In a world that’s bombarded with gloomy news, wrecked by a pandemic and threatened by climate change, it’s easy to fall into a dark hole of negativity if we fail to take stock of the good things we still have. At the same time, it’s worth remembering this: part of what makes us human – and what makes life beautiful – is our ability to feel and seek pleasure.
Pleasure can be easily achieved, if you know the right places to look. A nice dinner, listening to your favourite songs, watching your favourite movie… these are among the top simple pleasures voted by Singaporeans, in an international poll via OnePoll, commissioned by Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Researchers polled 6,000 adults from Singapore, the UK, Australia and the USA to determine the little things in life that bring us joy. However, the poll respondents enjoyed an average of only seven (6.5) moments of pleasures a week, with each moment’s pleasure lasting for 24 minutes on average.
Also, 48 per cent feel that they don’t have enough time in their day-to-day to enjoy the small pleasures, citing work commitments and parenting as obstacles.
Being wellness advocates at Her World, and because nothing’s more important than looking after your mental and physical wellbeing, we are here to make pleasure-seeking more accessible and intuitive. Check out the top 50 simple pleasures voted by Singaporeans below (we wonder why bubble tea and sex didn’t make the list), plus our suggestions on how to make the dopamine hits happen.
We are all self-proclaimed foodies, so it’s only deserving for “nice dinner” to top the list. Check out our list of best restaurants in Singapore, and our all-time favourite hawker food. For fancy meals delivered to your doorstep, we’ve rounded them up here.
Of course, music relieves stress and boosts our mood. We’ve heard that. So feel free to put on your favourite tunes from Spotify anytime you feel blah. You might want to invest in noise-cancelling headphones, to really immerse in the music and tune out of the noisy world for a bit.
Ahh, every working adult’s favourite time of the month. But don’t blow every paycheck on luxury items (yes, we know how tempting those designer bags and jewellery are) – remember to set aside a portion for savings and investment, so you can be on track to a happy retirement. Here’s all you need to know about making your first investment, even if you have just $100.
We’re pretty sure most of us have this down pat already, with Netflix, Disney+, iQiyi and other streaming platforms at easy access. Looking for a new favourite? Put these new K-dramas and movies on your list.
Honestly, dining out is considered a luxury we can only wish for right now. If Covid restrictions allow, consider treating yourself (and bae) to an indulgent omakase dining experience, or hit up one of these fine dining restaurants or rooftop bars in SG if budget allows.
When was the last time you made someone smile or laugh? We know, it’s easier said than done, but with social media at our fingertips, you can easily find a viral funny video (we recommend Lee Si-young’s TikToks for her creative, self-deprecating humour), or just cute dog/cat pix/videos, to share with your friends and family. At least one will find it amusing, for sure. Strangely, that bit of joy you added to someone’s day will be felt by you, too.
If you have the opportunity to stay in bed, savour this. It’s not often that we get to lie and laze in bed without the stress of an alarm or an annoying to-do list looming at the back of our heads.
Sounds like a luxurious hotel staycay is in order, but you can also upgrade your bed to make it more five-star by trying these tricks.
Until travel restrictions ease, we have two option: Go for a weekend staycation, or live it up in the comfort of home by tuning into wanderlust-satisfying virtual tours, and engaging in fun activities. If you have kids, get some cool entertainment ideas from local celebs like Fann Wong. And maybe bookmark these holiday destinations to visit when overseas travel happens again.
Repeat after us: Exercise is a treat for the body, not punishment. We were born to move, and once we move past seeing exercise as a means to weight loss or to burn off unwanted calories, we will start seeing workouts for what they are really worth: to keep our physiological systems and mental health functioning optimally, and making us feel strong, confident and empowered.
Hands up if your bed in the daytime looks exactly like your bed at nighttime. While it’s convenient to leave our beds as they are after getting up, there are benefits to making your bed. A survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that sleep quality improved significantly when bedrooms were kept clean and comfortable. Plus, there are intangible benefits to making your bed – doing so gives you a sense of accomplishment, organisation and focus, which all help to kickstart a productive day.
That sense of novelty triggers the pleasure/reward zone of our brain that delights in instant gratification (similar to seeing “likes” on our Instagram feed), which explains why we lap up food trends and seek out new cafes and places to check out. With our regularly updated list of cafes to check out – the gorgeous cafes for chilling at, cafes with overseas vibes, cafes with a tropical Bali feel, and cafes in the east/west/north – you will never be short of cafe-hopping ideas.
