Niksen Is the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing and It’s Our New Favorite Activity

If you're feeling a little burnt out, you need to read this.


Hygge was great. We were totally in sync with the of valuing the cozy, simple things. We also enjoyed , the Scottish concept of staying snuggly. But have you tried the most exhilarating Dutch concept of niksen — a.k.a. doing absolutely nothing?

Let us catch you up to speed so you can get to (non)work. Niksen means to do nothing, or to be idle as a form of stress relief. Appropriate activities are purposeless ones, “like staring out the window, hanging out, or listening to music,” Carolien Hamming, a coach at an organization devoted to combatting stress, told Olga Mecking for .

Niksen focuses on slowing down and opting out of societal expectations about productivity. It’s to remind you of the benefits of giving your mind a chance to recharge and reset. Take a big breath and pause.

This isn’t to say the Dutch value the sin of sloth. Mecking writes that there is a cultural bias against being goal-less, noting, "The popular proverb 'niksen is niks,' for instance, means 'doing nothing is good for nothing.'"

Rather, niksen is promoted as a way to prevent burnout from constantly focusing on work. It’s like mindfulness, but instead of zoning in, you’re zoning out.

“In the wild, most animals do nothing two-thirds of their time,” Hamming told . “They yawn, look around, sit and wait until a little snack comes by. Therefore, niksen seems to me a natural state of being.”

We agree. Now time for that snack.

[h/t: ]

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