We all live busy lives right now.
Hectic schedules exhaust us every day, and the pandemic adds another layer of stress.
Yet, we deny ourselves a right to simple pleasures, claiming we have more important things to do.
How long can we last before we fall to pieces?
Is your busy life an excuse to skip your self-care?
You’re not alone.
We all live busy lives these days.
No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, our days are full of challenges and stress.
We crawl and thrive through the weeks, just to realize that during the long-awaited weekends we cannot relax at all.
Simple pleasures become just another point on our never-ending to-do lists and rarely get ticked-off. And we often trade them for mindless activities, which overstimulate and clutter our heads.
Get to know your simple pleasures, and live a less stressful life. Learn to relax your body and mind in a life-long quest for happiness.
Does stress affect you?
You don’t have to be a CEO, professor or a businesswoman in a shiny suit to experience meltdown and hit the wall.
Many of us associate “proper” pressure, tension and struggle with imaginary “important” people. While that fact is that we all experience challenges and stress on a daily basis.
It doesn’t matter if you’re freelancing, babysitting or have a 9 to 5 job.
We’re all humans. Susceptible to stress by nature.
Physical and mental consequences of chronic stress
Unfortunately, if we don’t consciously and actively handle stress, then it can turn into a long-term condition. Chronic stress can lead to various health problems. It doesn’t only manifest itself physically through heart attacks and strokes, but also through mental issues like anxiety and depression, or a combination of the two, for example, panic attacks.
All these conditions and their consequences can seriously interfere with our lives.
By refusing to take time for self-care, we put our jobs, family lives, health and life expectancy at stake.
Can simple pleasures increase your coping ability?
The short answer is: yes.
Taking time and focusing on simple pleasures can increase your ability to cope with stress.
It’s amazing how breaking the vicious cycle of stress can improve your health and wellbeing.
And if you decide to use simple pleasures as a preventative measure too, it will add a layer of stability, security, and sanity to deal with the challenges of life. Engaging in simple self-care activities will also give reassurance that you can rely on yourself in good and bad times. It will help you find peace of mind in the middle of a storm.
Benefits of simple pleasures
- Break the vicious cycle of stress.
- Improve health and wellbeing.
- Increase the ability to cope with stress.
- Help to find peace of mind.
- Soothe, calm, and relax.
How simple pleasures help relax your body and mind?
Your body and mind work as one.
It might be surprising for some, but our bodies and minds are inter-related. Our nervous system links the brain with the whole body, including all systems, organs, and muscles. There is no separation between body and mind.
So, how do the simple pleasures work?
Slowing down a little helps to clear our heads and release mental stress. The relaxed mind has a huge effect on helping to relax our muscles, especially the head, neck, and shoulders. We need to remember that our minds and bodies are always one.
Taking the time to enjoy simple things helps us and our relationships – let it be with family, friends, or at work.
Get to know your simple pleasures
The beauty of the concept and the idea behind the simple pleasures is that we do not need to reinvent the well. Nobody is expecting us to be creative. The only goal here is our health and wellbeing. We do them just for us.
It is therefore important that we don’t engage in things only because they work for others. They may not work for us. Conversely, instead of soothing and calming, these specific activities may increase our levels of tension.
Of course, you can test and try new things, but the main concept is that simple pleasures are simple and are meant to help you.
The way to heal our busy and stressed body and mind is to find something we really and truly enjoy. No matter how funny it sounds.
Do you like knitting? Is it calming you down? Then go for it! Do you enjoy watching fish majestically flowing across the large aquarium? Watch fish.
You get the point. The simple pleasure is meant to please you and nobody else.
9 simple pleasures to enjoy in your busy life
The nicest thing about adding simple pleasures to our lives is the fact that they are really simple. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or do anything fancy to enjoy your life. Slow down, and notice some of the simple things that you like doing, and incorporate them into your life for good. You may be surprised at all the positive benefits that come when you slow down and take pleasure in one, two, or a few simple things each day.
1. Read books
For as long as I remember, books were on my pleasure list. Nobody ever had to force me to read. Books have always been my first choice, my favorite hobby, education, relaxation, and entertainment – all of that at the same time.
