The Perfect Password: 5 Easy Tips

A combination padlock sitting on a PC keyboard

This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been a stellar one. The theme of the event’s final week is “Cybersecurity First,” which asks us how we can prioritize our organizations’ security and what that would look like across various industries. The biggest takeaway from Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been how we can protect our data—and our clients’ data—more efficiently. The best way you can put cybersecurity first is by developing strong passwords and better security habits. Your passwords are your first and best defense against threat actors. Here are some tips to up your game that you can implement today!

1) Status: It is Complicated

Think of your favorite heist movie. For this piece, we are thinking of The Italian Job. In it, Charlize Theron plays the team’s safecracker. She used several tools and skills to guess the combination to the safe, switching and turning the dial until she found the right sequence of numbers to get inside. Our passwords are like the combination on a safe. The more complicated the combination, the longer it will take Charlize Theron to get in, or in this case, a threat actor. Check out the chart below.

A chart displaying password cracking times based on password strength and characteristics
It looks like a lot, but we are here to break it all down for you!

A simple password may be easy to remember, but it also shortens the time it takes to guess the right “combination.” If you can use more than just numbers, such as varying letter cases and characters, it will take longer for threat actors to crack the code. So, that is your first tip: keep it complicated, not simple.

2) Case by Case

If you find it hard to keep track of numbers for your passwords, consider using upper- and lowercase letters. This is not a foolproof plan, but it can make the threat actors’ efforts more challenging. Regardless, you should update your passwords regularly. Just a heads up: relying on upper- and lowercase letters alone may require you to do so more often.Hand opening an office or home safe, by operating the locking dial. Shallow depth of field.

3) The Numbers Do Not Lie

If you have started adding upper- and lowercase letters to your passwords, rethink how you can use numbers, too. Try to avoid any numbers that are important to you, like adding your birthday or an anniversary at the end of your password.

4) A Character’s Good Reputation

Now that you have a few security boosters in your passwords, consider using more characters, such as @, #, $, %, !, and more. They are all waiting at the top of your keyboard to add an extra layer of defense to your passwords. Special characters are powerhouses when it comes to building strong passwords.

Man opens safe depository of valuables and money in his home. Keep the money in the safe at home. Safe, hand close-up5) Phrasing!

Finally, bring all these strategies together. You can use any combination of letter cases, numbers, and special characters to spell out one word, or you can get really creative and create a “passphrase.” A passphrase is a short sentence comprised of all the elements covered above. Phrases such as [email protected] or j0G1m!le are examples of passphrases. They can be reminders, goals, or items from your to-do list. While passphrases stand above the rest, make sure they are not too obvious or relevant to your personal life, such as specific hobbies, favorite movies, or loved ones.

You Have Cracked the Password Code!

By creating strong passwords, you are going the extra mile to put cybersecurity best practices first. The more complicated the better—just make sure you leave no physical reminders behind, and that you update your passwords regularly. Multi-factor authentication (or MFA) is another excellent feature you can apply to your devices. When you start implementing safe and modern password best practices into your day-to-day life, you protect your organization, your data, and yourself!

You can learn more about cybersecurity practices and management by checking out our own Cybersecurity Security Awareness Program! 

Countdown to Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 4 Easy Ways to Do Your Part!

White padlock graphic on a smartphone's purple background face up on a yellow surface

In a few weeks, we’ll be saying “goodbye” to September and “hello” to October. The green leaves will start to change red, yellow, orange, and brown. The air will become brisk and cool, perfect for boots and sweaters ready to leap out of storage. October can also be a spooky time of year, full of ghouls, ghosts, and critters going bump in the night. Strangely, these creatures can be heard calling for treats or threatening you with tricks if you don’t comply! Best to have full-size Snickers bars on hand, just to be on the safe side.

It’s also important to stay on the safe side in our professional lives. While fending off tricks with or demanding tasty treats may not seem like cybersecurity, the idea has some merit. We can use different safeguards and tools to ward off “tricks” that any number of cyber threat actors might employ.

While you gear up for the spookiest time of year, allow us to add another event to your calendar.
CISA emblem; white eagle on blue background with blue shield that says CISA (cybersecurity & infrastructure security agency)

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and celebrating its 18th anniversary this year! The National Cyber Security Alliance and the US Department of Homeland Security launched Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October 2004 to help Americans learn safer habits and better safeguards online, but it has spread on an international level since then.

