All For Love
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing…
It takes all types of love to make the world go round. While our Februarys are often consumed with thoughts of romantic love, the happiest humans realize that love is not – nor has it ever been – one-dimensional. It is a many-splendored thing, indeed. The love of family, connections to platonic friends, self-love, and, yes, even the ability to care for neighbors and strangers alike, play a crucial role in the making of a well-rounded human being. Take the time and opportunity to nurture love in all its forms this month – and every month thereafter. While the pandemic has made it harder to safely connect with others, here are a few simple ways to give love to those who matter most.
Under normal circumstances, a nice dinner and two tickets to a movie theater would be one way to spend Valentine’s Day. But with limited options to enjoy an evening on the town, consider a romantic dinner and dessert prepared by two, instead. Take a culinary adventure with your love. Make a meal inspired by a place you would love to travel to together. Use your dream vacation spot as the inspiration for a fun-filled date night in. Wear outfits you would want to wear if you were vacationing there, select music from artists who call it home, watch a movie that features your dream destination and plan out the trip of a lifetime to take when circumstances allow for it. Write the goal down and put what you might have spent on an expensive dinner out into a travel fund. Contribute to it as often as you can. Even small amounts add up. Focusing on something the two of you can look forward to is a great way to connect with your partner in the now.
If the idea of making dinner just does not do it for you, consider ordering take-out from your favorite local establishment. Enjoy a delicious meal with your love from the safety and comfort of your own home.
Many parents have not had much opportunity to enjoy one-one-one time without the kids for almost a calendar year. While that fact has presented its own set of challenges, it also provides an opportunity to creatively incorporate the whole family into your Love Day celebrations. Prepare handmade valentines for each member of your household. Include coupons for acts of kindness that you can bestow upon your family. A “get out of dishwashing” or a “free load of laundry” coupon will be a smile-inducing surprise. Share the love far and wide by making and mailing handmade valentines to family members who need a little extra love this Valentine’s Day. Make it a care package by including some handmade treats and a sweet family photo.
During the day, take a family bike ride or nature hike together, complete with a lunch you can enjoy outdoors. Pick a favorite family meal to prepare or order in at night. A laughter-filled game night and a collection of favorite sweet treats will round out the celebration perfectly. Most of all, take time to tell each person in your family what they mean to you and how grateful you are for them. It matters now more than ever.
While some celebrate Valentine’s Day, in recent years, many have opted to celebrate the friendships that keep them afloat all year long. Enter the term “Galentine’s Day” – a day of celebration with the “gals” who matter most, typically celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day. Men: while you are not likely to see “Malentine’s Day” trending on Twitter or other social platforms with the same frequency of Galentine’s Day, it is a chance to connect with the fellas who stand with you every day, through the good, the bad and the ugly.
In-person Galentine’s and Malentine’s celebrations may be cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, but you can still connect with your dear ones in a meaningful way. Cue up a Zoom call, pour a cup of your favorite coffee, a glass of wine or scotch, or a bottle of your favorite beer and some delicious brunch-worthy foods, game-worthy snacks or delectable desserts. Dress up in something that makes you happy – whether it is a cocktail dress, your coziest pajamas, or your favorite sports jersey – and spend the evening connecting with your besties. Take screenshots so you will always remember the unique way you spent this Galentine’s or Malentine’s Day. Last year created feelings of isolation for so many people. Genuine connections matter and they help us sustain through difficult times. Take every opportunity to safely connect with your best gals or guys in 2021.
While you may not be headed out for a night on the town this Valentine’s Day, do commit to taking some time to pamper yourself. The world can be a stressful place. Self-care is not frivolity – it is an absolute necessity. Take a few extra moments out of every day to partake in a relaxing candlelit bubble bath, a home manicure, a power shopping hour or a guilt-free evening to binge watch your favorite show. Read your favorite book, listen to your favorite album – do what makes you happy.
Self-love should be a part of your daily routine. A healthy exercise regimen, a decision to drink enough water or a commitment to eating foods that are good for your health are small ways to show yourself love every day. If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of the ones that matter most to you. Replenish the source regularly so you can continue to share the love in your heart with others.
Showing love to those in your office, your neighborhood, your community or the world at large can create an unexplainable sense of joy and purpose. Extend a kind word – or a bottled water or mid-workday snack – to a coworker. Bring in vegetables from your garden to share. When you make a meal, make enough to bring a plate to a neighbor who may be missing their family. Share a conversation with your neighbor from a distance.
If you know of a person or family in need, find a way to help meet that need. If an opportunity to volunteer with a local, national or international non-profit organization arises, take it. If you see a stranger in the street in need of a smile, send them one of yours. One small kindness is the first step in making a big difference in the lives of others. Do what you can, as often as you can, to share love with the world.