preventative health appointments.



Self care shouldn’t be forced but instead something you look forward to, practices that will refuel you and promote wellness so that you are better able to show up in different areas of your life, and implementing the love languages is not the only way to achieve this. Also consider dividing your wellness into categories in an effort to prioritize your health: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social. When considering these areas what are some things you are doing well in each? In what areas would you like to improve?


Lastly, consider the instructions just before take off on a plane…. Putting on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help someone else put on theirs is not selfish, it’s essential. Without caring for yourself in both mind and body you cannot be the best version of yourself and the consequences of that will be visible in all of those same areas: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, environmental, financial, occupational, and social.


If you would like help in improving self care practices we have many therapists and interns who can help in any of the areas you’re ready to begin working in; don’t hesitate to reach out and make an appointment! 




I have also included helpful links to get your wheels turning a bit… 



How to Create Your Own Self Care Plan


Self Care For Kids


Self Care Habits, Ideas, & Lifestyle


Self-care: Where Do I Start? – Mental Health First Aid




References

Kapil, R. (2022, March 14). How and why to practice self-care. Mental Health First Aid. https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2022/03/how-and-why-to-practice-self-care/ 

Team, S. (2023, May 13). 21 self-care statistics for a healthier you in 2024. https://www.soocial.com/self-care-statistics/ 

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