Hygge has blown up in popularity over the past few years for its simplicity. It’s a Danish word that, in English, basically translates to a cozy sense of comfort brought on by the perfect environment. Think: a roaring fireplace, a knit blanket, a mug of hot chocolate accompanied by a movie night or your favorite book.
It's yet another example of how the English language sorely disappoints, but hygge is no longer just a descriptor; now, retailers, influencers and the like have taken hold of hygge and turned it into a lifestyle choice. It’s a noun, an adjective, a verb: “Hygge up your life!” they say.
Well, move over hygge: Niksen is in town.The Danes may have another thing coming if the Dutch have anything to say about it. The Dutch word niksen loosely translates to “doing nothing” -- and that’s something I can get behind. It’s not so much a word, though, as it is a concept; it’s the idea of doing nothing, aka the idea I have every Saturday morning around 10 a.m. when I should be working out.
Niksen “literally means to do nothing, to be idle or doing something without any use...as long as it’s without purpose,” according to TIME and Carolien Hamming, the managing director of a coaching center in the Netherlands. It’s literally the idea of not being productive.
But niksen doesn’t want you to not be motivated. Instead, it wants you to be present in a moment, to experience the world around you as it is, rather than trying to push through it or pay little attention to your surroundings. It is, in a way, meditation without meditating.
So, why am I telling you this? Because a lot of us -- me included -- need to be reminded that doing nothing isn’t bad. We all need time to fully disconnect every now and then without responsibilities or having to answer to anybody. Otherwise, we encourage burnout and over-stressing, which is objectively not a great way to go through life.
How to practice niksen? Stare out a window and do nothing. Stretch. Daydream. Anything that isn’t actively accomplishment a goal. And feel good about it.