There is something about Scandinavians that really shows they have got their priorities right. No not the ultimate ‘cozy’ Danish word hygge – that was so 2010s – but the new craze about the Dutch word, uitwaanien. Holland’s happy phrase is sweeping vocabularies around the world. It began as #uitwaaien on Twitter in 2017 and has since gone viral with over 80,000 uses on social media and counting.
So, what does uitwaaien mean?
Time For A Blow-Out
It simply means ‘blow out’, like the wind, and is the key to managing any situation life throws at you. Whether you feel anxious, confused, or overworked – you simply need a bit of uitwaaien!
While ‘blow out’ sounds a bit strange in English, that’s the closest translation we have. And the likelihood is that you have done it already. Another, more wordy way to explain uitwaaien is to say ‘to walk with the wind’, or ‘be at one with nature’. And when you put it like that, it does make a lot of sense.
What’s more, it’s incredibly simple. All you have to do is walk outside, and notice the feeling of the air and the wind blowing around your body as it clears your mind. See? Simple. Simple and free.
You can practice uitwaaien anywhere, with anyone, at any time. The whole idea is to walk and achieve a relaxed, clearer state of mind. If you achieve this better when walking and talking with friends, then go uitwaaien with loved ones. Likewise, if you prefer to be undisturbed then head out solo, or with your dog.
Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, you can tailor your uitwaaien trips to suit your natural body clock. And in terms of destinations, the key is – you guessed it – to be outside first and foremost. But, to really get the authentic uitwaaien benefits, try to head somewhere that you will feel the wind in your hair, for example in the countryside, or by water and of course the sea.
Don’t rush as you walk, but be sure to go at your own pace, not rushing or thinking of someplace you have to be. As you walk, concentrate on each tug of the breeze, and imagine it literally blowing your troubles away. If thoughts arise, simply acknowledge them and let them pass. It helps to focus on your breathing, which can be a good way to keep your mind free of thoughts. Remember your aim is to end your uitwaaien feeling de-stressed and serene.
So whether you have had a tough day, want to solve a problem you are mulling over, or simply want a bit of me-time, wrap up and uitwaaien!
So what else can we learn from our Dutch cousins? Well, another great word to learn is voorpret. This word represents the feeling of excitement and anticipation you get before an event such as a holiday or a party. If Dutch people are planning ahead or looking forward to something specific, they will commonly say ‘Ik heb voorpret’ which roughly translates to ‘I have positive forward expectations’!
Gezelligheid is another lovely word, which is quite similar in meaning to the Dutch word hygge, meaning coziness. However, there is a little more depth to the word than just ‘cozy’. When Dutch people use the word gezelligheid, they are speaking in a broader sense about different sorts of fun, jovial or amicable situations. These are scenarios that are united by their sense of personal comfort and togetherness.
With so many great words representing all things exciting, calming, and serene, it’s no wonder The Netherlands is often voted the happiest region in the world. And if you can’t go there, make a habit of bringing their words, and meanings into your life where you are here.
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