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Am I a slacker for doing nothing or am I practicing Dolce Far Niente?

Today I woke up to the sound of the rain on the roof and it was cold. I lay there and mentally ran through my to-do list: 1. Feed the dog, 2. Feed the children breakfast 3. House looks like a bombsite need to tidy up. My next thoughts were everything can wait, I am going to stay cuddled up in my warm cozy bed and read my book – no iphone or laptop to be seen. The children managed to find food, the dog waited and I enjoyed every minute of my PJ time.

Why do we associate relaxation with guilt?  In Italy they have a saying Dolce far Niente  meaning “the sweet art of doing nothing”. You may remember this was made famous in the Movie “Eat Love Pray” when Julia Roberts travels to Italy.

Those Italians make it seem an accepted way of life to take time out to relax in the middle of the day. Have you ever thought about our daily language “What have you been up to today?” or “Tell me about your day?“. Say nothing and people look at you strangely.

We have to let go of the guilt for not planning, producing and consuming. There is a pressure to measure the success of your day by what you’ve accomplished. If that is the case for you, it’s time for a new measuring system. Instead of the number of tasks you have ticked off, try measuring your day by the number of times you smiled about nothing, watched the grass grow, or measure success by how long it took you to linger over dinner.

Doing nothing is hard work, at first. Imagine how stressful the first few days of a holiday are as you try to unwind and let go of work or life pressures. Your face is tense and you might have trouble breaking away from your emails. Now imagine the last few days of a holiday. You can’t remember what had you stressed out, your eyes are light, your muscles are loose and you could lay in a hammock all day.

You don’t need a holiday to find your Dolce far Niente, but you have to practice. How will you find yours?

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7 responses to “Am I a slacker for doing nothing or am I practicing Dolce Far Niente?”

  1. Lisa Keys says:

    Thanks Brigette, it’s nice to be reminded from time to time about how important it is to ‘stop’….

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  4. Meredith says:

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