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Truth be told, the holiday season often serves up a hearty helping of drama. Family gatherings can quickly turn into soap operas thanks to the nosy aunt, the overbearing in-laws, and that cousin who seems to have missed the “boundaries 101” memo. We get it; your patience is gearing up for a marathon. But here’s the secret sauce to keeping the peace: a dash of soulcare and a sprinkle of the five love languages. We’re giving these classic guidelines a festive makeover so you take care of you while cultivating connections.
First things first, let’s unravel the mystery of the five love languages. As the unofficial guide to meaningful connections, these languages were introduced by Gary Chapman, Ph.D., in his book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.” While we humans are far too complex to be summed up in just five categories, these languages provide a valuable framework for understanding how we communicate, receive, and show love to others and ourselves. Here’s a quick overview of each love language:
Words are the ultimate tokens of love for some people. They thrive on compliments, appreciation, and verbal expressions of affection. Saying things like “I love you,” “You mean the world to me,” or simply offering verbal praise and encouragement can speak volumes to them (literally).
These folks believe that actions speak louder than words. They feel most loved when others perform acts of service for them, such as helping with chores, tackling to-do lists, or making their lives easier in practical ways.
Quality time enthusiasts value presence above all else. They cherish meaningful conversations, undivided attention, and shared experiences. To them, time spent together is the ultimate declaration of love.
For these individuals, physical touch is the language of love. Hugs, kisses, cuddles, and handholding are their preferred ways of connecting with others. Physical affection communicates love and comfort to them.
Those who appreciate receiving gifts view them as tangible symbols of love and affection. Thoughtful presents, no matter how small, convey deep appreciation and care.
Before we dive into our love language toolkit, let’s get one thing straight: It’s entirely normal to have strained relationships with family, especially during the holidays. Yes, you should always let go of what doesn’t serve you, but finding middle ground so you can honor yourself without losing connections is equally important.
Understanding and applying the five love languages, with a dash of soulcare, can support the art of sustaining relationships with yourself and others. Here’s our take on how you can get started:
Nothing diffuses tension like a well-placed compliment. If your nosy aunt’s relentless questioning makes you cringe, flip the script. Shower her with genuine compliments. Sometimes taking the attention off yourself just requires some friendly redirection. Thank her for always being so curious or let her know you appreciate her care and attention. Thriving on kind words can create a more positive atmosphere in no time.
Self-Care Tip: Practice self-love by affirming yourself daily. Remember your worth and cherish uniqueness with positive self-talk. Thank your body, call in peace, or praise yourself for having patience. You’re just as deserving of kind words as anyone else so if you need some inspiration, check out this list of affirmations.
The holidays are the perfect time to pitch in with chores or assist with preparations. You can opt to run errands for last minute groceries or gifts. (This is an amazing way to get some alone time, or 1-on-1 time with someone you love!) For those family members who value acts of service, offering a helping hand can go a long way. Keep the kids occupied with a game or wash the dishes as meals are being made. You can use your actions to guide conversations, get curious about traditions and recipes, or simply pass the time.
Self-Care Tip: Treat yourself with acts of self-care. Prepare a relaxing bath, travel with your favorite ritual, or take some time to read a book you love. These small acts are ways of showing love to yourself as your social battery or patience dwindles.
To those who crave quality time, gift them with the most precious thing: your presence. The holidays might be hard at times, but they do bring people together. Reframe your anxiety with anticipation by remaining grateful for the opportunity to connect with people you may only see once or twice a year. Engage in conversations that matter, share stories, and create cherished memories.
Self-Care Tip: Quality time with yourself is equally important. Set aside moments to engage in solo activities you love, whether reading, painting, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of tea. If you’re returning to a familiar place, make new memories in old places. Find moments where you can self-reflect with your favorite journal and process your experience.
Physical touch can break down barriers and foster a sense of connection even amidst holiday chaos. Offer warm embraces or handshakes and enjoy the benefits of touch. Don’t miss the opportunity to hug things out, especially when tensions rise and communication is difficult. A little massage, pat on the back, or cuddle can go a long way.
Self-Care Tip: Hug yourself, literally! Wrap your arms around yourself in a self-embrace. It may sound silly, but it’s a beautiful act of self-love and reassurance. Another soulful tip? Thank your body from head-to-toe with your favorite offerings.
For the gift-lovers in your family, thoughtful tokens go a long way. We don’t just mean the gifts that are typically exchanged, we mean the unexpected presents. It doesn’t have to be extravagant; it’s the thought that counts. A small, meaningful gift can convey your love and appreciation! Curate a playlist for a long drive or get your supermama sister an on-the-go soulcare kit so she can de-stress between mothering. Your thoughtfulness will be received and appreciated.
Self-Care Tip: Treat yourself to a small gift now and then. It could be something as simple as a bouquet of flowers or a book you’ve been eyeing. You deserve to feel loved and cherished, even by yourself.
Now, remember, just taking a step back and breathing is okay, too! These love language tools and self-love practices are now tucked away in your holiday survival toolkit. You’ll navigate family gatherings more easily and nurture a loving relationship with yourself. You’ve got this and are worthy of all the love and happiness that comes your way!
What’s your survival kit love language? Let us know in the comments!