Sometimes you have to serve yourself first
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A few weeks ago, a meme on Instagram stopped my scroll in its tracks. It was about the five love languages, but with a twist.
(You know the five love languages, right? They’re the different ways people understand and express love, and are as follows: words of affirmation; quality time; receiving gifts; acts of service; and physical touch. You can read more about it, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.)
My love language is acts of service, which is possibly the least glamorous of the five. The way to my heart is through tedious tasks - washing the dishes, walking the dog, and taking care of the small but necessary things that can easily consume a person’s day. And it’s not because I’m lazy! It’s because I value a tidy, organized existence but, like most people, don’t have nearly enough hours in the day. When someone runs an errand for me, picks up the slack, or otherwise eases the burden of living, I have more time to focus on my 1,738,964 projects, without sacrificing my quality of life. (Shout out to my husband who does not subscribe to my newsletter, but DOES change my oil.)
Now, back to that meme. The thesis* was that love languages are not limited to outward relationships. They also shed light on how we can best love and care for ourselves.
If you are a human in or around your 30s, you can’t visit the internet for more than five minutes without hearing about self care. And while I always saw the value in this idea, most of the recommendations accompanying it didn't appeal to me. I don’t like spending money, so retail therapy is out. I'm known for chipping my manicure when it's mere hours old, and bubble baths are just plain gross (don’t @ me). Maybe, I thought, self care isn't for me.
Or MAYBE all those tips were speaking the wrong language. Maybe my version of self care, as someone who expresses and accepts love through acts of service, simply looks different.
I like to joke that a lot of what I do on a daily basis is not for my benefit, but for Future Chrissy's. Things like taking five minutes every morning to update and review my budget. Dutifully completing my nightly five-step skin care routine. Prepping the coffee and programming it to brew before I go to bed. Covering every surface of my home in houseplants, and making a spreadsheet of their specific light and water requirements so they can live their best plant lives. Future Chrissy appreciates every one of these things, because they make her life easier. They show she cares.
So the next time I skip a spa day in favor of making mason jar salads, trust that I'm swooning on the inside. I'm taking care of myself, the best way I know how.
* Yes, a meme can have a thesis. Welcome to 2019.
How a Recipe Goes Viral on Instagram, Vox. "These viral recipes aren’t just making a splash because they look beautiful and get likes on Instagram — they’re representative of a broader shift toward the Instagram generation spending more time cooking at home." YES and also YUM.
Emoji Don't Mean What They Used To, The Atlantic. "[E]moji are transforming into a large catalog of fixed portraits, rather than a smaller set of flexible ideograms. That shift doesn’t just add to emoji; it also changes how they work." 😭🔥❤️
13 Reasons We Type in Lowercase, The Cut. "You can wear lowercase like a costume. It can be evil, it can be gentle. It can be light, it can be dark." Even typing contains a second, secret language, and I am here for it.
Snack of the Week
Last year I realized my diet was roughly 90% carbs, and made an effort to eat more protein. This turned out to be an excellent decision for many reasons, not least of which was the discovery of new snacks like these chocolate protein balls. I found them at Trader Joe's (duh) and now I always have a pouch in my back pocket, especially on those nights when I hit the YMCA after work.
A Tiny Challenge
Many of us spent the last week celebrating female friendships and romantic relationships (also known as eating cheese and drinking wine). This week, take a moment to show yourself a little love in the language that means the most to you. If you need help figuring out what that looks like, hit reply and I’ll send you some ideas. Consider it an act of service.
Until next week! 💌
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