The Art of Doing Nothing

I recently read this post from chalkboard mag and it said, “Resting is not a waste of time. It’s an investment in well-being.”  This got me thinking.  We live in such a go-go-go society, the thought of rest or God forbid a nap is sometimes perceived as laziness.  We’ve been taught to shut down the natural signals our bodies give us and supersede them with the, I’m an energizer bunny mentality.  Now this can get us far, but at what cost to our bodies?   We require rest to heal and regenerate, and if we blatantly ignore that, it could come at a cost.  So, what if we just listened to our bodies, took time to relax and enjoyed the slower life. 

The Italians have a concept for this way of living, “Il dolce far niente.” Interpreted as the sweetness of doing nothing.  Italians may head home after a few hours of work for a brief nap, go to a café for a cappuccino, or even to just sit in the park and enjoy.  Although this may be a bit unrealistic for most of us, there could be a lesson here to learn.  How many of us grind out our week, working hour after hour, just to find ourselves hunkered down in our pj’s on the weekend binging Netflix?  Is this really why we work so hard all week, that the energy we have left for our time off is only enough to be horizontal on our couch polishing off a bottle of wine?  Kind of depressing.  

What would the quality of our life be if we just made the time to experience il doce far niente?  Instead of using our free moments to balance our checkbooks, check our work email one more time, or drowned your brain with reality tv, what if we just did nothing?  Now this concept goes against the ingrained nature of our society.  But if you push past that urge, this type of relaxation does exist in each one of us. 

What if we used our weekends to enjoy true life?  Going to listen to jazz, eating your favorite food on a park bench, lying in the grass and letting the breeze blow over your face or even take a nap.  These are the moments your body and mind crave.  A state of peacefulness and regeneration.  Go ahead, try it.  Shut off all the distractions (TV, computer, phone) allow yourself to enjoy doing nothing.  Sometimes nothing can be the perfect something.  

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