Niksen: the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing
Doing nothing isn't lazy — it's an art, according to this Dutch concept.
Do Absolutely Nothing
Niksen is the Dutch lifestyle concept of literally doing nothing and letting your mind wander. Psychotherapist Katie Krimer says it can help promote creativity/reduce stress and anxiety. Krimer says niksen’s stress-reducing benefits are similar to mindfulness and meditation — but there are some key differences. In theory, this means “doing something without a purpose, like staring out the window, hanging out, or listening to music,” Carolien Hamming, a coach at CSR Centrum, an organization devoted to fighting stress and burnout according to Woolly Magazine.
Instead of constantly occupying your mind with what you need to do next or bouncing from one task to another, niksen is the practice of slowing it all down. It’s supposed to be a reprieve from societal expectations about work and productivity that permeates the culture. Niksen is similar to mindfulness, a word that’s been the subject of countless self-help books and articles over the past few years. But unlike mindfulness, niksen is not about staying in the moment and being conscious of your surroundings; it’s about letting yourself do nothing, about letting your mind go where it will without guilt or expectation.
The Danish trend ‘Hygge’ was all about creating a cosy retreat at home, and the Swedish trend 'Lagom' was all about decluttering to live with just what you need, and the Finnish concept Pantsdrunk was all about being comfortable and drinking wine in your underwear to relieve stress. Niksen is the antithesis to these active concepts and gives you permission to do nothing. The biggest benefit of niksen is that by allowing ourselves to take the time to disconnect from the world, release ourselves from expectation and goals, we allow ourselves to truly relax and recharge. It also allows us to reconnect with activities that bring you joy, and process difficult thoughts or emotions positively.