In its first year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month encouraged us to update our antivirus software regularly, but these days it has become so much more than that. Each Cybersecurity Awareness Month boasts multiple themes, such as security education, cybercrime, law enforcement, mobility, and critical infrastructure, with a focus on cybersecurity strategies for small and medium-sized business.

This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme is “Do Your Part.” Here are just a few ways you can get ready for Cybersecurity Awareness Month and celebrate all month long:

 

  • The first thing you can do is head over to https://www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month for more information on the event and its themes. Whether you’re a veteran of Cybersecurity Awareness Month or this is your first year checking out the program, there are tons of resources and events at your disposal, including weekly themes, keynote speakers,Padlock resting on a keyboard encircled by blue, red, and green graphics
  • You can plan an event of your own, like setting up a newsletter or weekly email that
    explores each weekly theme. Use these themes as launching points for awareness during team meetings. There are many ways you and your company can get motivated and involved, so choose what works best for you. online events, and more.
  • Take this time to check in with your IT department about safeguards and measures in your own company. Whether or not you’re participating in this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the event is a great reminder to make sure you know what’s going with your data and your clients’ data.
  • Finally, follow us! We’ll be actively participating this month, posting lots of great content on our social media, including webinars, blogs, and more. So if you haven’t yet, check out our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Sometimes, folks like having workout partners when they’re getting in shape, so think of us as your cybersecurity workout buddies.

 

A partially opened laptop, turned on, with a blue glow on the keyboardCybersecurity is more important than ever.

While many of us saw COVID as a chance to rally and grow in the face of the pandemic, threat actors saw it as an opportunity to exploit new vulnerabilities. As most of us went remote and lived online more than ever, the number of attacks and attempts to access our data skyrocketed. Cybercriminals may have some tricks up their sleeves, but Cybersecurity Awareness Month is here with plenty of treats to keep you, your company, and your clients safe.

5 Helpful Tips to Protect Data When You Travel

Someone sitting on a van camper at night, looking at the sky

An open suitcase filled with items and clothes for a beach vacationLet’s face it, it’s been a long road. At this time last year, we were in the middle of a massive nationwide lockdown. No more breakroom chats, no more trips to Disneyworld, and family or friendly get-togethers? Forget about it. That’s one reason we developed our mindfulness series—you’ve been through a lot, and you deserve time and space to process it.

But now that the world is literally opening back up, we know that while you may be settling back into a new groove with work, you’re probably also craving new kinds of time and space, like a sandy beach, or maybe a misty mountain, or perhaps even a bustling city you always dreamed of exploring. We certainly support any and every wish list becoming a checklist for your new adventures, but we want to take a minute to add one more crucial item to that list you simply can’t leave home without: data security.

According to experts, holidays and long weekends are prime times for threat actors to execute all kinds of malware attacks—everything from ransomware to social engineering, phishing, and beyond. That’s because long weekends and holidays give hackers more time to corrupt files and devices before anyone can respond, or even notice. So the same principles we teach in our Cybersecurity Awareness Program should extend beyond the office, because regardless of your role or organization, the data you deal with is at risk.

Here are some tips to help keep your personal and professional data safe as your remote workspace becomes your remote paradise.

#1 “Yes, We Are Open!”

A distant view of the Eiffel Tower, tourists and citizens scattered around a square

First, you need to be aware of just how “open” your destination is. Nationwide and worldwide, travel destinations are in different stages of opening their borders and businesses, and offer different levels of accessibility. However, global and domestic data privacy regulations are never out of business, so be sure you’re prepared for the adventure you booked.

#2 “Password Protected”

Be sure your mobile devices are safe and secure. Disable lock screen notifications and enable multi-factor authentication so that you—and only you!—have access to your data. You can also apply these authentication measures to your more sensitive accounts, like banking and travel booking websites. If you must bring work on the road, consider asking your organization to provide a loaner device for travel, especially if you’re concerned about data security. Don’t leave home without outfitting your devices with remote-wipe features. That way, if you do bring your personal device, you’ll have a backup plan in case it’s stolen or compromised.

