Finding joy in the little things amidst chaos

With a potential second lockdown on the horizon, the uncertainty in the US, and managing University work, it can be easy to get bogged down in the chaos that surrounds us; to feel anxious amidst the uncertainty, overwhelmed by University or simply debilitated by the way the world is currently looking. I definitely know for myself, as a first-year, transitioning to University life and into a new city has certainly been overwhelming – from trying to make new friends, managing school-work and familiarising myself with the unfamiliar; all during Covid-19.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the thick of things, I offer no concrete solution but a simple way to slightly shift perspective: noticing the little things.

The little things

Have you ever appreciated the way the sun falls in the fresh and crisp morning on the City of Edinburgh, or how revitalising the air feels when you breathe it in, or that one good chat you had with an old friend that made you feel re-energised? There is so much that we can catch when it comes to what is going wrong with our lives, but we never realise the abundance of things that are going well. And when we think about it, there is so much more going well in our lives than what’s going wrong.  Some would call this practicing gratitude, but for me its finding joy in the small things. And at the end of the day, it’s the small things that make the big things.

Doing this everyday can drastically change your perspective and how you’re feeling overtime. After all, our perception is our reality. And this doesn’t need to take up too much time in your day, nor is it effortful. It is simply stopping and seeing. It’s taking a break from the deadlines, the news and the noise, and taking a looking outside or even going outside. It’s stopping and asking yourself, “Am I being present?” In many ways, there can be so much beauty found in the moment.

Intentional living

Enjoying the little things doesn’t just have to be a small habit, it encompasses a way of life – the slow, intentional life.

University life in an exercise in juggling; learning how to juggle between a social life, work life, personal care and much more. It can be incredibly easy to just get swept up by it all, consumed by the many plates that we have to balance. Through this we often turn reactive, distracted and ‘too busy’ to essentially enjoy life. Going more slowly opens our eyes, minds and hearts more widely, so that we are less likely to rush judgements and decisions, and more likely to see what options are open to us. We can discover what is truly important to us and what matters. The slower approach to everyday life, where we endeavour to be in the moment and act based on purpose and intention can make life more meaningful and fulfilling.

I’m not asking you to make a lifestyle change. Enjoying the little things is simply a small step into a life led with more content, outside the chaos of our world. Perhaps try going for a walk and notice the things around you, or cook from scratch while being present with what you’re doing. Maybe it’s time to take a break from the whirlwind that can be university life.

There’s a lot going on around us right now, what ways do you enjoy the little things?