Today is Sunday, end of the week and a time to relax before the every-day hurdles of life start again tomorrow. It’s a day when time kind of stands still for me for a while, and it feels amazingly relaxing. Below, I describe moments that are like that, timeless and peaceful, things that can be enjoyed not just on a Sunday, but throughout the week. These are my naturally-occurring self-care moments where minimal effort is required, just observation and appreciation of the simple things in life.
This is when I prioritise me, not thinking of anything much, not doing anything much – just be there without worrying that time is ticking away, deadlines are approaching, or someone needs me for something. I’d love to hear what you do to prioritise yourself as well and if any of the below scenarios are familiar – let me know in the comments. 😊
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1. MY PERFECT COFFEE MOMENT ☕
My most enjoyable home-made coffee moments normally take place in the morning, during the weekend. Perfection, however, can sometimes occur during workdays as well if I’ve managed to get up early enough! During November, I have set myself a goal of getting out of bed by 7 am, which has helped with these kinds of pleasurable moments. Well, after the initial, sleepy annoyance. 😄
There are two stages to a perfect coffee moment at home for me, both enjoyable in their own ways.
Preparing the coffee
I have this Nespresso coffee machine, which has made my mornings so much better. Actually, the coffee machine has been something that helps me get out of bed sometimes when it’s been difficult to find reasons for getting up. You know, those days.
It sounds like an insignificant and small thing, a coffee machine, having such power. Especially when you see how small it is in size! But for me, it has played a significant part in trying to shift my mornings into something more positive, as I’ve been struggling with that a lot due to my earlier mental health challenges.
When I get out of bed I go straight into the kitchen. My coffee machine is there, it’s a cheery lime green colour that brightens me up when I see it! I make sure it has enough water, press a button, and give the cats their breakfast while the machine heats up (it only takes 25 seconds).
I have a selection of different coffee pods to choose from, different colours and flavours, and it’s always exciting to pick one. I’ve had this type of coffee machine now for several months, and the excitement of picking the coffee pod has never diminished. I feel like a kid choosing which piece of candy to eat! I have a big bamboo bowl where all the pods are, all mixed together.
Did you have LEGO bricks as a child? Or as an adult, they can actually be good for mindfulness exercises. Anyway, do you remember the feeling of putting your hand in a container full of bricks and the clattering sound they made when you moved your hand in there? Putting my hand in the coffee bowl, feeling around in there and picking the flavour I want is kind of my adult version of the LEGO experience. 😄
I put the pod into the machine, close the lid (it makes a satisfying clunk sound when something inside the machine pierces the coffee pod and locks it in), and press the button again. The coffee drips quickly into my cup in a few seconds, steaming hot. I have many different coffee cups and mugs and each morning I choose one based on my mood! My most-used cup is sunshine yellow because the colour motivates me, and a pink gradient mug is my current favourite (my bf gave it to me). 💛
Enjoying the coffee
I take the cup to the living room and if it’s sunny, I sit on the windowsill with it, facing the room, my back to the window. I love the feeling of the sun warming the skin on my back while the heat from the coffee cup seeps into my hands.
If it’s horrible weather (well, anything from cloudy to hailing), I keep the curtains closed, imagine it’s nice outside, and sit on the sofa. I often take a picture of my coffee, saving it for later when I can put it on Instagram. 😄 That’s how much I enjoy my coffee time!
They are moments plucked out of time, something that is ideally never hurried. When I have the coffee, I try to do a little mindfulness exercise with it as well, just appreciating what the cup looks like, feels like, how my fingers react to the hot surface. What the coffee smells like and if there are any interesting patterns on the froth on top.
It’s a good moment for this because I need to wait a little while anyway before it’s cooled down a bit to drink without burning my mouth. Once the cup is empty, I return back into reality and start preparing for the day.
My coffee machine is available at the moment on Amazon. If you’re ever considering getting a small, quick and easy one for yourself, see here.
2. A relaxing moment with the cats 😻
Arthur and Drake get along, but sometimes have disagreements like everyone else. They have such different personalities that sometimes cause friction, and I am often working as a referee when one of them wants the top shelf or the basket and the other one gets jealous and starts a fight.
Or when Drake just wants to take a nap and Arthur has so much energy he tries hard to get Drake to play with him, but he won’t have it, which makes Arthur frustrated. I need to make sure he gets about an hour of playtime every time I come home from work to make sure he spends his energy on chasing paper balls instead of harassing his brother!
So it’s a lovely, calming feeling when I sit at my desk using the computer or doing some colouring or note-taking, and both cats appear, looking calm and there’s no sign of fighting or even twitching tails. They sniff each other as if to say “you’re ok, you can stay” and they have a little mutual bathing session together on my desk.
After the fuss is over, one of them (usually Arthur) settles on my lap, the other next to me on the desk. I have laid out a folded towel on one side of the desk so they’d have a warm spot. A few minutes later I hear purring from both of them, and they fall asleep, and everything is quiet except for the sounds of my keyboard. (It’s a mechanical keyboard and actually makes quite a lot of noise when I write!)
This is one of those moments when I look at my cats and think how lucky I am to have them. ❤️
3. Writing in the flow
Since coming back from holiday and starting to work full-time again, it’s been difficult to find enough time to actually be able to enjoy writing for just the sake of writing, immersing myself in the flow of it without having to think about deadlines and how late it is and how I should be in bed an hour ago, worrying I would be tired and late from work the next morning.
