Italians call it dolce far niente—pleasant idleness, or the sweetness of doing nothing. It seems pretty straightforward, but for many of us, it’s harder than it seems. Don’t get this concept confused with being lazy or a couch potato—instead, it’s about mindfully enjoying your downtime and finessing the art of being still. Here’s how you can embrace this way of life for yourself. —Jeanine Gordon
unplug. Staring at your phone or laptop can easily send you into a mindless void. Sure, it’s fun, but it doesn’t count toward quality relaxation. Numbing yourself with electronics is a quick-fix for passing the time, but truly doing nothing means enjoying sitting still without distraction. Try putting your phone away while you sit outside or lie on the couch for a few minutes and see how good it feels to power down.
sit somewhere peaceful. No, you don’t need a full-on Zen garden to relax in, but you can create a space—even a corner—of your home that feels relaxed and distraction-free. Clearing the clutter off your coffee table or stretch out on your nicely-made bed. Carving out a little sanctuary in your home sets the stage for a calm mind.
enjoy nature. Whether you live in a high-rise condo or have a sprawling backyard, enjoying living things helps to reset your mind and clear out mental noise. Sitting on your couch next to a fig leaf plant or enjoying dinner with a succulent centerpiece is enough to bring the outdoors in and help you find that relaxed sweet-spot.
no judgement. Enjoying doing nothing might take some getting used to. Sure, there are always other things you could be doing, from throwing in a load of laundry to prepping dinner. The importance of doing nothing comes from trusting that those things will get accomplished in their own time, and enjoying the fact that, for the time being, you’re blissfully doing nothing at all.