Romance isn’t the only way to experience love. The joy we feel when we do things we love is another way.
It’s not the hot-and-heavy passion you feel for another person, but it is passion nonetheless. Taking the time to do things that we love is important –not only for our short-term happiness but also for our mental and emotional well-being.
People who take the time to do the things I’m talking about here happen to feel more motivated, have better relationships, feel less stressed, and are happier than those who don’t.
So this Valentine’s Day, instead of avoiding the day because you don’t have a partner, make yourself a commitment to adding more love to your life in ways that are within your control.
Btw, February 14 happens to be my birthday so just think of me as Cupid and this as your reminder that love comes in many forms.
Have a hobby
Alexandra Levit, business consultant and author of How’d You Score That Gig? tells us that “hobbies are essential for healthy work and life integration.” Says Levit, “when you have something else important in your world, you will have fresh energy to devote to your career.”
Chances are you have a good idea about what type of hobbies you like, but if you don’t, check out inspirations at HobbyHelp or explore this Wikipedia list. As anyone who has one can tell you, the secret to finding a hobby you love is to pay attention to what you lose yourself in.
Here’s how my decorating hobby evolved, for example.
It was back when I had cable TV that I realized how much I truly enjoyed interior decorating. Sometimes, I would exclusively watch HGTV for months on end. I would re-watched many of the same episodes of Love It or List It and Property Brothers instead of change the channel.
The next thing I knew, I was regularly looking online for images of a designer’s reveal that I wanted to remember. Home Depot became a magical place that I would stop in for dish soap instead of going to the supermarket. I noticed that, sometimes, walking into Home Depot would give me the same high that I felt walking into Saks!!!
Soon, I was attending interior design shows and helping friends with their design projects. Now, they’re offering to compensate me so that all worked out.
For you, it could be cooking or some type of craft, but I bet there’s something you enjoy doing as much as I love decorating. Spend your money and time on it, and get more love into your life through your hobby.
People and pets
Our lives are more interesting when we have healthy social outlets. When we’re out there meeting new people, we build confidence and connections. We also gain new perspectives. We may even learn about new work opportunities we wouldn’t have known about, had we stayed in the office stuck behind a desk.
How does having more of a social life add more love to your life? Close relationships build supportive networks and increase our sense of belonging. That sense of belonging is an important human need and it is partly why we crave intimate relationships as much as we do. It’s more than the sex we’re after. For most people, it’s the companionship that they crave most.
Even if you have a great intimate relationship, you want friendships and other connections. When we don’t have meaningful connections outside of our relationships, we may be tempted to stay in bad situations longer than we should. Close friendships give us the support we need to make our intimate relationships healthier and better.
Also, consider pets. As any pet-owner will tell you, pets are a source of joy and a way to connect. They provide unconditional love which improves our well-being.
Make time for fun
If TV is your only source of entertainment, you could be missing out on major fun right in your backyard, especially if you live in or near a big city.
To make sure you enjoy more of your city, do this:
- Subscribe to TimeOut for your city.
- Sign up for concert alerts to learn when your favorite band is coming to town. Spotify and some music streaming services provide alerts for the artists you follow.
- Create a “Festival/Vacation” fund to save for big-ticket experiences.
- Hit up the comedy clubs in your area and get on their mailing list.
- Check Facebook events once a week.
- Find free entertainment happening at local museums and outdoor venues (like those that might host events like movie nights). Check your city’s website for links.
This collage shows some of my favorite everyday “treats.” They are simple, affordable, and easy for me to do when I need my version of self-care.
Mother Moo is a homemade ice cream shop that’s 10-minutes from me. Their 1,000+ Yelp fans and I agree that they really know how to make ice cream!! Two scoops of their corn flakes ice cream make the kid in me feel comforted when I’m in the dumps. The adult-me loves going to the nearby design district to browse fancy-schmancy interior design stores.
I also have a thing for international fashion magazines and with crushed ice and a sprig of mint, I make my favorite pressed juice into a drink to die for. A session at Just Float and giving myself a manicure are two self-care ideas I turn to all the time.
You and I need self-care. Whether you’re into massages and spa treatments or more self-service ideas, self-care should be a priority and something you do regularly.
TIP: Put together a list of five personalized self-care activities and treats that you can do regularly and when you need a pick-me-up.
Tend to your soul
The architect Frank Lloyd Wright said I believe in God, only I spell it Nature. Whether it affects you as profoundly as it does Wright, most of us feel a deep connection to nature. That’s because it something bigger than ourselves. That sense of connecting to something bigger than yourself is your soul (or some would say, your door to it) that you’ve tapped into.
You need to tap into it more often. Nurturing that part of you will help you experience a profound type of love and connection to others. This can make you feel less judgmental, and therefore, happier.
The maxim, or aphorism, “know thyself” has ancient Greek roots that translate to “know thy measure.” This is a profound self-knowledge concept that’s quite actionable and not as complicated as it sounds.
Here’s the simple way to go about it:
We make thousands of choices all day long. They vary from what to wear, which social media platform to log onto, what topics we shy away from, and the ones we can’t stay silent about. The person behind those choices is brave, and sometimes a coward. S/he is disciplined about some things and not about others.
What this means is that you have unique strengths and weaknesses. To add more love to your life, play to our strengths more. You will find that life is less of a struggle and feel more satisfied and fulfilled.