GUEST BLOGGER: DR. MAREN WRIGHT VOSS
As the economy tightens, so many of us are having to do more with less. Special days like graduation and Mother’s Day roll around and deserve special attention, but with fewer dollars to devote. It can be a challenge to find a way to pamper ourselves, our moms, or other important people in our lives in a way that still expresses our care when money, time, and access are tight. One way to make that happen is to make sure to focus on the things that matter. But how?
It starts with finding out what matters to the person you want to pamper. Have you heard of love languages? It’s the idea that based on our personality, we all feel appreciated in different ways. Some people like to hear a “good job” expression of approval. But others won’t care about the words at all, and will need a token, sign, or gift bestowed on them to believe your sincerity.
That means if we want to pamper with efficiency, we should first find out what most matters to the person we care for. I pretty much hate words of affirmation—they make me feel awkward and uncomfortable. So as far as pampering goes, I’m likely to throw that perfectly hand-picked $4.00 Hallmark card with the thoughtful hand-written note into the trash before reading it. But buy me a $4.00 hot chocolate when we are out together, and the feelings of love will diffuse through me with every ounce of warmth in the liquid chocolate.
When times are tight, we want every ounce of pampering effort to hit the mark. Here is a list of the five love languages, a key to identifying which one is a good fit, followed by a few low-cost ways to offer targeted pampering for each.
Words of Affirmation (thank you’s, stating positive traits, offering compliments): You’ll know if this is important to your cared for person if they save cards, write little notes to others, or are likely to tear up or give you a hug when they are thanked.
Words of Affirmation Low-Cost Pampering Ideas:
Acts of Service (helping out, particularly when it isn’t convenient): This is almost the opposite love-style of words of affirmation, and is often the domain of the person who thinks “I tell you day in and day out that I love you by taking the garbage out or folding your laundry, why do I have to say it?”
Acts of Service Low-Cost Pampering Ideas:
Receiving Gifts (flowers, event tickets, and tokens big or small): It could be a clue that gifts are the preferred love language for a person who spends months planning and buying Christmas gifts or someone who agonizes over just the right present.
Receiving Gifts Low-Cost Pampering Ideas:
Quality Time (either doing shared activities or just hanging out): You’ll notice this preference for companionship in things like shopping, outings, vacations, and mealtimes.
Quality Time Low-Cost Pampering Ideas:
Physical Touch (hugs, hand holding, and everything else): It’s not hard to spot this preferred love language, as the hugger comes out in most people. But there are some who can keep this preference hidden and need some outreach and extra acknowledgment.
Physical Touch Low-Cost Pampering Ideas:
This month of appreciation, take time to reflect, think of your object of pampering, and do what matters most to them. You might even call and ask about their best-of moments of appreciation. Then choose wisely to offer pampered appreciation that keeps you on budget while winning hearts.
Maren is an occupational scientist—which means studying flow and engagement in everyday activity. Her engagement includes hiking, vacationing on a dime, yoga and family time.
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