To all the lovers of thoughtfulness and mental stimulation, this one’s for you.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s easy to get lost in the anxieties of gift giving for the one that we love. Gifting is a form of social exchange that strengthens emotional bonds between partners and activates the reward center of the brain; much like cuddling or eating something delicious! Science shows that not only is the receiver getting a dose of those happy brain chemicals, but the giver does too. Furthermore, studies suggest that the joyful afterglow of gift giving can last longer for the giver than the receiver. This means that after gifting, not only will your partner feel the love, but so will you!
Now, before you go out and over spend, remember that the most valuable things in life are not found in stores. Gifts included. Presents beyond materialistic items are meaningful because they demonstrate that you are attentive to the wants and needs of your partner in ways that go beyond tangible items. They also display a high level of effort, consideration and creativity that is unmatched by store bought gifts.
Now, need some meaningful gift guidance? We’ve got you covered.
Here are five thoughtful gift ideas inspired by Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages that will help express your love in a way your partner will never forget.
#1 Give a neck and shoulder massage.
Massages are proven to release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which will leave your partner feeling joyful and relaxed. Throughout the days of working on the computer and looking at our phone, an incredible amount of tension builds up in the neck and shoulder area especially. So help your partner shake off the work day and the demands of everyday life. Be their moment of peace and luxury. Skin to skin contact between partners is shown to release oxytocin, the love hormone, which reduces feelings of tension and strengthens the bond shared with our other. This gift is especially meaningful if your partner experiences love through physical touch. Set 10-15 minutes aside and create a warm, inviting and safe space to help foster a soothing experience.
Here is a link with some techniques to help you get started:
#2 Mail a “25 Reasons Why I Love You” note.
This is a classic your babe is sure to treasure. As we go about our usual days it can be difficult to say the right thing and express our affection eloquently. Use this as an opportunity to open up and truly convey your authentic feelings for them. This one is especially meaningful if your partner experiences love through words of affirmation or gifts.
This exercise will help you both practice vulnerability, share laughter and smiles, enhance your emotional connection, and have something you can carry along to reflect on your partner’s love for you.
Pen or pencil
Time and a willing heart
2 (1 for each person) small or pocket size notebook (I like the 3.5” x 5.5” ones. Amazon, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Ross usually has these)
In a pocket-size notebook, write 25 reasons why you love your partner using specific memories and experiences.
Ex. “I love you for telling me how much you admired my ambition last week before I left for the interview at the University.”
“I love you because you inspire me to embody peace by the way you respond to your supervisor when she pisses you off.”
Agree on a date and time you’ll have this completed and will exchange or mail your notebooks. This is the day you’ll get to read the amazing things your partner has to say about you.
Once you exchange, take 1 minute per day to reflect on one reason your partner loves you. Add it to your calendar, so you’ll remember if you have to.
Once you’ve engaged in reflection and gotten through all 25 reasons, share and discuss your experiences during this reflection period with one another, and CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE! This may require some brain work, but it’s all good. Keep reflecting. Your love and heart will appreciate it.
#3 Play and/or sing a song.
If you know how to play an instrument or have any musical inclination this can be an incredibly romantic gesture. And if you don’t, it can be as well (lol). Take time to learn your partners #1 most favorite song EVER and perform a private concert just for them! Go ahead and add a little dance to it, too :-). Dancing is another playful way to bond with your partner that has been proven to reduce stress, boost confidence and uplift your mood.
If you get stage fright, remember, this gift isn’t about how well you can play an instrument or sing, It’s about you stepping outside of your comfort zone and giving something heartfelt. If you are socially distanced from your partner, you can record a voice memo to send or give them a live zoom concert- whatever works best for you. Also, the delivery of this gift can be altered to fit many love languages! If the words of the song are romantic, this gift may speak to a partner who’s love language is words of affirmation. If you set aside a special time to share this gift, then it is excellent for a lover who enjoys quality time. If you decide to add that little dance, then love through physical touch can be expressed.
#4 Do their favorite chore.
Okay hear me out, this one definitely won’t be as fun for you, which is WHY it would mean so much to your sweetheart! Maybe your partner gets overwhelmed by grocery shopping, or perhaps they dislike cleaning their bathroom. Is there a chore or task that they have stressed over or expressed reluctance doing? We all have something. So take a moment to think, or even simply pay more attention to this specifically next time you talk to your other. Then, whatever it is, set aside time to do this task for them. If you know that your partner’s love language is acts of service, this will surely make their heart swell with gratitude.
#5 Plan a thoughtful date.
This one can be simple but very special. Plan some intentional quality time together. On this day, put your phones away or on “Do not disturb” and enjoy some uninterrupted, distraction-free time with the one you love. This is an opportunity to focus on truly being present with one another and engage in an activity that you KNOW your partner enjoys. Plan an activity, a meal, or maybe watch a movie you know they’ve been wanting to see. Here are a few questions to consider when planning:
Is there something your partner has mentioned they’d love to do together?
What are your partner’s hobbies and interests? How can you incorporate those things into your day together?
Are there any free virtual socially distanced events happening near you your partner would enjoy?
This day will be extremely meaningful if your partner’s love language is quality time ….. If you don’t yet know your love languages, feel free to take the Five Love Languages quiz linked below.
Remember, you don’t have to spend money to show your lover how much they mean to you. Gifts that take thought and effort can be more significant than something store-bought. Though if you want to purchase a gift for them, here are some gift ideas that they may love:
And if you’d like to strengthen your relationship and improve your connection with one another, know that Prackind is here to help you along the way. You may book your first couples session with us to learn how to use yogic techniques to enhance communication, trust, and intimacy between you and your partner, or one of our couple therapists here.
Have a wonderful year with the one you love!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. I’m a certified yoga teacher, blogger and social work intern and if you choose to engage in any of these activities, it’s your responsibility to practice safety and caution. These thoughts are for educational purposes based on the sense of closeness it may create between partners. If you’re experiencing or believe you are experiencing any form of abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1.800.799.7233.