A group of three overlooking a tropical beach view after a long hike#3 “You Are an Island”

It may take a few extra steps, but bringing backup power supplies for your batteries and devices means you can depend on yourself, not your surroundings, to keep your devices going. This also means your belongings are always close to you, instead of plugged into a wall at the airport or the quirky coffee shop you found. If you don’t have backup power supplies, research where you’re going and find secure spots along the way. Make sure all your devices are charged before you leave and only use them when necessary. Don’t connect your devices to other unknown devices, such as that free USB drive you picked up at the airport kiosk—this is an easy way for threat actors to send malware with you. You can plan your trip right down to the souvenirs you’re bringing back, but there are still plenty of unknowns out there. Give yourself peace of mind you can rely on, such as your awesome foresight and security prep!

#4 “The Public Eye”

A square in Portugal being explored by visitors and citizens

While you’re traveling, you may be tempted to visit the business center of your hotel to check your emails or log in to the Wi-Fi connection at the bookstore you found. Most of these connections are generally secure, but keep your eyes peeled for the word “public” when it comes to Wi-Fi channels. A public connection is always a security red flag, because everyone can access it, which means the wrong person in the business center at the right time could really sabotage your trip. Try to avoid these kinds of connections altogether or take the necessary steps and use extreme caution if you decide to use them.

#5 “Home Sweet Home”

Traveling is great, but it also can be a rush to come home. You want to share your adventures and relive the journey you just experienced. Naturally, you want to get online and start posting pics, see friends and start telling your tales from the road, and deliver souvenirs to their new homes. But wait—now that you’re home, take a few minutes toA woman sits on a picnic blanket overlooking a sunset change those PINs and passwords. Even if you took good care of your data and devices while you were away, there’s a chance someone picked up your login information. It never hurts to give yourself that extra layer of protection.

The world is open and ready to explore! Just make sure no one else decides to explore your accounts, data, or other sensitive information. Like we said: you deserve this time and space, so use it as a launching pad for a day at the beach, not a data breach!

5 Meaningful Moments to Create Mindfulness

A mindfulness checklist

A young woman sits back from her computer, arms folded behind her head, satisfied in her present moment.

As the mindfulness miniseries keeps winding down the road to wellness, let’s pause to ask one simple question: what are we learning? It’s incredible how small changes today can lead to big transformations tomorrow, but we can get deep into our heads when we’re faced with self-improvement or self-care.  Being honest about what we need is very different from the effortless way we take care of people around us, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

One major challenge is that we tend to take on everything at once. We binge, we marathon, and we get it done! So when you find out what you need, it can be tempting to roll up your sleeves and take a flying leap into the thick of it all. But it’s important to build a base, so let’s talk about grounding. Not mental grounding, more like something you can see every day: grounding wires.

Why are literal grounding wires so important? Well, they can protect you, your appliances, and your home from surges of electricity caused by lightning strikes or power surges. While it can be tempting to tackle all our challenges in one go, if we neglect our metaphorical grounding wires, there’s a chance a surprise lightning strike or an unprecedented power surge could ruin all that work and even hurt! Here are five quick and easy things you can do today to help you cultivate your metaphorical grounding wires.

A female figure sitting on a swing, watching a sunset

Ask: “What do I need right now?”

Goals are an excellent way to have something to work toward, but we also need to listen to what our minds and bodies need along the way. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated, take a second to ask one simple question: What do I need right now? What you need right now could be a nap, a walk, some time with friends (or some time away from them). This has nothing to do with being productive. It has everything to do with you and can help you avoid burnout.

Feel what you feel.

You asked yourself what you need, but this one is about how you feel. Are you frustrated by a setback? Feel it. Are you excited by some good news? Feel it! It’s OK to feel everything you’re feeling, no matter what it is. When you give yourself room to feel, you can answer the question up there at #1 more easily, and give yourself space to figure out your next step.

An athletic woman standing in a mirror, lifting dumbells.

Celebrate all the small things.

It can’t be all work and no play. Recognize your milestones along the way and celebrate them! Treat yourself to something nice, like a night with friends or family, a date night with yourself and/or your partner, or even a day under the blanket with a furry friend and a whole lot of Netflix. Our work will always be there, so try and treat yourself along the way!

Move it!

If you’re feeling froggy, hop to some exercise. Whether you’re going low impact with walking, swimming, or hiking or high impact by hitting the weights or the bag or dusting off those running shoes, get on up! Even taking a few minutes to dance to your favorite song can have a lasting impact throughout the day. When we move our bodies, our brains release lots of good stuff like serotonin and dopamine. It’s not just a state of mind, it’s science!

