Niksen: the New Wellness Trend
First there was hygge, the Danish concept that made staying in and getting cozy cool. Then there was lagom, the Swedish mindset of approaching life with an “everything in moderation” mindset. Unfortunately, that felt very middle-of-the-road for most people and who wants to admit that they want a bland and predictable life?
Now there’s another Northern European wellness trend that’s being embraced as a way to combat our increasingly busy and often stressful lives: niksen. The Dutch concept is as simple as, well, doing nothing.
Our Busy Lives
Our day-to-day lives continue to run at a fast-pace; people are chasing money, power, fame and wilder, faster pace of life. At present, ‘now’ has become the new yesterday and as a result, we are left time-crunched, stressed, and overwhelmed. Our willingness to try to embrace stillness within ourselves is almost nonexistent.
But what are we racing toward? These days, thanks to COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us feel the race has stopped. So what happens to all that stress caused by thinking we don’t have enough time? I’m not quite sure – but what if what is happening is actually improving our perspective?
A Move Toward Niksen
Urgency plays funny tricks on us, getting us to think we that we have fewer choices than we really do. The paradox of this pandemic is that as life around us shut down we began to marvel at having time to enjoy the simple things.
Niksen means doing nothing or, more specifically, doing something without a purpose, like staring out the window, hanging out, or listening to music. And while it may remind you of mindfulness, niksen is more about carving out time to just be, even letting your mind wander rather than focusing on the details of an action.
Adding Niksen to You Life
If you are a habitual multitask-er, practicing niksen may initially present as a bit of a challenge. Similar to meditation, it’s best to start with small periods of time and work your way up.
If you find it too difficult to just look out of the window, you can try a different version too: do the dishes plates without thinking. Or do something monotonous — like knitting.
“The habit of daydreaming helps us be more creative and face our problems better.” – Sandi Mann, author of “The Science of Boredom”
Carving out time to be idle is a crucial component of niksen. Disconnecting from your devices at a time that works best for you is shown to slow down the signs of aging and strengthen your immune system.
Niksen has another advantage: It inspires us. New ideas, leading to innovative solutions and more creative breakthroughs most often come when we’re relaxed and doing nothing special – ever had a good idea formulate in the shower? Multi-tasking on the other hand stimulates internal chaos and fragmented attention.
Stay well and remember, you don’t have to feel guilty for taking a well-deserved break. When life returns to normal – and it will – try to look back at this gift of confinement and remember how it feels to not have to be constantly “amazing” or seizing every social media moment – Ann