If you have been feeling like you are lethargic, unproductive, slightly anxious and possibly a little sad, you are not alone. The past weeks have seen more sombre news, we are still in the midst of a pandemic as new variants rage across the globe and few borders are open.
What is Languishing?
Sociologist Corey Keyes coined the term “languishing” – possibly the emotion of the year. Languishing is the antithesis of flourishing. Keyes was struck by how people who were not depressed were also not thriving. This means not feeling good and not functioning well in life. Data also showed higher rates of mental illness, missed days of work, cardiovascular disease, physical health conditions and medication.
Studies on pandemic health care workers in Italy suggested that those who languished in Spring of 2020 were much more likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder compared to their peers.
Of course, the man in the street might not face such serious mental illnesses. But we are all affected one way or rather with varying levels of severity. For those who are languishing, here are some tips to help you cope with this state of ‘stagnation’.
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3 Ways to Beat “Languishing”
Acknowledge the emotions you have
First, recognise that you may be languishing. It is only human to feel down and out for a while and it is perfectly fine. Identifying this sensation of being less energetic, unproductive and slightly blue is one step towards thriving. You will also be surprised how others are feeling the same way. Talk about it and perhaps that can even be a cathartic release.
Take a break
Whether it’s a break from work, a break from chores, give yourself some rest time. Take a long walk, read a book, outsource meal preparation, stop watching COVID-19 numbers and take time off.
Disconnect, go off the grid so that you have time, space to recharge. You might feel more recharged after that short time of recuperation.
To get the children occupied while you rest, get them to tune in to audiobooks while you tune out. Or send them over to a reliable babysitter like Grandma.
Learn a new skill or hobby
Pick up a skill that you have always wanted to learn. Juggling, growing house plants, punch needling -there are plenty of tutorials online.
Learn to play the guitar, basic Korean, drawing cartoons, meditating – courses are available at your fingertips. Without giving yourself too much stress, take your time to learn the skill and enjoy it. This may also help you feel more productive.
You are Thriving when You are Languishing
There is a saying “Dead ducks don’t flutter.” As we languish, this is a sign of life. Let us acknowledge our struggles that may be more common than we think. Together, we can support one another to thrive better. Know that you are not alone, take heart that while there are many things out of our control, we can focus on our spheres of control and count our blessings daily.