An open journal on a table with some coffee

(Re)design your narrative.

Have you ever made a mistake and called yourself “stupid” or chided yourself because you “should have known better”? If you have, it’s nothing to be ashamed of (see #2), but our narratives shape our days from moment to moment. How we talk to ourselves in times of loss or triumph is more powerful than you realize. In fact, it’s a whole neural situation that can quite literally rewire our brains. If we see ourselves as “stupid” we’re less likely to seek out what we need and more likely to miss opportunities for growth or even happiness. If you’re calling yourself names or putting yourself down, it may be time to start shifting that narrative so you don’t shut down yourself or your feelings. That mistake you “should have known better” about can instead become a moment of self-care: “I’ll try again later,” “It’s OK to make mistakes,” or “I’ll see what I can do next time.”

Each of these choices takes minutes, but over time, those minutes add up. They can build into something greater, something more exciting. We can shape our worlds—the mornings that greet us and the evenings that leave us. It takes time. And just because we commit to these mindful practices doesn’t mean bad things just stop or that we’ll feel better overnight. We’re buying ourselves more time and giving ourselves more tools for when lightning strikes.

The Absolute Certainty of Uncertainty

Leaves blossoming from a lightbulb against beams of wood
A woman with red hair sits sadly between two masculine head statues
Because so much really has changed.

To say we have all been through a lot would be the understatement of the year. The COVID-19 pandemic tested our resolve, compassion, and nerves. We were all affected in different ways, but one thing we all share is the formative impression the pandemic has left—and continues to leave—on all of us. All around the world, some countries are “finished” with COVID, but COVID is not finished with them. Meanwhile, in our own country, different states are in multiple phases of lifting quarantines or adjusting protocols. As we transition to the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do we handle life after trauma? How do we handle how much has changed, even if we feel like we are transitioning to a place where we want to say: “It’s over”?

Last year we experienced an ever-changing flood of information and had to adjust and correct for every surprise or turn the virus took. Our country and states had to adapt on the fly to keep public safety and integrity intact. While these decisions were made with our well-being in mind, the effects were just as mutable as our microscopic foe. Our normalcy became unfamiliar; our work, home, and personal lives changed. The tapestry of everything we knew was restitched with such alacrity that we all felt whiplash as we faced down ever-growing uncertainty.

A feminine, broken statue's face is in an overgrowth of plants, leaves, and flowers
What you went through is valid.

In our post discussing stress management, we noted how some factors are outside of our control, but we can alter our position in that kind of uncertainty by expressing ourselves and acknowledging how we feel. This may seem simple, but how many times over the last year have you told yourself things like, “Others have it worse than me,” “I should toughen up,” or “I shouldn’t be feeling [insert totally valid emotion you are feeling but dismissing here].”?

Believe it or not, our personal narratives shape how we weather our uncertainties. Our bodies affect our minds and our minds affect our bodies. When you dismiss yourself, you dismiss your experience, and what you went through this last year is nothing to be dismissed.

A feminine head sculpture masks someone at a white table, a red flower grows from the sculpture's braided hairline
Stages of growth will be different for all of us.

While we should not diminish ourselves, we also need to understand and practice compassion for the world around us, and that can be a delicate, bold act. The delicacy comes from how we relate to experiences that run parallel to our own, and the boldness comes from the patience we choose over impatience when we are faced with experiences that run counter our own. The spectrum of reaction and survival throughout this pandemic is vast and complex. As we explored in our previous posts, there will be times when you will need to breathe or step away and both are acceptable. Rushing yourself or others to keep pace with recovery standards, internal or external, ignores all the work and hardship you faced. Everyone you meet, including the person you see in the mirror, will be in a different stage of dealing with the trauma of total life upheaval and uncertainty.

But in a new chapter of uncertainty, one thing is certain—there is another side to all of this. Your work, compassion, resiliency, and patience are part of a brilliant endgame. This does not just apply to COVID and readjusting to reopening, it can also apply to a breakup, a loss, or an injury. The road is long and challenging, but accepting that your position and experience on this road are valid is a step in the right direction. Even if everything around you is uncertainty, there is certainty in the fact that you keep going. That matters, you matter, and what you say to yourself and to others during this time matters as well. There is nothing uncertain about that.

