The Dutch art of doing nothing

Updated: Jan 16



Lounching around on your couch on a easygoing sunday, an uncomplicated book (My favorite is The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking) to read and every now and then just staring out of the window for a few minutes. Nothing in particular to look at, nothing in particular to think about. Just being. Doing nothing. Niksen.


Do you recognize it? It wasn't anything I really ever thought about. it just was my way of an easygoing day to get some rest, a day where I don't have to do anything. Then I read the article in the Happinez Kids and later in the AD where they were talking about niksen. Apperently niksen is a thing.


What is niksen? For me it seems to be something in between mindfulness and daydreaming. Is that possible? Sure. When I am doing nothing (aan het niksen ben) I switch between the two of them, in a relaxed way. Just staring out of the window or into the flames of a woodburning stove or fireplace can do the trick. Taking a sip of your tea and just enjoying the moment. The most important goal? There is no goal. You don't have to accomplish anything. And that is exactly what is so enjoyable about it. A break from having to do anything.


For me it always came pretty naturally. Sitting underneath a tree to relax during the breaks in primary school wasn't anything unsusual for me. Going for a walk with my dogs in the forest or park and sit down on a bench or tree for a while. Or staring out of the window in a train. The trick is to keep your phone out of it. We are so used to finding something to distract us, keep us busy (whether productive or not) that we tend to bury ourselves into our screens on autopilot whenever there seems to be nothing going on for a second. We are bored so much easier than we need to be. Besides, is a little boredom really that bad? In those instances you can try niksen. Just take the time to do nothing.


Maybe an idea for a new book in the Hygge style?

The Little Book of Niksen, The Dutch guide to doing nothing.

To be honest, I would be the first one to buy that book.


I think these days it is so important to take the time for niksen. I deliberately say take the time because if we don't take it, it often doesn't happen at all. We are so good at filling up our planners, busy busy busy. However especially when we are so busy, you need the time to relax, to recover. Time where you don't have to do anything, time to give your body and mind a much needed break. So when you notice that you are always busy and taking that time for youself just doesn't happen or something pops up that seems more important, plan that time for yourself. Whether it is a full day or one hour each day doesn't matter. But plan that time, if needed write it down in your planner and treat that time as if it were an appointment.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/smarter-living/the-case-for-doing-nothing.html

https://www.volkskrant.nl/de-gids/niksen-op-z-n-nederlands-schijnt-iets-begerenswaardigs-te-zijn-zo-doe-je-het~b2b27f0d/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ecosia.org%2F

https://woollymag.com/culture/the-new-dutch-trend-thats-better-than-hygge.html


That was it for today. Goodluck with the next steps on your bridge. I wish you all the happiness and an amazing day.


❤ Eva

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