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In English, "taking it easy" or "just chilling" could be popular replies to the question "What have you been doing?". In Swedish "ta det lugnt" is a nice expression for the same thing.

What's a fluent Spanish idiom for this? Colloquial and local slang versions also very welcome.

Just something like "relajando"? Google Translate suggested "tirarse a la bartola", but I don't think I've ever heard that anywhere. Would you use it?

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You can say tomárselo con calma/ tranquilidad, although it generally refers to how you embark on a new project or face a task:

I have to write a paper, but since the deadline is in two weeks I'm taking it easy = Tengo que redactar un trabajo, pero como la fecha de entrega es en dos semanas me lo voy a tomar con tranquilidad.

[More examples here]

In the sense of "just chilling" tumbarse a la bartola (or also tirarse a la bartola) is indeed widely used (in Spain, at least) but it generally has negative connotations, as in being a loafer:

Estás todo el día tumbado/a a la bartola sin hacer nada. A ver si te buscas un trabajo ya.

(In case you're interested, the expression "tumbarse a la bartola" is said to find its origin in San Bartolomé day, on August 24, a day devoted to party and chill time when the season of the harvest was finally over.)

Some expressions with neutral or positive connotations are:

  • Relajarse (relaxing, chilling). You proposed relajando. Note, however, that the pronoun (me/te/se/nos/os) is mandatory here:

    ¿Qué haces?
    Nada, relajándome un rato.

  • Pasar el rato (lit. letting time pass by, not doing anything in particular)

    ¿Qué haces?
    Nada, pasando el rato.

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    Just to add variety, I love the expresion hacer algo de tranquis, which can be used without an activity verb to also express the general attitude of a whole timespan. ¿Qué has estado haciendo? Nada, en casa de tranquis. ¿Salimos de copas? Vale, pero de tranquis (not to get wasted). Conduce de tranquis, que vas muy tenso. Might be a bit generation bound, though, I don't know if it has a «how do you do, fellow kids» connotation to younger people. – guillem May 1 '16 at 9:46
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    @guillem Yes, that's a great one! I don't know how understood it is in other Spanish speaking countries, though. I pressume you're from Spain? – Yay May 1 '16 at 9:54
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    Yes, I am; maybe it's not only generation bound but geography bound too. – guillem May 1 '16 at 9:56
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In Colombia "taking it easy" and "just chilling", both expressions mean the same:

  • Aquí, pasándola
  • Nada, fresco, ...
  • Todo bien...
  • Nada hermano, pasándola...
  • Gozándola

Examples:

A - ¿Qué haces?
B - Aquí pasándola...

A - ¿Cómo estás?
B - Bien, fresco, todo bien.

A - ¿Cómo estás?
B - Bien, aquí gozándola...

There are a lot of variations, local variations, due to the Colombia's overwhelming diversity, however I'm from and live in Bogota, and try to use less "coloured" or "flavoured" Spanish.

However, "take it easy" and FYI, means something different, it's an invitation to calm down.

  • Just to add: it's common to answer aquí ... for the question ¿cómo estás? This is actually wrong because the question asks for a response generally using an adjective like estoy bien and not aquí estoy which answers the question ¿dónde estás? – Alejandro May 1 '16 at 20:31
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    This a common expression in Colombia, to answer "Aqui,...." Yes this word is referred to location, but it's common to use as the first word in a relaxed answer. – digitai May 1 '16 at 20:35
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    In Spain it is also common to answer Aquí, [adjective] or Aquí, [gerund] to questions like ¿Qué haces? and ¿Cómo estás?, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case for other Spanish speaking countries (maybe with Aquí/acá alternation?) – Yay May 2 '16 at 13:43

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