Do you find yourself struggling to find motivation, lacking focus and energy? You are not flourishing – taking on every new day as an exciting adventure and you’re not depressed – feeling drained and hopeless. This in-between feeling you may be experiencing is called languishing, and it is a very common emotional response to the adjustment we have had to make over the last year.
Languishing is a sense of emptiness, the absence of well-being, and feeling like you are going through the motions without fully experiencing every aspect of life. This might feel blurry, foggy, and aimless. Languishing brings with it a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, feeling burnt out, and apathy – the lack of interest in activities that used to bring you joy. There are a few ways to reduce the symptoms of languishing to help find that joy that you may have been missing out on.
Find a new hobby. Give yourself something to look forward to whether that is a new type of exercise, cooking, reading a good book, colouring, or playing an instrument. When you take up new, and potentially challenging, activities, you are immersing yourself and your senses in a different environment, thus shifting your attention from your everyday life. This can reduce your stress level, increase your motivation, and help you concentrate.
Give yourself a break. When we are overwhelmed, we often feel like we should or should not do certain things. Maybe you should work overtime, maybe you shouldn’t take our lunch break because we have a deadline, maybe you shouldn’t watch that additional Netflix show. When a car’s gas level is on empty, we must refill the tank. The same concept applies to us. We need to refill our tanks when we are running on empty. Try to remind yourself that it is okay to take a break and that you deserve to rest.
Reach out for support when needed. As humans, we are social beings and require socialization to thrive. If you continue to feel apathy, overwhelmed, and foggy and are struggling to make it through the day, consider talking to a loved one, colleague, or a mental health professional. This can remind you that you are not alone, you can share your experiences, and you may be able to learn some new and beneficial coping strategies.
As we begin to return to this new normal, remember that this will be an adjustment as well. Take it one day at a time, recognize and acknowledge your limits, and be kind and compassionate with yourself, knowing that you are doing your best.