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The case for doing nothing

Out of our ‘the busier the better’ bustling world arises a welcome rebellion that is switching off phones, brains and the eternal to-do list.



“I’ve done nothing today” is often a statement of shame-ridden guilt.

However, that very nothingness can be a productive, even lucrative, something. It’s just in disguise. A new movement to purposely slow us all down is fast taking over the globe.

Busyness has been attributed to success and worthiness – while doing ‘stuff all’ often holds the stigma of being lazy, unmotivated or unproductive.

If only we could see the measurable physiological anti-anxiety benefits that our mind and bodies get from gazing glassy-eyed out the window in the midst of a hectic day.

There is a good reason that many of the best inventions, songs and ideas are born in the middle of the night. The mind is empty, quiet and still. We are just lying there in the dark – doing nothing. Enter creativity.

Some cultures are better than others at embracing the health-enhancing art of nothingness.

The Dutch have a catchy succinct word for the concept – Miksen. It is a verb, a.k.a a doing word, that means to ‘do nothing’.

The Italians indulge in a concept known as ‘la dolce far neinte’ translated as ‘the sweetness of doing nothing.’

The Chinese have mastered the concept of ‘wu wei’, meaning inaction, which is seen as central to living a life harmoniously.

Mid-afternoon snoozes are a time-honoured tradition in the heat of the Mediterranean, but we shouldn’t need global warming to nudge us to nod off.

The concept of allowing 40 winks in the middle of a work day is being discussed as a productivity-boosting bonus in the office – to recharge batteries and counterbalance chaos.

Our minds need to empty out the old in order to refill.

Enjoying doing nothing doesn’t mean checking emails, chatting or watching TV while flopped catatonically on the couch.

That’s cheating. It can take a while for wound-up minds to wind-down and get comfortable with the habit.

We innately know when to switch off. It just takes a little neuron rewiring to make it easier, with practise, to tap into our inner timetables.

This sweet neutral state of ‘effortless being’ is a natural trait to all living things.

Observe animals both in the wild, and the ones chillaxing on our carpets or wandering nonchalantly in the garden – they have it sussed!

The nothing experience needs to be guilt-free to be of real benefit.

Imagine not achieving everything, or indeed anything, on your daily agenda.

Are there any adverse consequences? Doing zilch and zoning out can create momentum, motivation and more energy for the hours and days to follow.

When a person stops and does absolutely nothing for a moment, or two, or three, the benefits can be empowering and enlightening. Add in some nature – and that equals bliss.


Resolve to Read

The latest studies suggest that New Zealand adult and children’s reading levels are lower on an international level than ever before. The solution? Experts say we simply need to read more.



The stresses of the holidays have passed and we can celebrate a New Year with the personal resolutions to do something new with our lives and the time we spend unwinding.

Why not implement a daily reading regimen to keep yourself – and the kids – on track and off of the devices.

Our top picks – both old and new – will easily keep readers of all ages enthralled for hours on end.

    The latest offering from Jeff Kinney as an addition to his ever-popular series Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes in the form of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball.

    This hilarious tale has received glowing reviews as the Heffley family work on renovating their home after receiving an inheritance.

    Greg goes through a series of hilarious circumstances as they transition through a journey that includes the entire family.

    It is available from Piccadilly Bookshop, which has a new store at The Crossing.

    Local author Felicity M. Williams’ Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped tells the tale of an ocean-dwelling mergirl and the fish and seafolk she lives amongst.

    Ringlet and the Day the Oceans Stopped is available locally at Scorpio Books and The Children’s Bookshop’s online store.

  2.  A CLASSIC:
    At Piccadilly Bookshop and The Clocks Bookshop you’ll find The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a classic read fit for adult readers.

    This American classic set in the roaring 20s in New York features the famed character Jay Gatsby in all of his glory.

    However, through time and circumstance it is revealed that everything that glitters isn’t always golden.

    For all of you Lee Child fans, Blue Moon is the latest instalment in the series that will leave all readers on the edge of their seats with a tale full of corruption and crime that only Lee Child can bring and an unseen plot twist that most modern books lack. Available from Piccadilly Bookshop.

    Vegful by Nadia Lim will keep anyone who has resolved to be healthy and food conscious on the veggie-filled path.

    This book is packed full of recipes that will inspire your cooking and enhance the vegetable offerings on your plate.

    The food imagery and details will surely have your 2020 menu looking very bright, balanced and colourful.

    What better way is there to start of a New Year and new you? Get it now from Piccadilly Bookshop and The Clocks Bookshop.

  4. FUN:
    Guinness World Records 2020 is a great family book that will keep you entertained for the entire year.

    This annual offering is the ultimate guide to record-breaking facts that are sure to impress readers of all ages.

    Since its initial release in 1955, the book has boasted both human achievements and extremes of the natural world. Get your copy from Piccadilly Bookshop