If you still haven’t determined your love language(s) please see my previous post What is your primary language?
Those of us who respond to the love language Acts of Service as one of their primary languages, we love to serve others and not always ourselves. I for one sometimes need a bit of a push to do these things for myself, but in the end I’m happy I did. Some things take extra effort and many times a routine. If you haven’t yet, you should read my article on routines, Hello Routine, my old Friend. Those of you who are not Acts of Service people may not even understand that just the everyday things make us happy. We don’t always like doing the work but we love the result and feel cared for by having a clean home, a kept yard, meals stocked up, and the bills paid. To us this is security, this is love. I’m going to jump in with my favorite one.
Food Prep: Oh how I LOVE food prep. First let me say, if you can afford a chef, or one of those prepackaged meal programs, do it, you might enjoy it. Having a nutritious and satisfying diet is something we all should have as a foundation to eating period, let alone food prep. I have been loosely following the Trim Healthy Mama plan ( http://www.trimhealthymama.com ) the food is so good you forget how healthy it is.
Most people who prep, do it on a weekend or day off from work. We prepare food for all meals for the next week. This is setting a block of time aside to prepare the food for the week and eliminates the 30-90 minutes everyday on meal prep. In my opinion it saves time and dishes. Then you will have fantastic meals to eat for the week. I find that I can even do a little extra desert if I plan out my prep time well.
I have been known to prep for the week or month. I have also made 4 lasagnas or pans of enchiladas at a time so then when there is a night where I’ve had a long busy day, I can pop one in the oven. I have made crockpot kits when I can buy in bulk, I have found many delicious recipes on Pinterest. These are super handy to pop in the crockpot in the morning before running out the door. Then to return home after a long day to a home cooked meal.
Housework: If you can afford a cleaning person to come in regularly, there is nothing like coming home to a clean house that you didn’t have to clean. Having a clean home makes us feel cared for and loved. We don’t always want to do all the cleaning though. What really works for me is the Fly Lady approach to the house. Go to their website and check it out. http://www.flylady.org (it’s free). The basic idea is to do little bits each day and to create a routine for your home. There are weekly and monthly routines where certain rooms are handled each week of the month with daily tasks, but mostly it is about eliminating clutter. The idea is that if there is less stuff that you don’t use, need, or enjoy in your home to get rid of it. Less stuff, less to put away, and less to clean.
If you have kids who are able to help (Like 2 years old and up) get them involved. Blast some music with a good beat and go to town on that house. My four year old has to pick up his toys, you know what’s worse than stepping on a Lego? Army men! Those guys almost got high altitude dropped into the garbage. I’m a firm believer that kids should be taught how to do chores, it teaches them life skills and builds character.
Yard work: I’m going to tell you a secret, until recently I have never mowed my own lawn before. Until fourteen years ago, we always lived in an apartment. When we moved into our house, my husband or later our teenagers mowed the lawn. I was forever grateful to have a nicely kept lawn. Now I get to do it. After I mowed the lawn for the very first time I realized how much it is like housework. If you want to have a nice yard, you have to have a fly lady type approach. Get rid of all the yard junk, the broken swing set, the toys the kids never play with, that lawn statue that the neighbors and your wife hates. Less to edge around, less to move, and less to maneuver around. Lord knows how many hoses I’ve replaced over the years. But another aspect I noticed, not all of us can mow and edge in the same day without taking a lot of time or a lot of breaks. This will probably need to be on a routine as well to have the best results consistently.
Finances: There are so many ways to handle your finances now. Auto bill payments and direct deposits are fantastic. The automatic or scheduled monthly transfers to your savings account. The rounding up change deposits. Investing apps, budget apps, or even the envelope method, the list is endless for our finances. As acts of service people these services really make us feel cared for, by setting them up and letting it take care of itself. It isn’t that we are money hungry or lazy, at least not by nature, but we like to have our ducks in a row. Being able to streamline our banking, bill payments, savings, investing, and retirement, makes this self care technique so much easier in my opinion. Keep a look out for some of these amazing services from your financial institutions.
Philanthropy: This may seem odd to have a technique of serving others as a mode of self care. But for the Act of Service people it is. Let me tell you, I used to help out in a church kitchen on Wednesday night, we served over one hundred people weekly. Now we were there for hours cooking beforehand but to see all those happy faces come through the line, excited for what we had for them. That was so satisfying. Get involved, if anyone can change the world it’s those who love to serve.
There are so many places that could use a helping hand, check you local paper for organizations that could use your help. The local thrift stores sometimes accept volunteers, churches, schools, Community youth centers, women’s shelters, veteran shelters, Red Cross, Wounded Warrior, Habitat for Humanity. There are really so many places to give your time. But first look to your neighbors, is there someone who is struggling with a loved one in the hospital or the newly widowed lady who never leaves her home? Take them a meal, mow their lawn, even just go check in on them and offer an ear and a shoulder. You might be surprised at what a heart filling blessing not only would you be to them, but them to you.
Acts of service people are the doers and helpers, they seem to be always taking care of others. We have to remember that we also need to refill our cup as well. If you have found more techniques for Acts of Service Self Care, please share with us below. Have a Great day!!