If you’ve paid any attention at all to the internet for the past year or two, then you’ve probably heard about hygge. Need a little refresher? Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for the feeling of cosiness and conviviality that we all strive for, bolstered by a sense of wellness and contentment. Think glowing candles and your favourite tunes with friends all around you. Sounds pretty good, no?
And while we certainly wouldn’t turn down a bit of hygge, particularly with fall just around the corner, we’re far more interested in a concept that’s a little closer to home: niksen. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the art of doing nothing, and it originated right here in the Netherlands.
With our increasingly busy lives, it’s important to take care of ourselves. There’s a reason that the self-care industry is booming. And while you could certainly buy tons of products to help you chill out or invest in expensive meditation courses, we think that one of the best ways to reduce stress and take care of yourselves is pretty damn simple. You simply do nothing.
It may sound boring or unachievable, but niksen is actually pretty great. It can be as simple and easy as hanging around, taking store of your surroundings or listening to your favourite music. All of these things are perfect ways to practice niksen, as long as you’re doing them without purpose, as long as you’re not trying to be productive or achieve something. Because if you have a goal in mind, then, we’re sorry to say, you’re not doing it right.
It may sound similar to mindfulness, and in some ways it is. But there’s one big difference: when you are practicing mindfulness, your aim is to be present in the moment; when you practice niksen, you are merely making time to just be.You can stare into space, you can let your mind wander. It’s all good. It’s all niksen!
Historically, many viewed niksen as laziness or being unproductive, but these days, we are reclaiming the practice and transforming it into something positive. With stress levels reaching an all-time high, niksen can be the refuge we’ve all been looking for. Studies have shown that slowing down, as you would when practicing niksen, has myriad benefits, from strengthening the immune system to reducing anxiety to curtailing the aging process. This stillness and inactivity is also good for the brain, as it can encourage you to dream up new ideas with the brain freer to wander and problem-solve.
We realise it may feel a little uncomfortable at first, as we are all so used to doing something at all times. But we promise, it will get better. You should forge onward and move past the discomfort, and eventually you will look forward to the small moments of niksen each day. Your mind and your body will be all the better for it. Dare to do nothing!