Christmas is almost here: a time that can take a toll on many peoples’ health.
As pharmacy workers we often find ourselves in a position helping people navigate their relationships among partners, friends and work colleagues.
Having strong positive relationships is a foundation of good mental health.
Sometimes relationships can get strained due to events such as Christmas and to differences in how we express ourselves to each other.
Back in 1992, Dr Gary Chapman wrote The 5 Love Languages where he explained the different ways we express and receive love.
- Quality Time: spending time together where people can talk and bond.
- Physical Touch: showing love through hugging, cuddling, being intimate or a platonic touch on the shoulder
- Gifts: love is expressed through gift giving, whether a small note, a bunch of flowers or a piece of cake.
- Acts of Service: an action is performed for another person such as cleaning, cooking or fixing the car.
- Words of Affirmation: love is expressed via words in the form of compliments or expressions of love and caring.
During the Christmas season a lot of anxiety is experienced as we all race around trying to find the perfect gift, finalise projects and try to finish everything before December 25.
During this time, disharmony can occur around our relationships.
Now is a good time to understand our own love language and that of people close to us.
A husband who fixes his wife’s car but never says I love you or gives flowers is still expressing his love.
A friend giving you a small gift every time they see you, yet never makes a phone call is expressing their love and fondness for their friendship.
A work colleague who says you did a great job but hates being too close to you is still expressing their love and fondness for your working relationship.
The different forms of love can be complex.
We have different preferences for receiving and giving love that resonate with our inner being.
By understanding each other’s love language, we will see these different expressions of love as positive affirmations and improve our own mental health and personal relationships.