Are you SAD… try ‘niksen’

October 26, 2020by Helen Perkins


FALLING temperatures, combined with darker nights as the clocks go back, for many people signal low mood, lethargy and in extreme cases depression. Some people refer to this as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), said to be the result of lack of sunlight.

Some folk crave ‘comfort’ foods like stew and dumplings, eating more cake and puddings to cheer themselves up. I have clients who present with these symptoms, who feel ‘out of sorts’ for no obvious reason and I always reassure them they are not alone at this time of year.

A session of Bowen therapy or reflexology might help to relax mind and body, relieve tension and reduce stress levels. And each one of us will have our own favourite way of enjoying some #metime such as a simple walk to enjoy the colours of Autumn.

I have also been hearing about ‘niksen’… the art of doing nothing. This Dutch concept is all about allowing yourself to enjoy some personal time without having to fill it with ‘doing’. It is said to reduce stress and increase a sense of personal contentment which could balance out some of those negative SAD feelings.

I asked a Dutch colleague to explain and she summarised it like this: doing something without a purpose. A stroll, lying back on the sofa and allowing oneself to daydream, sitting with the cat on your lap or gazing idly out of the window. Niksen is quite different to relaxing with a book or watching television.

I like this idea, and where appropriate I am suggesting to clients they reward themselves with niksen after each task… from rushing around the supermarket, doing the ironing, meeting a work deadline or any one of those dozens of daily chores and responsibilities that we all face.

As the nights draw in, making you feel a bit down, anxious or isolated, perhaps niksen offers a welcome alternative. My treat is to light a candle, lock the door and relax in a warm bath – with a handful of Bexters Bath Crystals of course – try it, you might be surprised at the result!

Helen x


Helen Perkins

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Copyright by Helen Mary Perkins 2023. All rights reserved.

Copyright by Helen Mary Perkins 2023. All rights reserved.