I'm writing this to you from a bleak time: Fall, post-Daylight Savings. Every year we walk over to our little clocks and, for reasons that I have yet to understand, forcibly give ourselves Seasonal Affective Disorder. I wish I could resurrect Ben Franklin just to grab him by the collar and tell him how much I hate his little Enlightenment-era idea of how man can tame nature. But I can't. So, instead, I have to double down on the self care and self love to make my brain feel a tiny bit better about the fact that the sun now sets at 5 PM.
I happened upon The Bliss Bean's video on applying the love languages to yourself a few weeks ago (10/10 recommend you watch it!!) and the concept has just really stuck with me. I don't know if it's just me, but that honestly seems revolutionary. Why hadn't I considered before that you could take how you would like a partner or friend to treat you and just act that way towards yourself? So, (huge shout out to her!), without further ado, here are my takes on how you can practice self-care using your own love language!
Words of Affirmation
If you, like me, value words of affirmation above all else, there are several ways that this can manifest into self-care. I know you may be sick of hearing about it, but first on my list of recommendations is giving yourself a daily affirmation. Though you may feel weird about it at first, trust me when I tell you that there's no better feeling than looking yourself in the mirror each morning and stating that you know you can achieve everything you've set out for today.
If you're the sort of person who struggles to maintain daily habits, try writing yourself a heartfelt letter. It can be about whatever you need it to be: a letter of forgiveness, of encouragement, of affirmation. Or it could be something totally stream-of-conscious, just writing what comes to mind when you think of what you love about yourself. Take your letter and read it to yourself in the mirror. I know, I know. It sounds super cheesy and new age, but if you can't be vulnerable with yourself than who can you be vulnerable with?
Acts of Service
This one goes out to all the stressed-out Virgos reading this! Acts of service may seem like one of the hardest love languages to apply to yourself. After all, if doing an act of service for someone else means doing a task in their stead, how can you do that for yourself? Not to worry- it's actually super simple and intuitive: just show yourself that you care by doing something that your future self will appreciate.
Doing an act of service for yourself could be relatively small like getting your academic reading done in advance to give you the next day off or finally doing your laundry, but it can also be something bigger like putting in an hour or two of work on those grad school applications that you've been procrastinating on. Really give thought to what task has been stressing you out lately, and make a concerted effort to check it off the to-do list. Whether it's big or small, you're future self will definitely be feeling the love!
I know what you're probably thinking- this sounds expensive. But it doesn't have to be! Sure, giving gifts to yourself could mean buying yourself those shoes you've been eyeing for a while or (in a pre-COVID world) those concert tickets for that band you love. And if that's in your budget, go for it! I, as a random stranger on the Internet, am telling you that you deserve it.
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But it can also be much more cost effective. Treat yourself to some flowers from the grocery store the next time your food shopping! Buy yourself a fancy Starbucks coffee to celebrate getting through the week! You can even do an ultra budget-friendly version by testing out some DIY projects using materials you already own. The key here is just to figure out what you can afford and go from there.
This can be one of the hardest methods of self-care to imagine. After all, what does spending quality time with yourself even mean? Don't you always spend time with yourself. Yes and no. While you obviously are always hanging out with yourself, that doesn't mean that you're spending quality time. Think of it like you're setting out to learn more about a new friend. You wouldn't just invite them to hang out in your room and watch TikToks with you. Instead, you'd want to do something that lets you find out what they're really like.
Try making a list of the activities you find fulfilling, whether it be going to a park and journaling or just having a meal by yourself. Then, (surprise, surprise) go do them! Taking the time to really be around yourself and to check in with how you're doing feels surprisingly refreshing after how chaotic our lives have become.
Self care that's centered around physical touch is the most common on the Internet, so these will probably sound more than a little familiar. As a Taurus Sun Taurus Moon, I feel like I'm an expert on the subject. And in my expert opinion, I advise you to get in your comfiest clothes, snuggle in bed and get your favorite movie up on Netflix. If your attention span is zapped by the day you've had or if you just can't handle any more screen time given how digital our world has become, go for a classic: run a bath, light some candles and relax. Really anything that centers you in your body could fall under this category, so bring on the sheet masks, hot showers or yoga mats!
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Regardless of what your love language is, I hope you found this list helpful! Taking care of yourself definitely doesn't look the same for everyone, so figuring out your own ways of destressing is really important. Whether you're following my recommendations or brainstorming your own, I hope this list has reminded you to take care of yourself in these Unprecedented Times!