I try to savor life very consciously. For me, savoring life goes hand-in-hand with practicing gratitude. I slow down to anticipate and fully appreciate the beauty in the present moment.
Many times it feels natural to savor the “big things,” like traveling to new places, trying a new restaurant with old friends, adventures with my husband or enjoying fantastic ocean or mountain views.
However when the world changes suddenly and many aspects of our new normal feel overwhelming, it can be so helpful to shift our perspective to a closer radius. Whether the world has changed due to coronavirus, learning a loved one has a terminal illness or other big overwhelming news, focusing on savoring the small things can be grounding and give us the new foundation to move forward during tough times. And it can help us appreciate life more during the good times.
Now I’m savoring the tiniest things which I’m learning are actually the most important. I’m savoring the first spring buds on the tree outside my window, the feel of my husband’s foot next to mine, the sun against my skin when I go for a walk, the way my dog’s ears flop as she runs into the wind. I’m savoring every shared laugh with my parents, the way my friends smile, the way fresh air feels in my lungs, the feel of spring grass under my toes after a long winter. And I’m savoring this time of finding new ways to show and receive love from far away.
Here are my tips for savoring the smallest moments. What are yours?
1. Find a few moments of quiet early in the day
When I enjoy my morning coffee, I take a few extra moments to fully savor the smell of the grounds and brewing coffee, the warmth of the mug in my hand and eventually the deliciousness of that first sip. I then take a couple minutes alone to think about my upcoming day and what aspects I look forward to savoring.
If your daily coffee ritual is hectic, try to slow it down a bit and use at least part of it as a time for reflection. Or find another time that works for you, whether that is in the shower or just sitting alone with your thoughts for a few moments before you jump out of bed or look at your phone.
2. Identify the beauty in your day ahead and look forward to it
Anticipation is powerful! Looking forward to an experience creates positive feelings that last longer than the actual experience itself. Think about what you expect to happen today and identify the small details that make you smile.
What aspect of unwinding at the end of the day or going for a walk are worth savoring? What about cooking? What about going to the grocery? What about that virtual team meeting? What aspects of family time bring a smile to your face?
3. Pay attention to the details in the moment, like really pay attention
When the moment comes that you’ve been anticipating, put your phone down and be present in it. Look at the small details. Pay attention and enjoy how your food smells, tastes and feels. Stop and pay attention to how the hot water feels against your skin in the shower. Feel the fresh breeze coming through the window. Appreciate how your team is trying to adapt to new situations at work. Look for ways others are showing you love, even if they don’t naturally speak your love language. Give yourself the space to feel how you feel and encourage others to do the same!
4. Watch caffeine intake to slow down
Caffeine can amplify existing stress. Try switching to half caf or decaf, especially in the afternoon. Too much caffeine can cause my mind to race and my body to feel jittery, and I know I'm not alone. Being conscious of and limiting my caffeine helps avoid a caffeine induced fight-or-flight response when we are already more on edge than normal.
5. Share with a friend
Let a friend or loved one know what you are savoring in your day. Talking about it or writing it down helps cement it in your mind and also lets them enjoy those moments with you. Hopefully this will add a little positivity to someone’s day and cause them to pass it on to someone else.
6. Consciously add in more activities worth savoring
Over time, become more aware of what activities create opportunities for you to savor life vs just snag your attention.
I find more to savor in reading a book than scrolling on social, but I often feel sucked into social media. When it’s time to take a work break, I try to remind myself to read or go for a quick walk or to make a new cup of coffee rather than default to something mindless.
And while I love a weekend movie marathon, I try to find small ways to make staying at home feel special. This Sunday we sat around the fireplace to enjoy wine, cheese and great conversation in our sweatpants.
Hopefully after all of this is over, we can all continue to savor the little moments.
What are you savoring in life right now?