I am at my most relaxed when I am inside a bath. I don’t need fancy soap or salts (although I do enjoy them when available) — just a tub big enough to stretch my legs in and hot water up to my shoulders. Living in an era obsessed with feeling good (hence, “wellness culture”), it’s easy to forget about the power of life’s small, easily accessible pleasures. Pleasures so simple yet so impactful they almost seem like a trick. Pleasures that are virtually free of charge but produce the mental equivalent of a million bucks. Pleasures that are mundane in theory but restorative in practice.
Keep scrolling for an homage to these quotidian sources of joy, and join me in mentally bookmarking them to revisit on an emotionally rainy day.
1. Taking a Long, Hot Bath
Whether or not you are a bath person, there is no denying the positive effect taking one can have on your muscles and your mood. Seriously: They are scientifically proven to calm the nervous system, benefit your joints and bones, improve blood flow, and even balance your hormones. Warm, soothing, wet and somehow cozy at the same time, a bath is basically a womb for adults. And I don’t know about you, but I loved my time in utero and will seize any opportunity to return whilst getting clean at the same time.
2. Sniffing Flowers
I never buy fresh flowers for myself, but on the rare occasions they are sent to me, I always ask myself why I don’t. Sniffing or even just looking at a bouquet of pretty much any bloom under the literal sun is a guaranteed way to refresh your connection to the world that exists outside your cubicle, or your apartment, or your subway commute. I’m talking about nature! Remember nature? Given that it’s still basically winter outside, it seems like forever since we’ve encountered Mother Earth and/or her constituents, but flowers from your local deli will serve as the perfect touch-base.
3. Popping Bubble Wrap
I have misophonia, which means I have a strong distaste for certain repetitive noises and will therefore be regrettably compelled to shoot daggers at you with my eyeballs if you pop bubble wrap for an extended period of time in my presence. However, I strongly encourage you to take some into a secluded space of your choosing and pop away. Even though I’m not a fan of the sound, I can’t deny the pleasure of the experience. Like unearthing a blackhead or removing your bra, popping bubble wrap is just one of those random, run-of-the-mill things that consistently satisfies the human soul.
4. Hugging Something Soft
I have friends who have retained their collection of childhood stuffed animals and turn to them nightly for plush, soft solace. Though all my stuffed toys are long gone by now, I’m a devoted fan of tangible encounters with soft objects, from fluffy blankets and furry pillows to oversized fleeces and faux shearling slippers. Consider this your invitation to locate the nearest creamy, cushiony, velvety, silky, downy thing and give it a hug of mutual gratitude.
5. Taking a Nap in the Middle of the Day
Are you a nap person? I’m not, but I’m actively trying to be one, because every time I do manage to take a nap I wake up feeling like I could run a marathon while simultaneously solving a quadratic equation. Sleep is cool like that. I’m hard-pressed to think of a pleasure as simple and sweet as shutting off your busy little brain for a much-needed half hour of respite, so go ahead, kick up your feet. They look like they could use a snooze.
6. Doing a Face Mask
This might be a controversial statement, but for me, it doesn’t really matter how effective a face mask is in terms of skincare. The act and experience of applying one and letting it crust up is far more important — and enjoyable — than attempting to observe the minuscule impact it may or may not have. Doing a face mask feels innately luxurious, even if you are sitting on your sofa in a grimy apartment wearing sweats. And that’s pretty magical.
7. Laughing Until You Cry
Plain old laughing is fine but somewhat unremarkable in the grand scheme of life. Laughing until you cry, on the other hand, is pure heaven. It’s orgasmic, fizzy, free and completely legal euphoria. On the special occasions when it happens, I’m left feeling like I just did a wind sprint and licked an ice cream cone: high on the exhilaration of being alive and in my body. It just goes to show that even the smallest of pleasures can ripple outward in perpetuity, like a pebble dropped into a pool.
What little pleasures reliably tickle your fancy? Let me know in the comments.
Photographer: Daphne Nguyen
Stylist/Creative Director: Monica Morales
Models: Diana Moldovan with IMG and Kristen Apollos with KULT
Makeup: Joel Babicci at WORK AGENCY
Hair: Rory Rice
Stylist Assistant: Chloe Fraser