Adapting your language of love during lockdown

We each express and experience love in different ways; this extends to romantic, platonic and interpersonal relationships. Dr Gary Chapman conceptualised this in his book, The 5 Languages of Love. He breaks down the love languages into five categories: Quality Time (spending time together attentively), Receiving Gifts (receiving thoughtful physical items), Acts of Service (helping with tasks), Words of Affirmation (acknowledgements, compliments) and Physical Touch (hugs, touches of reassurance).

Knowing your language of love and those of people closest to you can help nurture relationships during this time of isolation and vulnerability. If you don’t know what your language of love is you can take the quiz online to narrow down which ones are most relevant to you and those around you.

It’s not business as usual, so we need to be creative and adapt to how we express these love languages during this time.

Quality Time: We can’t physically be with all our loved ones during lockdown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spend quality time with them. Zoom dates work wonders, and there is no limit as to how you can use it to connect. Schedule time for sundowners or make dinner together – separately. You can even watch a movie together. Netflix offers a service called Netflix Party, which allows you to share a screen and watch together.

Receiving Gifts: With level 4 came the opening up of more businesses, so it is now easier to send gifts. Small tokens of appreciation go a long way. If you are fortunate to live close to family and friends, why not pop a letter in their post box, or leave a small gift at their gate. A friend recently shared with me how her parents dropped a box of old pictures with a handwritten note at her gate. This gesture meant so much to her, and it provided a wonderful opportunity to share childhood memories with her children.

Acts of Service: Try helping with a task you would not normally do, be it cooking, cleaning or mowing the lawn. Acts of service aren’t limited to those you are locked down with. During this time, many people have become involved in feeding schemes and initiatives to assist the poor. Show them that you care by dropping goods to contribute to food parcels, or if they live far away, consider donating to a charity that is important to them.

Words of Affirmation: Send messages to your family and friends. A simple “Hi, I am missing you,” or “I love you” can be very powerful. There are so many inspiring poems and videos doing the rounds on social media at the moment, forwarding these with a message saying “I saw this, and it made me think of you” makes people feel loved. Words are such a powerful tool when it comes to connection.

Physical Touch: Unfortunately, there is little we can do about physical touch during these times. While we can’t physically touch people, and it’s hard to read people’s expressions behind their masks, we still have words. Try and express what you would have said through a handshake or hug in words. As for the people you are in lockdown with, hug them often and much. They say hugging helps reduce stress, improve communication and generally make people happier.

Stay safe, stay connected, and stay in touch – we love hearing your stories and insights about life in lockdown and the various ways you are getting through it.

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