Learn How to Do Nothing With Dutch Niksen Concept
Between hygge , the Danish concept of coziness, and the Swedish lag that encourages balanced lifestyles, there are many trendy Scandinavian lifestyle practices that proponents claim will make you better. But if your problem is not so much finding happiness as turning off the annoying voices in your head, you can head south a bit and familiarize yourself with the Dutch nixen concept.
Nixen is a stress reduction practice from the Netherlands, which literally means doing nothing or messing around. In (un) practice, it means “doing something without a purpose, like looking out the window, walking or listening to music,” said Olga Karolin Hamming, trainer at CSR Centrum, an organization dedicated to combating stress and burnout. I mecking for Woolly Magazine magazine , where I came across this concept.
Rather than constantly focusing on what you need to do next, or switching from one task to another, niksen is the practice of slowing everything down. As Mecking writes, this is a welcome respite from societal expectations for work and productivity that permeate all cultures.
The cultural bias against inaction is widespread in the Dutch language. The popular proverb ” Nixen is nix” , for example, means “do nothing – no good.” Another popular Dutch proverb “ Doe gewoon normaal ” translates to “be normal”. In practice, this is an offer to stay busy, but not too busy; rest, but not too much. First of all, it means don’t be lazy. Be productive. Contribute.
Sounds familiar? In the US, we too are constantly being told to improve our efficiency and productivity, to work harder than everyone else, to work harder . “This word has a rather negative connotation,” Hamming wrote to me by email. “When on Monday we ask each other, ‘How was your weekend? “- no one answers:” I tried to do as little as possible. ” It’s not sexy. “
But Nixen is the complete opposite of this mentality. This is a chance, as Mecking put it, “It’s amazing to do nothing.”
“Our inner voice always says,“ Do something useful, ”says Hamming. “For myself, my family, the world … so doing Nixen is really difficult.”
The hygge mentality is appealing because it’s all about comfort. But nixen has its own appeal. As Mecking writes: “For me, hygge seems comfortable, but it takes a lot of time: you have to light candles, buy blankets and home clothes , and also involve other people in your cozy existence. I am more than happy enjoying my own company. So, given my withdrawn and quiet nature, I am more attracted to Nixen. “
Nixen is like mindfulness, a word that has been the subject of countless self-help books and articles over the past few years. But unlike awareness, niksen is not about staying in the moment and being aware of your surroundings; it’s about allowing yourself to do nothing, about letting your mind go wherever you go without feeling guilty or waiting. “I think taking nixen regularly is important for health,” says Hamming. “This is a form of mental relaxation [and] recuperation while you are awake.”
The Dutch have definitely not invented without doing anything – philosophers and writers have advertised benefits for centuries, and other cultures have phrases for similar experiences (in Italy, dolce far niente means the sweetness of inaction). Mecking notes that it is during the nixen that she gets her best storytelling ideas, a result familiar to anyone who has had a “aha moment” while taking a shower or performing some other monotonous task.
First of all, this is not laziness. According to Mecking, this is “the complete enjoyment of life’s pauses.”
“For two-thirds of their time in the wild, most animals do nothing,” says Hamming. “They yawn, look around, sit and wait for a small snack to come. Therefore, niksen seems to me a natural state. “