Business,  Creative,  Health & Fitness,  Mindfulness

Creatives & entrepreneurs need time to sit around and do nothing- Meet Niksen

Imagine a practice that allows you to just sit around and do nothing. That is, without feeling guilty about it of course. 


Meet Niksen– The Dutch concept of doing nothing. The wellness community is starting to realize that this Dutch practice of giving yourself time to do nothing and just “be” can actually be revitalizing and beneficial to your well-being. 

Europeans have a way of inventing practices that can help us combat our increasingly busy and somewhat stressful lives. First, there was Hygge– the concept of staying home and getting cozy. Then there was Lagom– the Swedish concept of approaching life with moderation. And now, Niksen. 

What is it?

Niksen literally means to do nothing, to be idle or to sit around without any use. Whether you’re dealing with stress or recovering from burnout, engaging in this practice could be as simple as just hanging around, looking at your surroundings or listening to your favorite playlist. And the catch? You have to do all of these without purpose. They are not done in order to achieve something or be productive. 

Simply sitting on a chair or looking out of the window are forms of Niksen. The contrast between Niksen and mindfulness practices is that where mindfulness is about being present at the moment, Niksen is more about making time to just be and letting your mind wander rather than focusing on the details of a particular action. 


Research shows that the idea of doing simple tasks that allows your mind to wander can foster creative problem-solving, thereby improving your ability to work through a creative rut. One way to promote relaxation in our lives is to discover what ways of relaxing suits you best. Moments of relaxation coupled with easy, semi-automatic activity like knitting is one aspect of the ‘art of living’. There is no one size fits all approach. The most effective method is through trial and error. 

Are there any potential benefits?

In the Netherlands and many parts of the world, like in Africa for example, Niksen, or the practice of sitting around has historically been dismissed or viewed as laziness and the opposite of being productive. As stress levels rise globally, with its crushing health impacts like burnout, doing nothing is now increasingly being seen as a positive stress-deducing activity. People are seeking out ways to bring back ease and connection in their lives. Slowing down, for instance, has its own perks too. From emotional advantages like reducing anxiety to physical ones like curtailing the aging process and strengthening the body’s ability to fight off a common cold, with health benefits such as these, why wouldn’t the most hectic and overburdened among us consider carving out time to practice Niksen?

For Creatives and Entrepreneurs, the practice of Niksen is invaluable. I remember a time when I felt stuck in my life. A career I once enjoyed had take a bad turn and fear reared its ugly head. It was time to choose a different path but I was stuck at a crossroads. Literally. I knew that I needed to come up with ideas that could help me move forward. But I could not, no matter how hard I tried. I could not think of anything. Nada. Zilch. Zero ideas. I almost gave up. 


To combat the creative rut I had found myself in, I spent over 2 months just sitting around and doing nothing. My daily routine consisted of breakfast, a friendly neighborhood walk with my dog Steffy, and then returning home to sit on my couch and pet my dog’s back. After consistently doing this for over 2 months, by the third month something interesting happened. One day, I opened my iPhone notepad and tons of ideas started pouring in. They flooded in so much that I had to transfer the notes to an actual notebook. At the time, I had not fathomed that what I was doing was in fact already being done in some other part of the world, as a practice that they named Niksen. 

The practice of Niksen helped me come up with new ideas. Even in moments when I was doing nothing, my brain was still processing information and was able to use the available processing power I had to solve the pending problems I was experiencing. It helped me boost my creativity and problem-solving skills. After my third month, I manifested several breakthroughs in my life and business. Many great business ideas began revealing themselves while I was busy daydreaming. I noted all of them down, and within a few months to a year, I built a brand, launched a podcast, and a blog, and wrote a book! You can find all of my resources in the home section of this blog. 


The biggest takeaway I received from practicing Niksen and allowing my mind to wander was its ability to help me build up the inspiration I needed to achieve my goals. I gained immense clarity about what actions to take in order to meet those goals in the future. 

How to practice Niksen

To experience the full-effects of Niksen, you should be willing to push through the discomfort of being still and doing nothing. One app I used and highly recommend for those starting out and for accountability is the Calm app. From taking a few minutes each day to do this to working up longer stretches, ideally reserving one evening a week without appointments and obligations can help free us from obligations for just a moment. 

Are there possible downsides to this?

While the practice of sitting around idle and doing nothing may sound tantalizing to some, a drawback of letting the mind wander for too long would be getting caught up in ruminations and overthinking rather than feeling refreshed. This can lead to psychological, psychosocial and physiological effects. Leaving the mind to wander on for too long may lead some to have trouble falling asleep at night. Training the mind to wander in a way that’s imaginative and creative is associated with higher life satisfaction. Daydreaming especially about family and friends is associated with higher life satisfaction. 

If you’re looking to try Nikse, start slow. Start small. Some starting practices could be taking a walk in nature for a few minutes, or writing a letter of gratitude. A word of caution for anyone looking to practice Niksen would be this – it’s not practical to practice Niksen constantly. We can’t do sit around and do nothing all of the time. But carving out time to be idle, balanced with an active lifestyle can maximize the benefits of Niksen. Balance is key here, my friends. 

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**Erica weaves themes of transformative hope and grace-filled leadership into everything she shares on her blog. She’s an author, a speaker, and a life coach, who offers honest encouragement and road-tested wisdom about topics ranging from leadership and lifestyle, to discovering your God-crafted identity, design, and purpose.

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