I feel that books add another dimension to life. Somehow, they allow me to live many lives in parallel. Maybe it sounds a bit strange, but I know that other book lovers share the same impression.
2. Drink water and tea
Keeping yourself hydrated each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Drinking enough water also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
I love drinking a glass of warm water first thing in the morning. In addition to its health benefits, it comforts and grounds me in a new day.
Tea is another one of my favorite drinks, and I like many sorts – green, flavored sencha, herbal infusions, fruit teas, and rich and deep flavors. Tea brings me comfort, warmth, cozy and homely feeling. It calms my body and my mind.
3. Walk and breathe fresh air
It may not be obvious that we can treat walking and breathing fresh air as a simple pleasure. That’s because we usually walk as a means of transportation to get somewhere. We also walk with the purpose of sightseeing or trekking through the woods or hills. Walking is rarely considered a pleasure in itself.
Not so long ago, I have realized that walking just to feel my feet on the ground and get some fresh air in my lungs is a great stress-release method. Walking isn’t as intense as other types of exercise can be, but can make your blood flowing and help to clear your busy mind. If the weather’s bad or you’d prefer to stay indoors for some other reason, you can walk down the hall or use a mini-stepper machine instead.
4. Have a pampering bath or shower
For many years I lived in blissful ignorance of the calming effects of a hot shower, or even better – a nice and relaxing bath. They have always been just a tool on the way to getting my body clean and refreshed, but never pleasure in itself.
Yes, I admit I have been ignoring those remarkable effects not just on my body, but more importantly on my mind. Well, now that I have discovered the pleasure of indulging in a warm bubbly bath or a hot shower stream, I have found another way of relaxing my tense muscles and easing my mind. I engage all senses to get most of it.
5. Exercise lightly and stretch
Now, I’m not an athlete or a fitness/gym type of person. I usually prefer to lay down on the sofa or sit in my favorite wing chair and read a book rather than exercise. Yet, I have noticed that low-intensity practices like mindful stretching with yoga elements give me huge benefits, and don’t require a lot of effort and sweat.
I have a few favorite routines, from 10 to 30 minutes, that I choose from depending on my schedule and mood. I do them regularly and enjoy the effects of pain and tension release in my body and mind.
6. Practice mindfulness
I used to keep meditation and mindfulness in the same mental box as magic tricks and leprechauns. That was until I was trying to find the way out after hitting another rock bottom in my life.
I keep it simple – focus on my breathing, tensions in the body, and mind. Some easy exercises and techniques take no more than 5 or 10 minutes, and you can start practicing now.
- Give yourself a mind candy to encourage positive thinking
- Slow-mo like a pro to reduce stress
- 5-Minute Holiday for your Brain to relieve Anxiety and Stress – Free eBook
- Happiness Quotes
- Deploy fabric shaver to remove lint and stress
7. Cook and eat simple meals
Cooking a simple meal can be a very relaxing activity. We do not have to become another Gordon Ramsay or Nigella Lawson’s clones. It’s enough to cook a simple, nutritious food that is easy to make and doesn’t require hours of preparation. There is something very satisfying in eating a simple dish created with your own hands. And if you’re lacking inspiration, you can just open your kitchen cupboards to see what is hiding in there.
8. Enjoy the silence
I like the music. I like it a lot. But the busier I get, the more I understand and value the moment of silence. It helps me to check-in with my body and mind, refocus and gather some strength to carry on with my tasks, whatever they are. I do not feel the need to close myself in the quietest of the rooms. Yet switching off the radio, computer, a kitchen fan, or other sources of noise, brings back the calmness, relaxation and provides an additional layer of a safety blanket around me.
9. Breathe in a relaxing scent
In the past aromatherapy, was classified in my head under the same label as leprechauns and magic tricks. For a very long time, it’s been locked away in the box at the dusty attic of my head. Now that I have discovered the amazing and calming effects the essential oils have on me, I use them almost every day. Usually in the late afternoon or evening when I have the time to enjoy them the most. There are so many scents that I’m sure even the most demanding of noses will find something for themselves.
What’s your favorite simple pleasure? Share your ideas in the comment below!