Okay, there are definite upsides to staying at home. Don’t you love that warm, fuzzy feeling when it’s pouring outside and you’re all comfy at home? It’s a welcome reminder not to take our shelter, food and daily necessities for granted.
We have to say, this is a great way to relax and indulge – whether you’re shopping online or at brick-and-mortar stores. The e-commerce boom during this pandemic has led to more customer-driven experiences (perks, deals and promos included) than ever. Here, our favourite beauty shopping sites with free shipping to SG. For the physical experience of shopping, think about planning a full-day itinerary at malls such as Scotts Square, Delfi Orchard and Great World where you can shop, dine, run errands, and get spa/beauty treatments done in one place.
Two suggestions here. One, pick up your phone or external hard drive and go through your travel photos. That will evoke some serious heart-tugging memories (considering we don’t know when we’ll really get to travel again) and give you an opportunity to reminisce those sweet times with your travel partners.
Two, do the next best thing after travel: hop onto free virtual tours that will take you to anywhere from a South African safari to the Northern Lights or the Great Wall of China.
Didn’t we agree that the main role of fashion is mood-boosting? You might unlock unexpected joy from putting on your favourite cheongsam, bikini, evening dress or even heels – after all, it’s been a long time since you’ve worn them.
We may not be able to hang out at bars for drinks with friends just yet (though we like to keep this list of scenic rooftop bars handy), but we take comfort in these amazing cocktail bars that do delivery, plus virtual party apps that help us stay and feel connected, creatively.
There’s something about the sound of the waves and grainy feel of the sand under our feet that makes us feel alive and blessed. That’s why going to the beach is often seen as an expression of wellness, freedom and stress relief. While you plan your beach outing, don’t forget the sunscreen.
If you’re one of those who don’t have to worry about daily dinners, count yourself really lucky, and remember to show gratitude to the people who prepare your meal. If meal planning is on you and you find it a chore, seek delight in these tingkat deliveries that serve up comforting flavours.
You’re either in the cooking camp, or you’re not. For those who’ve found their place in the kitchen, you’ve got to try these viral TikTok recipes that are totally worth the hype. To up the ante, challenge yourself by attempting to make authentic Peranakan food – we’ve got some winning recipes.
We’re pretty sure this is easy to achieve. Just look into one of your previous travel purses and you’ll likely find some coins or change – though they may be foreign currency. But hey, money is money, right?
We can’t deny the aromatic allure of roasted coffee beans, so coffee drinkers, don’t shy away from making pleasure a strong reason to keep up with your daily cup of joe – besides the health and beauty benefits coffee already offers.
It’s been long established that being outdoors is good for health. Add walking to the picture and you have a wellness antidote right there. Walking is an easy way to stay active, and some swear by it for weight loss, too.
Yes, time to lose the alarm and quit wrangling with the snooze button. Allowing yourself to wake up naturally, usually at the end of a sleep cycle, helps you feel more rested than having to wake up at the call of your alarm, when you might be in the middle of a sleep cycle.
Remember what we said about activating the pleasure/reward centre of the brain? That’s why we’re always looking to uncover or learn something new. Check out parks and trails you’ve not been to, lesser-known tours in Singapore, and how adventurous celebs such as Zoe Tay have been rediscovering Singapore.
Thanks to Covid, the cinema experience has changed drastically. Capacity limits have been reduced, seats more distanced and clearly demarcated, and facilities more frequently sanitised and disinfected. So while we no longer have the luxury of collective popcorn-crunching, sighing or screaming in a packed hall of strangers (at least for now), we can enjoy the theatre with a greater peace of mind, hygiene wise.
Despite the bad rap gossiping gets, we still indulge in it from time to time. Gossiping is human nature, and it can help us feel closer to one another. So go ahead and initiate a chat with someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
Who doesn’t love cake? Treat yourself to these indulgent chocolate cakes, or try baking your own. We swear by Fann Wong’s fudge loaf cake recipe – the steps are straightforward, you don’t need a mixer, and you get a pretty foolproof result: moist, spongy and delicious.
Well, you can’t initiate this, but the next time you receive a compliment, acknowledge the feeling, and accept the compliment graciously by saying “thank you”. In our pursuit of perfection, many of us find it difficult to accept praise. But in doing so, we learn to give ourselves credit and practise more self-love.
