Do you currently feel stuck or in a sort of limbo where you can’t actually access all the goods that life has to offer? Don’t worry, life itself can many times be overwhelming and not engaging enough. Couple that with a global pandemic, and your problem now has a name: languishing.
he term languishing is the complete opposite from flourishing. More specifically languishing is a sense of apathy or overall lack of interest in life. However, languishing is not a mental illness, rather than a series of emotions. These emotions vary from stagnation, to monotony and emptiness. To put it simple, languishing is that ‘’blah’’ feeling many of us feel, especially the last couple of years, with each task requiring a search for motivation much more than ever before.
What is more, while languishing is not new, with the pandemic going on for two years now, people are experiencing it. People who are experiencing languishing, say that, as far as their mental health is concerned, they have not necessarily felt good or bad, but they do not feel as present as they used to be. This along with the lack of focus can make every task much more draining than before.
While most of us slowed down when the pandemic started, giving ourselves time to relax, when our ‘’normal-life’’ responsibilities came back, we had the same busy routine, but for some reason, less energy. The fact is that being home for almost two years now, everything has started to become one and there is difference between being at home and being at work. In fact, online classes and remote working are some of the main factors for languishing, as they do not separate different aspects of our lives.
Furthermore, while others say they do not have energy, others report the same, but with sudden bursts of energy when they are about to start something new. However, this does not last for much, as once it becomes a habit, motivation vanishes once again,
How to deal with languishing?
So how can you actually deal with languishing, when you do not have motivation to do anything? A very good first step would be to make the effort to reconnect with family and friends as much as possible. That way, you will be able to rediscover new ways to experience joy and adjust better to the new normal. Furthermore, by remind yourself of your values and looking for the silverlining, you will find new ways to get creative and live a value-driven life even with the ongoing trials and restrictions of the pandemic.
#1 Take a break
Like every machine, a human brain needs a break from workloads. In fact, the combination of the increased amount of work with no day-off leads to exhaustion, and lifelessness, thus further connecting a person to languishing. However, by taking a few moments away from the daily pressure can help a person flourish and feel more motivated. To do that, establish fixed blocks of time for both work and recession. By setting a certain time in which you can rest, you will be able to clear out constant distractions, as well as lack of concentration, and you will also feel more productive.
#2 Find your flow
According to positive psychology, flow is a state of mind where someone is completely focused in any task. This can be a professional, intellectual or physical task. During the flow, one can feel like they are in total control, as well as satisfaction.
In order to reach this ‘flow’ state, one can take a meaningful challenge or engage themselves in anything that they know they will make them lose track of time and place. This could include playing music, watching a movie or TV series, painting. By immersing in these enjoyable activities, you will eventually see that you will stop having the blah feeling and start thriving again.
#3 The importance of small achievements
While small, achievement is still an achievement. We should acknowledge our small moments and victories, as they help us ensure our well-being and flourish. Namely, just by noticing good things around, and making tiny achievements, one can find again their enthusiasm and rediscover some of the positive energy lost in this emotional dilemma.
For this reason, find some time from your daily routine and complete anything that matters to you such as completing a painting, having a meaningful conversation with someone close or finishing an interesting project.
#4 Do good deeds
Acts of kindness can increase your feelings of happiness, confidence, hopefulness and be in control. For example, helping a friend to complete a task, sharing the responsibilities of household chores with family members, and donating blood can significantly increase one’s well-being. In fact, people that report feeling languishing can experience higher levels of optimism, belonging, happiness and purpose in life, by making good deeds. What is more, volunteering in different social activities that support the poor and distressed people can also improve well-being and lead to a ‘flourishing’ state.
#5 Change scenery
Enjoying a beautiful place in nature or just changing your road to work can make wonder. As a matter of fact it is incredible how much changing the physical view can be refreshing. During quarantine many people have found refuge in nature walks, or walks with a friend, as they create needed space.
This is because taking part in a mindful walk or engaging in some form of physical activity could release endorphins and bolster mood. Moreover, when possible, create a designated space to work separate from where you relax. This will help you manage negative emotions, as you will step out of your digital ‘cave’ and stimulate your senses.