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Languishing: The Feeling of 2021

Lego heads representing many emotions including languishing

Recently, I’ve found myself struggling to describe how I’m feeling. I’m stressed, but don’t have anywhere to be; I’m tired, but I’m home all day. The friends, family, and clients I’ve talked to, have all expressed feeling similarly, but no one has been able to really put a label on it. We’re all a little dull, bored, unmotivated, anxious, foggy, stressed, and generally feeling “meh”

So I went ahead and did a little research which brought me across the word: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield, and it might be the dominant emotion of 2021. Languishing is differentiated from depression and flourishing, as the middle state. The in-between state where your mental health is neither declining or thriving. Where you’re on the cusp of both but have no idea which direction you’re headed in.

Ways You Can Cope With Languishing

Although we can’t change much of the pandemic, there are a few things we can do cope with the languishing we experience as a result of it:

Give yourself time:

It seems like you have all the time in the world during a pandemic, but really you don’t right?

Set aside time during your week that’s exclusively saved for breaks. This time is uninterrupted. No cooking, no looking at emails, no answering texts.

We’ve all become too available for calls, texts, emails, and video calls through the lockdowns, and that can be exhausting.

Give yourself something to look forward to:

Remember when you used to change out of our pajamas, get dressed, pack a meal, and go wherever we needed to go? Well do the same now.

By taking time in the morning to change out of your pajamas, you are maintaining a routine that tells your body that you are transitioning from sleep to work. When we break routines of work and relaxation, our days blur and we no longer have a predictable routine to look forward to.

A change in scenery

Rather than sitting at home on your couch, go outside for a socially distanced walk. Partaking in a mindful walk or engaging in some form of physical activity could release endorphins and bolster mood. This could help release endorphins and improve mood and motivation.

If you typically work in one part of your home, move to another room every few days. Be sure to set boundaries within your own home to differentiate spaces of work to spaces of relaxation.

Focus on small achievements

Finally, you might be feeling pressure to achieve, achieve, achieve! You might be thinking that now is the time to check everything off your to-do list.

Rather than filling your time with demanding tasks, choose a challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve. Choose an activity that doesn’t require a lot of effort, but one satisfies you. In a time where we’re constantly adapting, allow yourself to have a space where you can achieve small but satisfying goals without the need to adapt.