We may not experience seasons in Singapore, but home gardening has given us plenty of satisfaction in seeing flowers bloom. These house plants, especially, are pretty and easy to care for.
With so many distractions around us, it’s not easy to commit to reading a book, much less accomplish it. But because book-reading is so intentional, you’ll get a whole lot more satisfaction from it than say, scrolling through a never-ending social feed. Get some book recommendations from celebs like Rebecca Lim and Jeanette Aw.
This is relatively easy to achieve, considering our proximity to parks in Singapore. More reason to drop by your neighbourhood park, or head to one of these scenic trails for a walk, meditation session or a local version of forest bathing.
If you have easy pool access, good for you. Otherwise, consider a beach outing or check yourself into one of these hotels with private pools.
Got a lifetime battle with dry or unmanageable hair? Go for these award-winning hair treatments that will let you wake up with smooth and lustrous tresses. For more volume and a defined style, consider getting a perm to help you achieve beautiful, wavy locks. And in this crazy weather, you’ll do well to have these cute, heat-friendly celeb-inspired hairstyles in your repertoire.
Online shopping FTW. To have our parcels arrive on time (and in good condition) is a luxury to always be grateful for.
Singapore isn’t called a garden city for nothing. So go forth and explore the gardens near you. For more variety, make a trip to Gardens By The Bay which houses various gardens with a wide range of plants, including rare species.
While PDAs among young couples are common, it’s much rarer to see older couples show their affection physically in public. It’s a heart-warming sight to behold, for sure.
There’s something about the countryside – more nature, less civilisation – that exudes laidback, relaxing vibes. To soak up that ambience, pay a visit to Kranji Countryside which offers farm visits and a heritage trail.
We can’t deny the power of physical contact. Acts such as hugging, kissing and cuddling boost the production of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) that increases our feelings of bondedness with our loved ones.
We can link this to the satisfaction that novelty brings. Some suggestions for recipes to try: Jeanette Aw’s French butter cookies, her cheesecake tart, and time-honoured local desserts such as chendol, ondeh ondeh and pandan chiffon cake.
Contributing to charities through donating and volunteering enriches our lives and makes them more meaningful. People who donate or volunteer regularly have an increased sense of wellbeing too. Here are some organisations you can donate or volunteer at. Also, check out giving.sg for more ideas to donate, volunteer or fundraise for registered non-profits in Singapore. Besides donating money, you can give away clothes and pre-loved items too – find your options here.
Making your day can be as simple as this. But if you’re not at the receiving end, why not make someone a cup of tea instead?
This is one pleasure you shouldn’t feel guilty about. If you wish, give your coffee a twist by making a Dalgona coffee 2.0, or treat yourself to your favourite bubble tea once in a while. Life is tough enough.
It gets harder to make friends as we age, but that shouldn’t stop us from meeting and getting to know new people, be it at work or in social settings. Stay open-minded, because you never know when you might find a new confidante, a like-minded friend who shares your interests or beliefs, or a contact who might be an important lead in your future career.
We know that playing sports or exercising improves our mood. Doing so with friends or family enhances the benefits further. Try arranging some games or workouts at your next get-together. The anticipation adds pleasure, too.
When the situation and weather permits, organise a picnic with your loved ones to celebrate this simple pleasure. Skip the processed food and sugary drinks, and prep your own healthy, tasty snacks – we’ve got some great picnic food ideas here.
With sustainability at the foreground of every big conversation now, buying local produce is undoubtedly a laudable move to support our local farms. Also, look at supporting sustainability-minded restaurants when you dine out.
With travel restrictions stoking our wanderlust, many of us have turned to cycling to fulfill our need for exploration and thrills. That sense of liberation and adventure, the wind in our hair, and the adrenaline rush of coasting on two wheels make cycling rather appealing, especially now. No wonder folding bikes are selling like hot cakes.
This is one thing we don’t always remember to do when we go on leave or a holiday, but when we do, we derive satisfaction from it. Activating your out-of-office setting signals to your brain the work-to-leisure transition, enabling you to focus better on enjoying your time off.
There are many proven health benefits of having a pet – the most significant ones are reduced blood pressure and anxiety levels, because they go a long way to improve your health markers, as well as lower stress and other mental health-related conditions. So go ahead and spend more time with your pet if you have one.