As we welcome the new year, many have the lofty and beautiful goal of slowing down—but of course, it can be a balancing act. When you’re in a busy season of life (juggling work, kids, and family), slow living might feel just out of reach.
If your to-do list isn’t as short as you’d wish, don’t feel discouraged. Between busyness and a complete slow-down, there’s a sweet spot for being present, slow, and mindful.
With practice, you can make space to enjoy life’s simple pleasures: a sip of tea, a slice of cake, a moment of conscious breathing or watching the sky. It’s these small things that make life feel worthwhile.
To help encourage this joyful habit, I’ve created a list of 10 daily acts for you to celebrate—because life is truly more remarkable when we’re not in the fast lane.
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10 Simple Pleasures in Life
I know. Life is busy, and we’re all stressed. We don’t want to be forced to try new things because… time. We don’t have time.
But let me tell you one short thing: If you can’t enjoy the little things when you’re busy, then you won’t know how to do it when you’re not.
So in a way, we all have to start somewhere—and a minute of appreciation for life’s pleasures is more powerful than hours of effortful wishful thinking.
Here are just a few things I’ve always enjoyed doing:
- Taking a deep breath of fresh air
- Wiping my kitchen countertops (I know, I’m odd!)
- Watching my babies smile
- Diffusing essential oils
If my simple pleasures and suggestions (listed below) don’t appeal to you, you can start creating your own list. We’re all the curators of our experiences, and you know yourself best.
#1 The Sun Waking You Up In The Morning
I’m not sure if it’s about vitamin D or something else. But there’s nothing as beautiful and refreshing as waking up when the sun is shining through your window.
Of course, as I type this, it has been raining for days here in Brisbane. Still, this only serves as a reminder to notice the beauty in all the seasons. The smell of the morning rain is also a gift when I slow down enough to notice.
#2 The Smell Of Freshly-Brewed Coffee
If you’re as obsessed with coffee as I am, you’d appreciate this point. I think there’s nothing like a first warm sip of coffee to start your day. A way of making it even more special is to pause before drinking to really take in the smell. Or else—you could ask your loved one to brew coffee for you and bring it to your bed.
(Fun fact: my husband HATES coffee … the taste, the smell, everything. But he still brews it for me every morning. I think that’s love, hehe!)
#3 A Few Minutes of Earthing
Ah—the wonderful feeling of the grass between your barefoot toes! It’s simply the best, and there’s even science behind it. Grounding – so getting in touch with the Earth’s natural electric charge – has been shown to reduce stress and pain, and improve our mood.
#4 Do Some Old-Fashioned Reading
Assign a couple of minutes each morning or evening for some slow reading. Smell the pages before you read the text. Highlight your favourite quotes or passages. Close your eyes and let the words sink into your heart.
When I make a ritual out of reading, it helps me relax and go deeper into it.
#5 Light A Candle In The Evening
Who doesn’t adore the flickering quality of candlelight? Candles can be very therapeutic, helping to concentrate and ground in the moment. It can be beneficial if you’re trying to meditate.
By the way—I know that “lighting a candle” is not particularly new or exciting, but that’s the point. I’ve found that the simple pleasures we often take for granted are the easiest ways to add magic to our everyday lives.
Related Post: 10 Ways To Slow Down a Busy Day
#6 Create A Soulful Skincare Regimen
I just love using a facial oil on my skin every morning and evening, while massaging my face gently. Such daily self-care is not only practical (helps with anti-aging!), but does wonders for your emotional and physical wellbeing.
#7 Watch A Sunrise Or Sunset
According to research from Stanford University, awe-inspiring experiences “slow down time and enhance our wellbeing.” And what’s more awe-inspiring than watching the sun make its way around the earth?
On a side note, I noticed a few years ago that watching the sunrise or sunset was something I always prioritised when I was travelling but never bothered to do at home. So I changed my habits, and it really makes a huge difference in how I feel.
Related Post: 11 Meaningful Habits for Simple Living
#8 Drinking A Tall Glass of Water
Sorry if it sounds boring, but water is essential for our health and wellbeing. So next time you pour yourself a glass of water, pause for a second and thank nature for this simple gift.
#9 The Smell of Fresh Sheets
There’s nothing more luxurious than going to bed with fresh sheets! Change your bedding and then take a few minutes to close your eyes. Enjoy feeling wholly supported and relaxed.
#10 Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Everyone has this one song that makes their heart skip a beat. Turn your music up and let loose! (My guilty pleasure? Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler.)
Did you know that “cultivating laughter, song, and dance” is one Brené Brown’s 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living? Learn more in The Gifts of Imperfection, another favourite and highly recommended book!
Life’s Simple Pleasures
But here’s the thing: on a day-to-day basis, I’m not sure that any of the big changes I’ve made matter as much as the simple pleasures on this list. Because ultimately, I still pay bills, I still have laundry, and I still have little ones to chase around the house.
No matter how much I work towards living a slow-paced life, I will always have responsibilities, stress, and occasional worries. We ALL will because it’s part of being human. So the question that remains is this: how can we find joy amongst it all?
Because this is where we find the delicate balance that I think we’re all looking for this year.
What’s something simple in life that you really enjoy? What will you do to slow down and live mindfully this year? Let us know in the comments!