Dolce far niente…the sweetness of doing nothing.
That’s how it was described in the 2010 film Eat, Pray, Love. Others would define it as pleasant idleness, or as Meriem-Webster puts it, “pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness.” I read somewhere though that Italians hardly use this cliché, but they do practice it. Any Italian readers here who can confirm this?
Personally, I find it quite delicious to think about it.
Dolce far niente is me time but with a clear difference. You actually do not do anything when you go “dolce-far-niente-ing.” You don’t go shopping, have your nails done, dye your hair, go out with friends, or hit the gym to do your killer HIIT. If your me time does not involve any doing (except the bare minimum of activities like blinking or breathing or some such thing), then that’s it, you got it.
Relax in the moment, listen to the ticking clock, maybe slurp your boba as you watch people or clouds, or both, go by. Lucky enough to be by the sea? You can listen to the surf and watch the waves kiss the beach, or feel the breeze lift your hair off the nape of your sweaty neck, or lazily flick a fly tickling your arm.
You think of something. You think of nothing. You forget you’re fat. You don’t know the meaning of problems.
You enjoy the moment.
My Way of Sweetly Doing Nothing
I’m not the best person to talk about doing nothing. I’m from the generation of productivity and multitasking. At this stage in my life though, I’d like to explore this doing nothing thing. Learning never stops (another of those nuggets I learned in my generation). But if I focus, I know that I will be able to do nothing. That carefree part in the idleness may be a bit harder to pull off though.
Of course, if I had to do nothing, I would have to have accouterments to do it. Sort of making it count by setting the stage for it.
Yes, I know there is no sleeping with dolce far niente. Speaking for myself, it may lead to that though. What is it called if you sleep while doing dolce far niente? I’m just curious.
The bed must be queen size at least. Bed sheets and pillow cases should be white or light neutrals, preferably butter-soft bamboo linen…perfect for this weather.
There is something so relaxing about being in your own bed especially when the bedclothes have just been changed. I don’t want any fabric softener to taint the smell of laundry soap, which should be organic detergent made in the Philippines. Not too many pillows please, three at the most—a body pillow, a good contour pillow to support head and neck, and another soft and squeezable one that isn’t too heavy.
I just realized I’m so particular about things. My excuse: Anything to get me closer to carefree idleness.
Beverage of Choice
No boba tea for me. Water would be good. But I can also be persuaded to go boozy if the doing nothing happens closer to cocktail hour.
I would want Campari orange. The orange should be fresh. I have a friend who doesn’t like the taste of Campari at all because it’s bitter. I say just add fresh orange juice to that and you have bittersweet…like life sometimes.
I want an ounce and a half of Campari to four ounces of fresh orange juice. Over three ice cubes. Ratio is so important, just like paint and colorant.
However, if there are not enough oranges, I can also go for Negroni. I can do without that orange peel anyway. In this sense, I’m a minimalist.
I just realized that my favorite drink and its substitute are also Italian. Hmm, it’s meant to be!
Sweet Home Scents
I fell in love with home fragrances when I saw them for the first time in the Ambiente Fair in Germany in the mid-2000s. I’ve been using them ever since.
Now, I use home fragrance sprays and oils that are made locally. No menthol smells for me. I like citrusy scents instead of flowery smells like jasmine or ilang-ilang, although lavender is a favorite especially for the bedroom. Aside from diffuser machines, glass flacons with pure essential oils diffused via reed sticks, and sprays, I also use scented soy candles when I can remember to light them.
Actually, a home fragrance gives your home a signature scent. I am so used to the smell, I guess, so I don’t notice it much when I come in the door. But people who visit remark on it and say they love it.
Tip: Go for natural, nontoxic home fragrances for a healthy home. (By the way, if you are thinking of repainting and you don’t want paint smells to ruin your home’s ambience, go for this odor-less paint called…what else…Healthy Home.)
Check out the mood boards in this oldie-but-goodie article on home scents.
Your Style of Doing Nothing
I am really curious if Filipinos are good at carefree idleness. It seems peaceful, healthy, and relaxing to practice this often.
How do you do dolce far niente? Send us a message below if you have tips you’re willing to share.