Stress Management and the Important Roles Your Standards Play

Someone with an open laptop in an armchair in the middle of a clock painted on the floor

Stressed young woman at her laptop, biting her pencil

Last month we took a stroll down a path to mindfulness. What better way to follow up mindful practice than with stress management? When you feel stressed, it can actually be a good thing. Your brain is wired with an alarm system that sends signals to your body when it perceives a threat. Hormones are released that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure, priming you for “fight or flight”. Your body returns to normal once the perceived threat is gone. So even though stress is incredibly frustrating, it’s also your body’s way of letting you know everything is working as intended.

Unfortunately, we don’t just experience one stressful thing a day. We may experience multiple events, sometimes hourly. Relationships, jobs, home maintenance, even passion projects can layer us with stress. This means that the alarm system runs the risk of never really shutting off, which over time can damage our health and impact our quality of life. That’s where stress management comes in. As our world keeps changing and evolving, it’s important to set yourself up with tools that can help your mind and body adapt with these changes. But where do you start?

Hands with painted nails holding a motivating journal and pen
Tip: Keep a journal! Track what made you stressed and how you felt, responded, and recovered.

The “4 A’s” are classic stress management tools—avoid, alter, adapt, and accept. It is so important to nourish our standards and boundaries as we start exploring management. That’s where these “4 A’s” can help!

  • Avoiding is not about running away from what stresses us, but being aware of our own boundaries, such as learning when to say “no” or paring down our to-do lists. If we can’t avoid stress, we can at least alter how we operate within that stress.
  • Altering your situation can mean expressing our feelings instead of bottling everything up, or communicating and practicing compromise within the situation.
  • Sometimes we need to adapt to our stressors by recognizing the bigger picture surrounding the moment, gaining new perspectives, and adjusting our standards.
  • The trickiest one is accepting that there are some stressors outside our control. By railing against what we can’t change, we create even more stress than what’s actually happening. It helps to share our feelings where and when we feel safest.
A young man in a blue scarf dancing in front of blue warehouse doors
Tip: Pay attention to your body and feelings while you’re moving!

If all else fails? Get moving! The same way your body releases hormones in tense situations, your body also releases feel-good endorphins when you get your blood pumping. There are tons of benefits from regular exercise, even if it’s for just a few minutes. Over time, you can build more exercise into your daily routine, but it’s fine to start small and work up from there. Taking time to turn on your favorite song for a dance or finding a few moments to stretch your legs with a walk can have amazing daily benefits.

Listening to what our minds and our bodies need can have major benefits when we need to tackle stress. No matter what we decide to do, we need to make sure it’s something we enjoy. We’re more likely to stick with a daily routine if we’re enjoying ourselves when we’re doing it. Identifying our “A’s” and cataloging how we encounter and handle stress can help us navigate unexpected curveballs. We need to try and remember to be patient with ourselves and the process of stress management. We can’t control or change every situation, but we can change how we operate given elements we can’t control. Our bodies are constantly talking to us, so take a moment today—perhaps after a good dance—to hear what yours is saying.

 

Alterity offers training in mindfulness and stress management. Act today for peace of mind tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning and the Awesome Art of Mindfulness

Cup of tea and a pen on a napkin with blue text "mind full or mindful?"

 

 

 

A collection of clutter against a blank wall on a hardwood floor
What do you need and what can you stand to lose?

Spring has sprung, or so the saying goes when it comes to budding branches, flourishing flowers, and the familiar tickle of allergies in the air. The sun is out a little longer and the birds are singing a little louder. Everything is starting fresh, so it’s no wonder we like to revamp our living spaces with some good oldfashioned “spring cleaning. Fun fact: “spring cleaning” traces its origins far back in Chinese, Iranian, and Jewish traditions, but today it’s a worldwide affair. There is something intrinsically satisfying about a clean home. All the sunny windows are clear, the faint scent of lavender or lemon is in the air, and you can see your home in a new light. Maybe it’s not the same as when you moved in, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?  

When we settle into our new home, wstart with a space with a roof, a floor, and some walls, and we decorate it, furnish it, paint it, and make it our own. Sometimes the chores pile up or we accumulate clutter over time, but that’s what spring cleaning is all aboutstarting over  and making something new again. The same thing can be said for our own mindfulness, if you really think about it.  

