Meghan Fenn, author of Bringing Up Brits, recently wrote a great post about the way the UK differs from the US in the celebration of Valentine’s Day, and I loved how it seems over there to be about showing appreciation to people you have a bond with, and not just your partner.
Inspired by this, here’s the Straightforward Guide to loving yourself, your partner and those around you, every day of the year:
Take time for yourself, each and every day. Make it a conscious, chosen time, even if it’s just 10 minutes (finding you’ve been mindlessly lost in Facebook for the last half an hour doesn’t count). The glossy mag advice always seems to be to take a bath, but sitting in the garden listening to the birds for a few minutes with a cup of tea will do the trick.
Take time for your partner, your children, your colleagues and your friends too. It doesn’t have to be a whole evening or a special day out. Just putting down your phone and really listening to what someone has to say is a precious gift that you can give freely.
Yes, it’s a busy old world and there are lots of demands on your time. Multitasking has become the norm and is a hard habit to break. Yet even if you are doing the washing up or running to catch your train, being fully present in that moment is an act of love for yourself and the world. Being mind-full rather than mindful is what makes time seem to slip through our fingers.
Showing your love by being present around others may mean eating together round the table instead of in front of the telly, or closing your laptop, switching off the radio and being available for distraction-free conversation, even if it’s just for half an hour.
Say ‘I love you’ without words
Making time for yourself and others and being fully present will send out love messages aplenty. Ramp it up further by making your colleague a cup of tea when they have been working hard for hours, getting up early with the kids and letting your partner sleep in, cutting out a funny picture or story from the paper and giving it to a friend who will appreciate it, buying yourself a bunch of spring flowers for your desk or phoning your sister just to say hi. Little things mean a lot. Sure, a Valentine’s Day card is nice – and who would turn down chocolate? – but let’s keep the love, recognition and appreciation going through the rest of the year as well.
What will you do to spread the love further this year?