Five Simple Pleasures

Arranging flowers in the garden
It’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of our day to day lives. Rushing from one thing to the next, we end up frazzled and stressed instead of enjoying each day. The late Bil Keane, author of the well loved cartoon Family Circus, once said, “Everyday life is the gift, that’s why we call it the present”. But how to enjoy the everyday when there’s so many people and things demanding our attention? It’s easier than you think. Here’s five quick ways I decompress in the midst of a very busy schedule. Most of them take less than 15 minutes.

1.  Have breakfast.
This is a wonderful way to nourish yourself mentally as well as physically. We kid ourselves that making breakfast takes too long, but even Poached Eggs can be ready – and eaten – in less than 15 minutes. Other quick and healthy breakfast ideas include fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, peanut butter on toast (with or without sliced banana) and scrambled eggs or baked beans on toast. Just add coffee, tea or juice. Sit down and enjoy. (Eating breakfast standing up doesn’t count!)

2. Get outside or bring the outdoors in.
Even a short fifteen minute walk is incredibly refreshing. Or grab a coffee and go for a quick walk round your own back yard or garden. Pick some flowers while you are out there and bring the outside in. I picked and arranged the flowers in the photograph above in my garden one morning. It took a grand total of ten minutes and made me very happy indeed. They look gorgeous on the dining room table inside and brought a smile to my face every time I looked at them.

If you live in the city centre or don’t have a garden, plant up some pots with your favourite flowers or plants to have on the window sill, outside your front door or on your balcony. Sit down for a few minutes with a coffee or tea and enjoy them.

3. Curl up with a good book.
It doesn’t take long to read a chapter or two and taking that little step away from reality – even for a very short time – can be incredibly refreshing. Set the timer if you are worried you will get lost in the story!

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
I started doing this in January as part of my Aspirations for 2013. It takes just a few minutes to record three things you are grateful for each day. I keep my Gratitude Journal as a Pages file on my iPad so it’s always with me, and I find that the more things I take note of, the more things I find to be grateful for. Most days there are a lot more than three on my list!

5. Bake some cookies.
This could take longer than 15 minutes, but not if you do it my way. It takes about fifteen minutes to mix up some slice and bake cookies and stash the rolls of dough in the freezer. Next time you need a break, slice a few circles of dough off the end of the roll and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes.  Or slice and bake a whole roll and share some with a friend or neighbour. Need a great recipe? Try my Very Versatile Slice and Bake Cookies, Peanut Butter and Honey Slice and Bakes or my Chocolate Chip Slice and Bakes.

We get caught up in the business of being busy – in fact we are encouraged to. But it’s not how we were designed to live. Try these tips to help you take a few minutes away from the busy-ness. It will improve your health, your productivity, your state of mind and your life.


* indicates required

Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
View all posts by


  1. Great ideas to slow down and savor life just a little. 🙂 It’s amazing how a gratitude journal can radically change one’s perspective.

  2. Thank you, you just reminded me I wanted to defrost some fruit for breakfast!
    I also have a thing about trying to light a candle when we sit down for our evening meal. It’s a small habit and inexpensive but I find candelight incredibly soothing and I associate it with fine dining 🙂
    I kept a gratitude diary for a while and it definitely made me more aware of small, happy things each day.

    • I like the idea of lighting a candle at your evening meal, Pauline. We only do that occasionally – I’m definitely going to start doing it more often 🙂

  3. Congratulations on being featured at Inspire Me Monday. Your roses are gorgeous and your post is full of wisdom. Blessings!

Speak Your Mind