Show that you care

With Valentine’s around the corner, you may see this event as a marketing hype or an opportunity to show that you care, either way how we perceive if someone cares about us can differ.

Showing that you care often falls into five categories, none better than the others as it is all in the eyes of the recipient as to what meets their needs.

Quality time – spending time with those you care about

Physical Touch – cuddling, intimacy, hugs

Positive Affirmations – praise, encouragement, kind words

Acts of Service – practical things like cooking you a meal after you’ve had a hard day, washing up, breakfast in bed

Gifts – flowers, perfume, aftershave, jewellery, clothing

We like all the above but there does tend to be a preference. Our preferences can be based on conditioning – how we were raised, what is the ‘norm’ for us. For example, a Father may not feel comfortable telling his daughter ‘I love you’ if he was raised in an environment where this just wasn’t done but may feel comfortable buying a gift to represent showing that he cares. Or it can be something that we naturally prefer.

Circumstances can also influence our preferences. A busy parent of small children may need acts of service more than physical touch. A busy career person may also have similar needs, a nice meal cooked for them after a long day rather than gifts or positive affirmations.

We all like positive affirmations, those who are self-validating need it less than those who seek others approval. Recognising someone’s positive actions will bring more of those actions and the opposite is also true – if you only notice what they do wrong then they’ll stop trying.

The key is to match the other persons preferred form of showing that we care. We often make the mistake of giving our preferred form of showing that we care rather than considering what the other persons preferred form is.

This can result in the recipient not expressing their delight in a way that we would have expected had we received what was given.

It’s not that they are not grateful, it may be that it is not their preferred way. Often it will be obvious, if you’ve bought some flowers and they are delighted but don’t bat an eyelid if you’ve cleaned the entire house then you can be pretty sure that gifts are a better way to show that you care than an act of service.

If you are unsure then ask….

How can I show you that I care?

For me, I’d rather go on a family holiday to a destination that I know everyone will enjoy rather than go somewhere I want to go where I know others won’t enjoy it as much. For me quality time is far more important than gifts, but when I’m very busy at work then an act of service is a godsend and shows me that my predicament has been noted and that they care enough to show me.

5 Steps to Self-care

It’s important to show compassion and kindness for others, but how often do we treat ourselves with that same level of compassion or kindness? That inner voice will probably be the most important voice you will ever hear and it needs to be nice!

For some people, adding self-care into a daily regimen can seem inconvenient, or time consuming. You may say “I don’t have time for that,” or “I have too many other things to do.” But repeatedly putting the needs of others before our own can lead to a lack of “me time,” which can, in turn, create stress and resentment and prevent us from being our best selves.

Research has shown that adding self-care into one’s daily routine reduces stress, decreases the chance of mental and physical ailment, increases productivity, and inspires feelings of happiness. By giving ourselves a daily dose of compassion and kindness, we’re able to approach our work and relationships with a clear, happy mind, thus allowing the cycle of positivity to continue.

But how do you do that when it feels alien to do so? Where do you start?

Here are a few steps to help you on your way, and remember, like any new skill it takes regular practice to create a new habit.

Step 1: Understand what self-care is. 
If you don’t understand what self-care is, then there’s no way for you to develop a new habit. Self-care is any activity that is done with the sole intention to take care of our own mental, emotional and physical health. Self-care is a way of giving back to ourselves in the form of doing activities that fuel us and that are just for us and not for anybody else.

Step 2: Assess what your self-care already is. 
Now it’s time to evaluate your self-care at the current moment, you can use my Coaching Wheel to assist you attached below. Create a self-care assessment to highlight the positive things that you are already doing for yourself, along with any areas where you may be lacking. Start by choosing two of the eight dimensions of wellbeing then as you become more competent you can look further into these: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual.

Step 3: Find where you could do better and create a self-care plan.
After evaluating your current self-care, did you notice any aspects where you could do better? Maybe you are doing great when it comes to your occupational wellbeing — your career is great, and maybe your financial e.g. paying your bills on time, etc. — but you seem to be forgoing your physical wellbeing.

Create your self-care plan by setting goals to improve in these areas.

“Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely that we can accomplish.

Step 4: Hold yourself accountable to these goals. 
Once you’ve set your plan in motion, the next step is to hold yourself accountable by measuring your success. For example: You can buy a physical calendar and give yourself a gold star every night you manage to sleep seven hours or set yourself a goal to meditate/exercise for a set duration per day/week.

Then, pick a date in the future and say, “I’m going to sleep seven hours a day until X date.” Try it out for 7 days, 30 days, 60 days, or whatever you think is achievable for yourself.

Step 5: Decide a follow up date at a future point and stick to it.
When that date arrives, it’s time to revisit your goal. This is the most important step in your self-care plan because this is where you can see whether you have achieved what you set out to do, or if you need to make some adjustments. It’s a time for reflection.



Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” If your goal of sleeping seven hours each night has become a habit, you can set a new plan in place to reach a different goal.

Maybe you saw a need for improvement in your social wellbeing dimension when you took your self-care assessment, and you want to now focus on setting up a coffee date with a friend every week.

“The idea is that your self-care plan is always evolving, it’s ever changing, and sometimes we try a self-care plan and it doesn’t work for us — and that’s OK — but we find something else that does. If your plan hasn’t gone accordingly then ask what has got in the way and make the necessary adjustments. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Click here for the Coaching Wheel