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Why we all need to adopt the Dutch trend of 'niksen'

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Mike Rampton
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Doing nothing is a lifestyle trend now: excellent

You know how, a few years ago, the concept of ‘being comfy’ suddenly became inexplicably trendy because there was a new word for it, hygge

It seemed kind of strange that something as intrinsic to life as curling up on a sofa and nodding off was now seen as cutting-edge and cool, but it’s always nice when laziness is treated as a positive lifestyle choice. 

Giving it a nice Danish name meant you weren’t just wearing three jumpers and sleeping under a rug with soup all over your face because you were an indolent slug - if anything, you were an influencer.

Sloth enthusiasts - who by their very nature are hypocritical, because enthusiasm isn’t slothful at all, and a truly lazy person is just sleepily ambivalent about the whole thing - are in luck, as there’s another big lifestyle trend where a fancy foreign word makes doing sweet-FA into a conscious choice you can boast about when quizzed on your weekend plans, rather than mumbling something incoherent about going to a party then getting home and spending 48 hours ingesting Pringles in front of your PS4.

From the Netherlands comes the concept of niksen, which translates literally as ‘do nothing’. SOUNDS GOOD, THANKS.

What it means, in practice, is just not doing anything specific - filling a block of time with just whatever happens. Staring out of the window, sitting on the settee listening to music, or just pottering about. Oddly, when you call it pottering about it sounds all twee and slightly rubbish, but when you say you’re “indulging in a bit of niksen” it sounds like you’re about to take over Instagram.

It’s not just about laziness though - there are high rates of stress and burnout in the Netherlands, thought to be down to a determination to always be doing something, even in downtime. Finished work? Great! Time to go rock-climbing, see a film, cook a beautiful three-course meal, go to sleep and go to work again! Lunch break? Cool! Ride your bike to the gym! Achieve things! Achieve everything! Do stuff! Dooooooooo stuff! Oh, you’ve died. Whoops!

Taking breaks from the relentlessness of life, allowing yourself a moment to slow down and stare vacantly into space exhaling a bunch, or lean against the fridge and eat a bunch of toast, or slump on the stairs and play with your keys, or just stand still and exist for a second? This sounds like good stuff, and if it takes wrapping it up in a hashtaggable buzzword, so be it. 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

(Image: iStock)

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Mike Rampton

Mike Rampton is extraordinarily old, like some sort of giant mountain.

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