I recently participated in Sarah Jenks’ Live More Challenge. For two weeks, I put more thought into what would make life more delicious, what would feed my life (rather than just my body), and for two weeks I noticed a genuine lightening of my spirits. I looked forward to each day’s challenge. I also learned that living more required planning, and I need to make time for fun every day. (You can see my Live More posts if you follow me on Instagram.)
While this may sound frivolous in the face of this world’s tragedies, I’ve learned that my being unhappy will not make this world safer or better. My being happy, however, just might rub off on those around me, and help someone else feel better, too. So with that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 25 simple pleasures for us to try. Won’t you join me?
1. Instead of a blaring alarm clock, wake up to music, nature sounds, or something else that pleases your ear.
2. Call a friend—or (gasp!) write a letter.
3. Take a nap (I won’t tell).
4. Crank up some music. Choose music from the time you were happiest for an extra boost.
5. Clean or declutter a drawer or shelf.
6. Bake something and share with a friend or neighbor.
7. Read, sketch, or simply people watch at a coffee shop. If you’re into pumpkin spice lattes, now’s the time to order one!
8. Go picking—find an orchard or farm that hosts you pick opportunities and fill a basket or bag with fresh produce.
9. Finish a project. Whether it’s a bathroom update or an art project, fixing something that’s broken, or mending an item of clothing.
10. Buy one perfect treat (cupcake, scone, handmade chocolate, glass of wine, etc.). Consume it without any distractions and enjoy every mouthful.
11. Buy or collect fresh flowers. Find a place to put them where the cat won’t eat them. (Or is this a problem only I have?)
12. Schedule a field trip to explore someplace new. Or revisit a place you love—your choice.
13. Perform an anonymous act of kindness.
14. Look the cashier (or the server, or the librarian) in the eye and smile.
15. You know that pile of magazines you’ve been meaning to read? Grab it and curl up in bed for a couple of hours.
16. Take a walk in your neighborhood with your camera or phone. Take photos of your favorite places and things—anything that grabs your attention.
17. Sit comfortably for 10 minutes and do nothing. (It’s harder than it sounds.)
18. Take a class, in person or online. Choose something you’ve always wanted to try. Some fun ones I’ve come across: soap making, altered journals, aromatherapy, wine making. Of course, I highly recommend my friend Laure’s art classes.
19. Drink a cold glass of water. You’ll be refreshed and energized—just watch out for brain freeze.
20. Tell someone a joke.
21. Sip a hot cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa.
22. Rewatch your favorite movie. Maybe even eat some popcorn.
23. Sit outside, close your eyes and listen. See if you can identify five different sounds.
24. Groom your dog/cat/rabbit/ferret/horse. Give him or her treats and extra love. I still miss my dog so much, so be sure you enjoy them while you have them.