10 Ways to Make Everyone Feel Special
By M. Carolyn Miller
Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to reach out and show someone you care.
Physical acts of love, such as hugging your kids, breast-feeding a newborn, cuddling with your partner, or holding a friend, releases oxytocin in the body, according to PsychCentral, a mental health research organization.
Often called the “love hormone,” oxytocin decreases fear, worry and feelings of isolation. It also reduces stress, one of the primary culprits for skin issues.
To make the most of February’s theme of love, consider some of the ideas below.
Turn Family Dinners into “Love Fests”
Dinnertime is the perfect venue for having family conversations about the meaning of love. Everyone can offer something, even the young. And it’s easy to trigger such conversations.
Suggest a topic or ask a question. Then, be the first to respond to show others how to do it. By responding first, you also show others that it’s okay to be honest and a little vulnerable.
To get the conversation going:
- Read a quote and ask each person to comment on what it means to them
- Ask each member to share one act of love they observed, did, or would like to do
- Have each person to tell the person next to them what they appreciate about them
- Ask each person to share the best Valentine’s Day they ever had (or conversely, how they would like to spend Valentine’s Day and why).
Research the History of Valentine’s Day
Do your kids know the origin of Valentine’s Day? Do you? Use the month of February to learn about it as a family.
Depending on the ages of your children, ask them how they think Valentine’s Day originated. Then, as a family, do some research either online or at the library, and have a conversation about what they learn.
Love the Lonely
Not everyone has family or a loved one to share Valentine’s Day with. Make a list of those who don’t have a special someone, such as an elderly neighbor or a grandmother. Then, as a family, do some activities to make them feel special.
- Make homemade Valentine’s cards to send or deliver
- Make Valentine’s cookies to send or deliver
- On February 14, go “Valentine caroling,” and sing love songs
- Give the gift of time by visiting or inviting the person for tea and cookies
Make February a “Red Letter Month” in Your Household
Stress the “love month” of February throughout your home with music, decorations, and more. And don’t implement your ideas alone. In fact, half the fun will be involving the family. For instance, if your son is a music buff, put him in charge of the month’s music.
Create your own ideas or try one of these:
- Decorate the common areas in your home with hearts, red and white streamers, and heart-shaped balloons
- Make and serve heart-shaped food: pancakes, sandwiches, cookies and more
- Make it a rule that anyone who cooks must wear a red apron
- Play “songs of love” at dinner or in the car throughout the day
- Have a contest on February 14 for the best red outfit
Send Valentine’s Cards to Your Kids
February is the perfect month to tell your kids how much you love them. And nothing makes it more memorable than to put it in writing so kids can be reminded of it often.
Take some time after the kids have gone to bed to sit with your spouse and write Valentine’s cards to each of your kids. Tell them how much you love them or what you love especially about them.
You might also share a memory you have about them that shows off their unique qualities, such as their humor or kindness to others.
Make an “I Love You” Book with Your Kids
Grandparents, a favorite aunt or uncle, a family friend or teacher, may be the perfect recipient for an “I Love You” book from your family.
To do that, gather supplies and spend an afternoon creating the book with your kids.
Together, write messages and stories, affix photographs, draw pictures, and more. You might also consider having the book bound at a local print shop.
Supplies may include:
- A blank book
- Family photographs
- Colored markers, pens or pencils
- Drawing paper
- Tape or glue
- Any unique mementos of time spent together
Tuck “I Love You” Notes in Lunches
There is nothing like a surprise note or symbol of love to remind people how special you are to them, and lunches are perfect for that, be it for your kids or your partner.
Mementos of love can include:
- Heart-shaped candy or cookies
- Handwritten notes
- A favorite food
- An invitation to do something special after school or work
Valentine’s Day gifts are never about the actual gift, but the meaning behind them. In fact, the more homemade and heartfelt, the more valuable the gift is, regardless of who receives it.
For instance, you can give personal certificates such as:
- Car washes
- Cleaning a garage, room, or car
- Cooking a favorite dinner or desert
- A basket of wine, cheese and bread to share
- Time off from “kid duty” for a night
Sometimes, of course, due to time constraints, you can’t avoid store-bought gifts. If so, be sure the gifts you purchase pass the G.I.F.T. test.
In other words, does the gift create more Gratitude, Intimacy, Fondness and Trust between you?
Don’t Forget to Love Yourself
Taking time for oneself is not a selfish act. It is a form of self-love that enables you to give to others without resentment or exhaustion.
And there are a million ways to do that.
For instance, you can:
- Get a massage or scrub at your favorite day spa
- Treat yourself and a friend to a manicure and/or pedicure
- Go see a movie your spouse doesn’t want to see one afternoon midweek
- Take yourself out for a special coffee and afternoon of shopping
- Give yourself a home spa treatment such as a mask
- Indulge in one of your secret pleasures (and don’t tell anyone!)
Give Love to Strangers
Keep a bag of candy in your car. When you go into a store, surprise the clerk with a token of appreciation, be it a heart-shaped piece of candy or a valentine.
You can also give a more anonymous gift by complimenting at least one stranger every day. (And don’t be surprised if your “gift-giving” makes you feel like the one who has received the gift!)
As the song goes, “If you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own.”
Want to learn more about how to live a life more beautifully? Comment below and let us know what you’re interested in discussing!
About the Author:
M. Carolyn Miller is a freelance writer who specializes in thought leadership blogs, feature articles, and more. Check out her website at www.cultureshape.com.
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