First there was “hygge,” the Danish concept of embracing winter, staying inside and cozy, relaxing and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Now there’s another European trend aimed at helping us cope with our stressful lives: niksen.
The Dutch word “niks” literally translated means “nothing.” Turn niks into a verb, and you’ve got niksen, meaning “doing nothing.”
Niksen means not doing anything at all, or at least, not doing anything with a purpose. Think of it as looking out the window or at your surroundings, or listening to music, or simply letting your mind wander. There is no one size fits all approach to niksen. Experiment what works for you – the only thing that matters is that you do absolutely nothing at all.
The benefits of niksen are wide-ranging. There is plenty of research that shows that rest and relaxation contribute to reducing anxiety and stress, strengthen the immune system, and even curtail the aging process.
I came across Dutch author Annette Lavrijsen’s book Niksen: The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing when I was researching this practice, and of course, the adorable cover drew me in. The book is a wonderful guide to niksen, full of fantastic advice on how to incorporate it into your life.
“Imagine a world in which you stop trying to optimise every single moment, and instead spend your time on the things that truly matter,” writes Lavrijsen in the book’s introduction. “This is niksen – the power of pause – the Netherlands’ counterintuitive answer to almost any issue.”
In the book you will learn
- how you, too, can have the Dutch peoples’ amazing work life balance.
- how to reset your priorities.
- how to master time management and carve out time for doing nothing.
- how a niksen state of mind leads to a happy, harmonious life.
The book is available from Amazon, and the book’s Amazon page shows a sample of some of the exercises that will help you master niksen.
As cat parents, we already have a leg (paw?) up on learning how to niks. If there’s anything more relaxing in the world than watching a cat sleep, I really don’t know what that would be. That’s niksen. Sitting in a comfortable chair, with your cat curled up on your lap? Niksen. Listening to your cat purr? Also niksen.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you feel that there’s too much doing and not enough relaxing in your life, this book is for you.
If you’re not already practicing niksen, how about starting this weekend? How will you incorporate niksen into your schedule?
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