So when I do happen to find a moment where I can write and stop to think a bit more, enjoy a bit more, be in the flow where I don’t have any worries cluttering my mind, it is really, really pleasurable. It’s those times when the words just pour out and suddenly you realise a couple of hours have passed and you’ve been writing almost non-stop, your word count soaring.
There’s a famous quote by Hemingway where he says “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 😅 I wish it was always that easy! But this is what I imagine Hemingway was often feeling, hence the quote. I wish I could reach this state of mind a bit more often with my writing.
4. Moment of fresh air and calmness
Unfortunately, this will happen less and less now that it’s winter and mostly dark and cold, but during the warmer seasons, I like to walk to a park, or my favourite, the side of a nearby canal, where there is an unoccupied bench.
I sit there just doing nothing, thinking of nothing outside of what’s around the bench and what I can see, just enjoying the scenery and breathing in the fresh air. I observe small birds hopping around and ducks in the canal water. Occasionally a dog walker passes by. Sometimes there are squirrels, and I’ve even seen a cat hang around nearby!
This moment is a perfect opportunity to just soak in the warmth of the sun, breathe in the smells of grass, flowers and fresh air, and enjoy watching the cute birds and other beautiful bits of nature.
At some point, I seem to reach a state where I am fully in a great, focused mood, and some creative thoughts start flooding in. This is when I get a lot of ideas for blogging or writing my WIP (Work in Progress), or just some useful thoughts around how I will spend the rest of the day. I leave the bench with renewed energy.
5. An early-morning moment in bed
I don’t get to consciously enjoy this often enough. I’m often in a hurry in the morning, feeling like I have to get up quickly or else I’ll be late for something. I am sleepy, my body feels physically exhausted, and my morning personality can be summarised in one word: cranky. My boyfriend knows this well. 😆
So I live for those luxurious mornings when I have time to appreciate being awake and lying in bed at the same time. I stretch my body, arms reaching the headboard and legs towards the other end of the bed, and the lovely feeling of knowing I don’t have to get out of bed yet, I can stay longer, is in my mind. I shift to a better position, feeling the cool sheets under me and the soft blanket wrapped around me.
Sunlight filters through underneath the block-out curtains and casts patches of light on the other side of my bed. It is sunny outside, and it makes me happy.
My cats notice that I am awake, and they start staring at me, sitting next to my pillow and expecting me to get up and serve breakfast! I burrow myself under the blankets and have a little snooze until I feel like it’s time to get out of bed and start the day with a cup of coffee.
6. Sunshine on the windowsill
I love summer, sunshine and warmth, and I want to take advantage of those things whenever I can. I’m always cold, and I never have enough light around me. Literally, I’m that person at the office who has a desk lamp and it’s always on, my laptop and smartphone screen always on full brightness. When I’m at home I always have my ceiling lights turned on together with any additional lamps. The brighter, the better.
I think it has something to do with my eyesight as well (it’s not the best), but in general, I start feeling sleepy in dim lighting and demotivated. My energy levels go down during dark days, and winter can be really hard.
So following that, one of my most pleasurable moments at home is to find my cat Arthur fast asleep in his box on the living room windowsill, basking in the sunlight coming through the window. I sit next to him and his ears twitch a bit when he realises I’m there. He does a little cat sigh, shifts a little to adjust his position in the box, and continues his nap.
While I sit there, stroking the cat, the sunlight soaks into me through my back, and it feels amazing. I close my eyes and imagine it’s summer and I’m outside, sitting on that canal bench looking at the birds.
These little windowsill moments are so precious to me that they also made my list of happy things last month. If you’d like to have a read at that too, find it here.
7. The moment when everyone else has left
This sounds sad when you first think about it, but it’s just something temporary in a day. 🙂
At work, when it’s nearing the end of the day, people around me start making their move to go home for the day, and one by one they are gone. The office sounds less and less noisy until I am left alone at my desk in silence. I finally take off my headphones and let out a sigh of relief.
I’m somewhat of an introvert, and being in a busy environment with a lot of people who I need to interact with a lot all day takes its toll. I need to recharge after socialising, because for me, socialising uses my batteries, instead of charging them as it does for extroverts. That’s generalising the introvert/extrovert difference, but I hope you know what I mean. 🙂
It’s not easy to concentrate when there are people around, and I often wear headphones. It’s not because I’m rude and want to ignore everyone, it’s to make sure I don’t feel chaotic in my mind due to all the different sounds like people walking by and talking. I use Bose noise-cancelling headphones that I’ve mentioned before as well – they are SO good and I don’t know how I’ve ever got anything done at work without them! You can find them on Amazon here if you want to get them for yourself.
This moment alone at the office is so quiet, so calm, and I really appreciate it. It’s like, when the others have left, there’s a cloud of stress and tension that just floats away from my body! I take the time to breathe and to refocus on some of the remaining tasks I need to finish, before I pack away my stuff, turn off the office lights, lock the door, and start making my way back home.
Further reading tip
I was inspired to write about the moments above by one of the things in the list on Tea Spansberg’s excellent ‘Love Yourself Challenge’, which you can find on her blog, here. It’s a lovely list of self-care tips I recommend checking out, and on top of finding a new thing to try out (number 1 on her list), it also inspired me to actually think about how much the moments I wrote about today contribute to my well-being. 🙂
What do you do to prioritise yourself? Do you find it easy? Any tips to share? 😊