In the face of finals, I struggle to find comfort in the little things. These little things, a well-made PB&J, smile from a stranger, are a must in life, no matter your career, age, or point in life. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, stay tuned. I now present the ABC’s of the world’s greatest small pleasures.
A is for Apple. Or really any other piece of really good fruit. Not only is it comforting to bite into that perfectly ripe piece of fruit, it’s healthy too. Fruits ward off many diseases and keep you living longer.
B is for Bed. In the face of the hustle and bustle of life, we don’t always get the recommended 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night. Taking a 20 minute power nap is enough to refresh, provide an energy boost, and finishing checking things off the endless to-do list.
C is for Cooking. Whether it’s for yourself, your family, or just for fun, cooking can be a fun way to relieve stress. Trying new things can increase your confidence and self-esteem, making the day much brighter.
D is for Dog. Man’s best friend has proved time and time again to be a very dependable source of comfort. We can always count on our furry friends to greet us at the door and wag in appreciation of our presence. Studies have shown that dog and cat owners enjoy a lower blood pressure, higher immune system, and even a better love life!
E is for Exercise. Aside from the obvious benefits to your health, exercising has been proven to release endorphins. In other words, working out = natural high.
F is for Flower. This pollenated pleasure might not be a comfort for those with allergies, but hasn’t everyone heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses”. Having actual roses, or any flowers, may be a good reminder to take an extra minute out of the day and be thankful for what’s around you.
G is for Google. This is a dangerous guilty pleasure for me. Meaningless web surfing is one of my favorite things to do, and one of my favorite ways to procrastinate. There’s something about jumping from link to link, absorbing current information, watching various YouTube videos, and I’ll admit a little Facebook creeping, that makes the rest of the world a blur.
H is for Hoodie. No matter the time of year, freezing outside during the winter, or freezing inside during the summer, being enveloped in a hoodie makes any obstacle seem conquerable.
I is for Ice Cream. This one is self-explanatory. Whether it be Cookies’N’Cream, Rocky Road, classic Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, (I could go on and on), a serving of this frozen delight will move you one step closer to a smile.
J is for J.K. Rowling. Dork alert: Harry Potter books are my one and only, greatest escape. The books have been captivating me since I was 11 years old. My husband, the big bad cop, laughs at me every time I pick up one of the seven tattered paperbacks. Harry Potter isn’t for everyone, I confess I really dislike Lord of the Rings, but finding an old book I once enjoyed, or even a new book that’s just starting to get good, is enough to make my day. One chapter is all it takes for my stress level to plummet.
K is for Kiss. Not the hershey kind, although chocolate is without a doubt a great small pleasure, a kiss a day keeps the doctor away.
L is for Laughing. Another saying, “Laughter is the best medicine”, isn’t all that outdated. Genuine laughter cures a multitude of ailments including, but not limited to, anxiety, bodily pain, heartbreak, grumpiness, old age, young age, middle age, and everything in between.
M is for music. I generally don’t think of myself as a music fanatic much like many of my friends, however I’m slowly realizing it surrounds me everywhere I go. I love to have upbeat tunes to karaoke to in the car, mellow jazz to listen to while I work, and good ol’ Motown to dance across the house while I’m cleaning. Sometimes I don’t think we realize how much music affects our moods. Feeling down? Crank up an old favorite and dance your worries away.
N is for Note. Post-it notes used to be square, bland yellow, pink, and blue. Today, they are sold in various shapes, vibrant colors, and sizes needed for every occasion. I enjoy indulging in every unique pack of post-its I come across, and leaving encouraging notes around the house on mirrors, the microwave, on the underside of the TV remote, inside the refrigerator, in the shower on bottles of shampoo, in drawers, and on doors. Remind yourself that you’re beautiful.
O is for Ocean. Not everyone is lucky enough to live only moments from the beach, but Google Images is only a click away. Beach scene screen savers are a dime a dozen and usually have the glorious sound of crashing waves that accompany the bright sun and sand. With closed eyes and a good furnace, it’s easy to pretend you’re there.
P is for Photo. Digging up an old photograph is a great way to relive a good memory. With the help of the glossy paper, you can escape to the sandy beach, a fun night out on the town, or a family get-together. All the smiles will eventually become contagious.
Q is for Queen. Or King. Put on a plastic crown and order your dog to jest for you. Thinking of yourself as someone important increases confidence, helping you get things done quicker and with a sense of pride.
R is for Rocker. New parents don’t put rocking chairs in nurseries just for looks. The motion of rocking has a calming effect on babies, and event adults. Spending 5 – 10 quiet minutes in a nursery rocker or Barcalounger will have you feeling like new.
S is for Sunshine. It’s all about the vitamin D. Scientists have found that 75 percent of teens and adults in the U.S. have a vitamin D deficiency. We get 99 percent of our vitamin D from the sun, which can be hard to come by in the winter months. So even if this means plugging in a space heater on your patio, soak up that sun!
T is for Television. There is absolutely nothing wrong with vegging in front of the TV. Guilty pleasure shows help us forget what’s going on in our life, and allow us to focus on someone else’s problems. So go ahead, TiVo the latest episode of Teen Mom, One Tree Hill, Bachelor, and Gossip Girl. We won’t tell.
U is for Unicorn. And all other mythical creatures we read about before bed. Take a few minutes to remember playing prince or princess, and all the amazing fairy tales that you secretly still hope will one day come true.
V is for Vitamin. Not only is it important to take vitamins for health purposes, new vitamins for adults are reminiscent of the Flinstone tablets we took when we were younger. New Once-a-Day Adult comes in gummies, berry flavored, even sour! Again, it’s ok, we won’t tell anyone.
W is for White Noise. Or any other sound machine produced sound. Personally, white noise reminds me too much of being in a horror flick, so I always stick with crickets or waves. But whatever sounds you find comforting, station that machine nearby and relax.
X is for X-Ray. If this list has failed you so far, go to the doctor. You need medical help to relax.
Y is for Yo-Yo. Fun and simple toys such as Yo-Yos, kites, and Slinkies offer a nice break on a stressful day. Toys that meant the world to you a child can still hold a special place in your heart. Easy to keep in a desk drawer, find solace in a quick game of Jacks.
Z is for Zoo. Whether it’s actually going to the zoo, or flipping on Animal Planet, watching cute otters and regal lions are a guilty pleasure that date back to our childhood. Just don’t take this one too far and adopt a pet raccoon.
So there we have it, a list of guilty pleasures. Two things are important to remember about guilty pleasures. One is to remember to get all work done, and only relax if time is left over. The second is to disregard the first, else they wouldn’t be guilty pleasures!