With Valentine’s Day literally right around the corner and February just generally a month where love is inescapable: from grocery store aisles lined with chocolates and cards to radio ads on how to show the one you love how much they REALLY mean to you, it’s only fitting that, no matter your relationship status, you’ve got love on the brain.
In the world of caregiving, love is a word used frequently and with great hopes and expectations. However, that much expectation can equal pressure, and love can feel like a forced smile at times. A forced smile’s not the worst (it’s better than a frown!), and I’m reminded of the quote by Kurt Vonnegut: “You are what you pretend to be…” In this case, pretending to be happy leads to happiness, good stuff!
Here are a few ideas to keep the love and happiness flowing for you, the ones you care for and even that random stranger on the street:
- If you’re a caregiver, give yourself an extra treat this month. Whether it be a chocolate indulgence or Swedish massage, taking care of yourself makes caring for others much easier. After, pass that self-love on to the person you care for by doing something just for them, like putting on their favorite music or pulling out a cherished book of photos.
- Random acts of kindness really do get paid forward and they’re good for everyone involved! Get the door for a senior at a local store, make eye contact and give them your best smile and good morning/afternoon/evening—it’ll brighten both of your days!
- If you know someone in the field of health or caregiving, the WEGO Health team developed a quick, easy way to give them virtual love kudos: “In honor of our Share the Love month, we’ve put together a quick way for you to send kind thoughts, words of encouragement, and recognition to Health Activists you know and love (platonic or not!).
- If you work in a nursing home or residential living center, studies show that empowering the elderly to decorate their space leads to happiness and a higher quality of life. Maybe the walls can’t be painted purple, but going the extra mile to see if there are photographs or pieces of art that they haven’t had a chance to display or seeing if there is a favorite plant that could be added to their room could make all the difference in the world!
- “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing,” said Mother Teresa, and is also quoted by Deborah Quilter in this fantastic article: Yoga For Heart Health: Valentine’s Day is a Great Reminder to take care of our hearts.