A tiny man in orange overalls sweeps up dandelion seeds fallen from a dandelion blossom
Clearing the way.

Mindfulness is a term that’s making the rounds these days, which is great, because we can achieve far-reaching benefits when we, well, put our minds to it. Simply put: “mindfulness” is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judgment or interpretation. Often used as a therapeutic technique, mindfulness is encouragedand shownto reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain in some circumstances.  

Someone drawing a squeegee across a soapy window
You’ll be surprised by what clarity you can reveal!

So what does mindfulness have to do with spring cleaning? Actually, it’s a pretty fair comparison. When we clean our spaces, were sweeping away dirt and dust, and wiping or clearing away grime. When we downsize our possessions, were shedding what we no longer want and making room for what we need. The same is true for our minds. As we go through our lives, our years, and our days, we accumulate all kinds of experiences. Some experiences can leave lasting, positive impressions on uswhile others can be more challenging. 

A green flatleaf house plant sitting in front of a sunny window
Be it ever so humble.

But that’s just it! Its challenging to keep a tidy home, but cleaning your space means you’re nurturing the things that make that space a home, the things you want to keep and that are important to you. When you clean your symbolic home, it can sometimes be a difficult process, but it gives you more room to appreciate the mindset youve cultivated. This year, while you’re sweeping the floor, imagine youre clearing space in your own mind. If you’re throwing things on the yard sale or donation pile, think about how your mind could also use some downsizing. As you stand back, look at all your hard work, put your hands on your hips, and see that lovely home of yours sparkling right back at you. Don’t forget to be proud of yourself and really enjoy the moment. Because mindfulness is all about living in the present and theres no place like home. 

The Power of Love: “Love Languages” in the Office

A team meeting

You’ve probably seen many online quizzes floating around. No, not the one that tells you which Hogwarts house you belong to, or the one that claims your answers make you a perfect fit for Idris Elba. We’re talking about the one that asks: “What’s Your Love Language?” With love in the air and half-priced chocolates just around the corner, we thought we’d answer that question in our own way.

Four coworkers having a meeting around a table.
We all show love and respect differently.

So, what is a love language? Love languages describe how we receive and give love to others—from our friends, family, partners, you name it. The love is there, but it looks a little different from person to person. Love languages include acts of service, gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation. Love languages were developed over 25 years ago by Dr. Gary Chapman and the concept is still popular to this day. Recognizing these patterns in ourselves and those around us can leave a lasting impact.

But what does this look like in the workplace? Love languages can apply to platonic and professional relationships as well. That “warm fuzzy feeling” looks more like a lasting impression or a positive, motivating experience. So how can you apply love languages to your workplace, whether you are on-site or remote?

A remote worker at their desk having a virtual meeting and taking notes.
Even when we’re remote, giving someone our time carries a lot of impact.

First, if you haven’t yet, give one of those love language quizzes a whirl, or simply take a minute to review the ones listed above and see which one applies to you the most.

Now that you’re familiar with love languages, let’s look at how you can apply them to your day-to-day routine at work.

· For an “acts of service” person, this can look like buying the team lunch or bringing in donuts. An act of service can also be running charity events or setting up a PPE station.

· For a “words of affirmation” person, this could be giving positive and insightful feedback on someone’s idea or contributions to a project.

· For someone who prefers “quality time”, this can be listening to coworkers and really learning about them, or getting the most out of a scheduled meeting. It can even be something as simple as asking: “How was your weekend?” or “What are you watching these days?”

· The generous “gift-giving” coworker may like sending memes between tasks, giving out gift cards around the holidays, or having a Dr. Scholl’s insert up their sleeve if they hear a coworker’s feet are hurting.

· The “physical touch” love language might manifest as respecting boundaries and social distancing, and washing and sanitizing hands thoroughly. In a safer setting, a good handshake can go a long way.

Two coworkers outside in masks giving each other a social distance elbow bump.
We are all connected and expressing that is so important, even if it looks a little different these days.

So as you head into Valentine’s Day weekend, open your mind to all the ways love can show up in the world—how others communicate love and how you can put more love out there. Try not to worry too much about your fluency in love languages—that comes with practice, time, and even personal insight. The more you know about yourself, the more you can give back to the world around you. At the end of the day, it’s all about the love.