So, it’s been a few weeks since you’ve been locked up in your apartment. The thankfulness of being comfortable, privileged, safe etc. are slowly wearing off. All interesting dishes have been cooked, all drawers organized, all hobbies indulged in. Even Netflix seems to be out of content. You’re not doing much but your energy is always off. You’ve basically run out of things to do and are wondering what’s next. So, here’re my two-scents on ‘Quarantined Month 2: What to do when you have nothing to do?’
2020. Who knew it’ll be the year all boomers, millennials, gens X, Y, & Z will come together to stay (minimum) six feet apart. Yes! All hail the mighty coronavirus pandemic state for truly making us realize how insignificant we are. Now while we are preparing ourselves for the post-covid19 world, the big question is what to do in the ‘now’. Cultivate dolce far niente.
dolce far niente
literally: sweet doing nothing pleasant idleness
This Italian concept may seem bizarre in today’s world of ‘work hard, party harder’. In fact, if you are not just motivated but pushed and forced to ‘do’ something all the time. So, this pleasant idleness can easily be a taboo. However, dolce far niente is anything but an excuse for laziness, it’s about unwinding and re-energizing your mind & body. Just like meditating but without the construct of meditation and more as a way of living.
The quarantine/lockdown/social distancing has forced us in a lifestyle where we aren’t really using our energies like we’re supposed to. Hence rendering us angst-y, fidgety and even frustrated. Therefore, learning and practicing this art of ‘doing nothing’ & enjoying it is especially key when you’re stuck in a life of nothingness. And when you’ll go back to your ‘normal’ life back, you’ll be thankful for cultivating this meditative quality.
Intrigued? Here are 5 ways to cultivate & master dolce far niente and trust me, this is the best thing you’ll learn to do in this lockdown hour:
I know it’s very tempting to stare at tiktoks all day or play an online game with your friends but just keep that phone away and retreat into yourself.
2. Take a nap
I grew up in a culture where an afternoon nap was an integral part of my day and development and honestly there’s absolutely nothing that can beat a good afternoon nap to this day. Keep it short, say 60 minutes, but do it. If nothing else, it will help with the boredom, and also make you feel much less cranky.
3. Let the inner artist peek outside
Did you know that the best of literary & art works have been created during times of turmoil and lockdowns? So, what’re you waiting for, unleash the poet/writer/painter inside you.
4. Willfully ‘ignore’ the tasks at hand
Usually, I would be the last person to say this but leave the sink dirty, let the laundry hang for another day, let your drawers be messy. It’s completely all right. Stop guilting yourself over things that have such minimum impact in your life. Learn to stop being so hard on yourself!
5. Let go of the control
Sit it out, look out the window, listen to your favorite songs, or just gloss over an old magazine. Let yourself off the hook and really take the ‘day off’ to yourself. There’s always tomorrow and if there isn’t, you at least had a relaxed and happy day today!
Doing nothing is hard work, at first. So, decompress, let go and learn to live and appreciate the moment.
We have accustomed ourselves to living in this world of a constant rat race. Judging ourselves by the number of tasks we perform and deliver to measure our success or failure. We burden ourselves to the point of a breakdown and yet continue to put a brave face to the world that demands us to stay sane under all this intensive pressure. If there’s anything this quarantine/lockdown should teach you, it’s to let go of the guilt for not planning, producing and consuming.
Yes, you’re what you do but you’re also much more than that.
In short, let the nothingness take over. This is the best time to let go and learn to give up control. Life is what it is, you don’t always need to find adjectives to define it or your current state of mind. Sometimes, it’s just ‘nothing’. And it’s ok to feel that and live that. The more comfortable you get with this state, the easier it becomes to feel whole without needing someone or something to complete your existence. After all, that’s literally what meditation state is all about!
And if you still JUST. CAN. NOT.
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Stay safe, healthy, & happy!