‘We should do a lot more of nothing in our lives.’

– Olga Mecking

Olga Mecking’s book, Niksen just happened to come out the very week coronavirus lockdown started in the Netherlands, where she lives. Niksen is about “The Dutch Art of Doing Nothing”, which ends up being amazingly apropos in a time when we are all wondering what to do with ourselves while staying safe at home. In a world where we are assaulted by an ever-ballooning number of wellness trends–and trying to fit in self-care can be as exhausting as the exhaustion it is intended to alleviate–Niksen is a breath of fresh air. Sit down for a moment with me and Olga to talk about the freeing realisation that sometimes it’s OK to just do nothing at all.

Olga tells us about growing up in a very international family, and her identity as a European. We discuss what language she and her multilingual husband and kids speak at home, how lockdown affects her career as a freelance writer, and what it’s like to try to do a book launch in the middle of a global pandemic. She tells us about practices around the world that mirror niksen by encouraging us to take a step back and take a break from our anxieties about productivity. And she gives us some great tips on how to start practising niksen to help us stay sane during quarantine and beyond.

More on Niksen:

You can read the viral New York Times article that started it all here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/smarter-living/the-case-for-doing-nothing.html

Olga’s book is currently available for purchase from sellers in the Netherlands in both English and Dutch versions.

An international release is planned for early next year. In the meantime, you can connect with Olga and talk more about niksen in the book’s Facebook group, The Nikseneers.

Or follow her on Instagram:


Photos courtesy of Olga Mecking.

This episode features music by Meydän under a Creative Commons Attribution License.