#SELFCARESUNDAYS: are you speaking your love language?

Do you know your love language? If your answer is “no” or “what does that even mean?” then you can find out right here. There are five love languages, each of which outline a different method that people gravitate to when it comes to the ways they like to demonstrate or receive love. These are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, physical touch and quality time. Though these languages are typically used in reference to romantic love, with self-care being the buzzword of the millennial generation and the social climate becoming more and more contentious, it’s more important than ever that you know exactly what you need to make sure you’re showing yourself some love in a way that’s tailored to you. Here are some tips on how to do this – feel free to pick and choose from each category if you have more than one love language.

Words of affirmation

If words of affirmation are your preferred love language (meaning you respond well to compliments, verbal reassurance and open communication) you can provide this for yourself in these ways:

 – Journal often. Make sure you either begin or end each journal entry with three things you admire about yourself and three things in your life you’re grateful for.

– Be mindful about how you speak to others about yourself. A lot of us use self-deprecation as a means of humour without realising that we’re actually reinforcing these negative self-descriptions which can become self-fulfilling.

– Talk to yourself. Make a list of affirmations that counteract your insecurities. If you need help, Chidera “The Slumflower” Eggerue’s What a Time to be Alone has loads of gems you can nick and recite to yourself in the mirror every morning.

Acts of service

Acts of service is a love language that usually speaks to those who want to feel like their loved one is providing assistance to them with tasks like day-to-day chores and errands, as well as picking up on moments of stress and feeling overwhelmed. You can be of service to yourself by:

– Doing an inventory of your life admin. Are you working out as often as you could be? Is your bedtime routine up to scratch? Could your present self be doing things that your future self would thank you for, like laying out your clothes the night before or meal-prepping for the week?

– Learn new useful skills. Are there some recipes you can try out? BuzzFeed’s Tasty is a great starting point if you’re a visual learner and are looking for fun and varied recipes. You can also try and learn a new language by taking classes or setting up Duolingo on your phone.

– Volunteer. Okay, this is a bit of a cheat as it’s technically for the good of other people but I promise that good deeds have a direct impact on how you feel about yourself. Don’t just pick a random soup kitchen for the sake of it – pick a cause that’s truly close to your heart. Do-it.org has loads of different options to get you started.

Receiving gifts

There’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to preferring to accept love in the form of receiving gifts, and you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to treat yourself!

– Put together a new budget plan or revise your existing one to incorporate treats for yourself. Once you’ve done this, make a wishlist and buy yourself something from it one to four times a month (or however often you can afford).

– Choose one or two items that you’ll accept nothing less than a luxury for. You might be a Primark fan but decide that high-end skincare is the one thing you’ll spend good money on. For others, it could be things like lingerie or even membership at trendy gyms.

– Make a habit of treating yourself once a day. A treat could be anything from indulging in an episode of guilty pleasure TV (Bad Girls Club re-runs anyone?) to a Pret croissant for breakfast. Literally, anything that you consider a treat, free or otherwise is enough to perk anyone up.

Physical touch

– If physical touch is your love language, you really value contact, whether this is through frequent and fulfilling sexual activity, hugs, hand holding or even just reassuring pats on the back and shoulder rubs. This may seem like a difficult way to express love for yourself but there are plenty of ways you can do this.

– Book yourself in for massages or beauty treatments as often as you can afford it. Websites like Groupon and Wowcher have hundreds of discounts for treatments as cheap as £20.

– Incorporate exercise activities into your routine which allow for you to move your body in interesting ways. This can be low impact activities like swimming and yoga or more dynamic contact sports like Krav Maga or Muay Thai.

– Take luxurious baths with body scrubs and fragrant oils. Get to know your skin type and shop for skincare accordingly.

– Masturbate often – go ahead and treat yourself to a new sex toy you’ve never tried before.

Quality Time

Finally, quality time is for people who value their loved ones’ undivided and uninterrupted attention. It is also one of the easiest love languages to speak to yourself.

– You can take yourself out on dates at least once a week. Go ahead and take yourself to the cinema or out for dinner. There are also loads of free exhibitions dotted around museums and galleries so make use of those.

– Be sure to disconnect at least an hour before bedtime. Turn off your phone or put it in sleep mode and spend that time reading a book, journaling or meditating.

– Take up a new hobby or learn something new – something that requires independent learning. This could be a new language or finally finishing that novel you’ve always wanted to write.

Self-love needn’t be as complicated or pricey as booking spa getaways or ten quid packets of “superfood” seeds at health food stores. Sometimes it’s as simple as muting or deleting people who make you feel bad about yourself on social media. Other times it can be catching those moments where you’re unnecessarily hard on yourself and flipping your internal dialogue to take note of the fact that you’re doing the best that you can with life. However micro or macro you want to go with your self-love gestures, begin with learning exactly how you like to be shown that love.

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