Simple Ways to Appreciate the Little Things in Life

train your lens on something new.

train your lens on something new.

It’s almost frighteningly easy to get caught up in the daily grind and fall into the monotony of work, sleep, repeat. Fortunately, it’s also just as easy to mix things up and seek out some simple pleasures that we often take for granted. The next time you’re feeling more “ho-hum” than “hooray,” try out one of these quick remedies to instantly lift your mood.

Buy a new candle (or three) — and light them!

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I always treated candles more as decorations than anything else. Occasionally, I’d light them when I had company over and wanted to feel super-fancy, and that was about it. So when I moved into my current apartment, I made a pact to myself that any random night could be a special occasion. And why wouldn’t I want my place to smell like a hot maple toddy, or warm vanilla cinnamon, or baking spices? After a long day at work, these comforting scents can make curling up on my couch with a cup of tea even more relaxing than usual.

Go on a photography mission.

It’s amazing how your perspective changes and life slows down a little bit when you’re trying to capture the perfect photograph. You don’t need to set out to take any specific type of photo; just head to your local park, lake, or city square with your camera, and see what you find. I’m not talking about your iPhone, either — Instagram is great, but taking a step back from the filters can be good for the soul (and your battery life). Maybe you’ll run into someone walking their five adorable toy poodles, or see a parade, or just catch a beautiful sunset. You never know what awesome photo ops await you.

Write an actual letter. 

You know that friend you lost touch with? Reconnect with them, not through text or Facebook, but with a good old-fashioned snail mail letter. While it might take a little effort to dig up their physical address in this email age, the satisfaction that you’ll have after penning a heartfelt note will make it all worth it. If you don’t feel like you have all that much to say, just send some postcards out during your next getaway. (Or turn one of your photography mission photographers into a postcard. #DIY.) It only take a little time, and it’s almost guaranteed to brighten both your and the recipient’s day.

Whip up a gourmet dinner for absolutely no reason at all. 

You don’t have to go all Gwyneth Paltrow to create a delicious meal that’s fun to make, too. Before you make your next grocery list, scour some sites to find a semi-fancy dish that you’re in the mood for (Allrecipes has a good selection if Pinterest isn’t delivering). Take your time with all of it, and really enjoy the process. I like to choose Sundays as my cooking day, since it tends to be a little more laid back and allows me to truly savor the last bits of the weekend. Put on your favorite playlist as you prep, inhale the delicious scents while your creation is cooking, and save the dishes ‘til tomorrow — you’ve earned it!

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