Valentine's Day 22. Share your love around
Are you left uninspired by the commercialism of Valentine’s day? Would you like to celebrate the day in a more meaningful way?
You can, by sharing your love out to yourself, people you care about and your community. As Mother Teresa said, "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."
Image from hinsdalenurseries
Giving love to yourself
We’ve all heard the saying Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. This is important because giving regular and consistent selfcare to yourself will ensure you have the emotional, mental and physical energy to give and receive love. Here's how you can do this:
Write a love letter to yourself
Why not take some time this Valentine’s week to write a love letter to yourself. You can download a useful template here.
Try a new selfcare practice
Read back over my blogs for other ideas on how to give yourself some selfcare. Pick an idea that appeals to you and do it.
Giving love to someone you care about
You can show, family and romantic partners you care about them with different type of gifts.
Things you can acquire and wrap. It could be the traditional flowers and chocolates or other things including homemade items which often have extra meaning for the receiver. You can send cards or letters expressing your gratitude. You can leave notes of thanks in places for them to find.
You can Google experiential gifts and buy vouchers or why not make up your own voucher for someone for an experience such as a meal out somewhere they’ve always wanted to go, a tour of a historic house or museum, a ride on a steam train, a canal boat weekend trip, an art lesson, etc. Let your imagination run wild. You can also leave voice or video messages or send meaningful songs, music or audio books for them to listen to.
Your time, presence and energy as a gift
Spending time with others and giving your full attention to others. You could make up a voucher to do someone’s housecleaning, ironing, gardening, babysitting, pet sitting, car washing etc for a week or month. You could also commit to a regular video or phone call with someone or sending a postcard / letter regularly to them.
Giving love to your community
Whilst volunteering obviously benefits people in need, worthwhile causes and the community, it also benefits the volunteer’s mind, body and soul thus making it a wonderful self care activity too.
Benefits of volunteering:
Connects you to others - helping you make new friends, expanding your network and boosting your social skills.
Is healthy for your mind and body - it can help reduce stress and anxiety especially when working with animals or in a creative role or organisation. The regular contact with others boosts your own support circle thereby helping manage depression. It gives you a sense of purpose. Research has also shown that the more you give , the happier you are. Physically, it gets you moving more.
Can progress your career - by helping you get experience in a new field you might be considering. It also helps you further develop important workplace skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, negotiating, customer service and managing difficult people.
It is fun and fulfilling - bringing new fun activities into your life.
What to volunteer in?
Would you consider volunteering? What could you volunteer in?
Here’s some questions to ask yourself:
Do you want to improve the area you live in?
Do you want to meet people different to yourself?
Do you want to see a different way of life?
Do you want try something new?
Do you want to do something in your spare time?
Do you want to have a go at the type of work you might want as a full/part time job?
Do you want to do something related to your interests and hobbies?
Do you want to share a skill you’re good at?
Do you want to work with adults, children, animals, plants, historic or art sites?
Do you want to work in a front line role or behind the scenes?
Do you want to work from home or at a venue?
What causes are important to you?
Try to find a match with your interests, skills and personality.
Here’s how to search for opportunities:
Do it- database of UK volunteering opportunities.
Join-in - volunteering projects as a legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Contact them to find out about how to get involved with local sporting and community projects.
If you’re 16 or 17 you can take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS).
Over to you
What will you do to make yourself or someone else happier this week? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.