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I’ve noticed that in life, it’s the small things that really matter. By taking the time to enjoy these small comforts every day, I am practicing self-care and gratitude, which makes me a healthier and happier person. I hope you can garner inspiration from my daily pleasures and embrace your own!

Hot Tea

As an appreciator of tea drinking, there really is nothing better than a warm, comforting mug of black tea. I wish I could say I enjoyed trying out different varieties, blends, and flavors of tea, but I must admit that I’m a simple gal and ever since I started drinking tea as a child, I’m still head over heels for Earl Grey tea, extra-bold, no milk, no sugar. Part of the fun of my daily ritual is picking the mug I am in the mood to sip the divine liquid from. If I’m feeling sassy, I’ll choose the mug with the “I do what I want” spouting cat with its middle fingers up. If I’m feeling spooky, I’ll go for the Haunted Mansion themed cup which reveals the message, “Hurry Back Soon”, when empty. If I’m feeling simple, I go for my wide and stout red mug I stole from my younger sister. If I only had to drink one drink for the rest of my life, it would be tea because tea makes me happy.

Funky Socks

Sometime last year, I noticed that since I don’t really change out of sweatpants and t-shirts, it might be beneficial for my mental health to mark the passage of days somehow on my body, so that’s when I put more time into picking out my socks in the morning. I think I have subconsciously attached different feelings and moods to every pair of patterned socks I know, so when I choose a pair of socks, I’m choosing what kind of mood I’m going to be in that day, either serious, playful, studious, carefree, silly, etc. I have socks with stripes, four-leaf clovers, rainbows, cats (quite a few with cats actually), flowers, and bread, which is my personal favorite. I hope to add more to my collection!

Seeing Lily in the Morning

When I am getting ready in the morning, a few things usually come to mind: what kind of socks will I wear, when will I have my tea, and I can’t wait to see my cat, Lily. She sits on the couch, on her butterfly blanket she has claimed as hers, and when she sees me in the morning, she stretches, yawns, and starts purring. Lily and I spend our days together as we like to hang around in the same places. She’s the best co-worker I can ask for, that is when she isn’t making a cheeky appearance on my Zoom calls. Lily provides emotional comfort for me and a sense of responsibility. I truly enjoy her company and we make a great pair.

Good Food

Let’s get one thing straight, I love to eat. Growing up, my Italian mother taught me that food is a great joy in life and I still believe so. I enjoy throwing random ingredients together and making something new out of them. I don’t like measuring ingredients and I hate wasting food, so I always have leftovers in the fridge. I think out of all the meals, I appreciate breakfast the most even though I tire of the limited savory options I have at my disposal, but when I get it right, I cherish that morning indulence. Another aspect of food I enjoy is sharing. Whenever I find a new recipe I think a loved one would enjoy, I cannot wait to make it and for them to try it. The kitchen is a place for innovation, patience, and community, so I cannot wait to bake and cook with friends again this year.

Time Outside

I try to make it a point to go outside every day in all kinds of weather and moods I am in. I listen to music, meditate, and listen to podcasts while I walk, so my imagination is stimulated as I enjoy nature. If I’m not using my phone, I like to pick wildflowers, observe bugs, and find mushrooms. On my walk the other day, I found a painted rock on a tree stump that read, “the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” This message came from the anonymous “rock fairy” who has been leaving these painted rocks and messages on walkways from about a year now. I hope to one day meet whoever they are and thank them for their generosity. Some days outside are more difficult than others, but I have always felt better, even on my bad days after a little bit of sunshine and fresh air. In fact, I am sitting outside right now typing this article. The birds are singing, the clouds are fluffy, and I feel positive surprises are being carried in the breeze.

What are your small but significant daily pleasures?

Julianna is a writer, artist, and mental health advocate. She graduated from Rowan University in 2020 with a BA in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She was the Fall 2o2o Media Editor for Glassworks Magazine, a publication of Rowan University's Master of Arts in Writing. In her free time, she enjoys baking desserts for her family, adding to her sticker collection, and listening to spooky stories.
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