Languishing isn’t a new term, but it has been perpetuated in recent times. You know how we often feel joyless and aimless but not necessarily hopeless or unhappy. When you are just fine - nothing more, nothing less. There’s finally a word for this - languishing! According to a New York Times article, languishing is essentially described as a sense of stagnation and emptiness, meaning to muddle through days without much excitement, joy or even motivation.
Languishing is what one could call the neglected middle child of mental health, where psychology measures mental health on a spectrum of well-being and ill-being. It is that mid-state between depression and flourishing, namely – the exclusion of well being from your daily life. When a person languishes, they aren’t mentally ill, but they aren’t exactly a paradigm of mental health either. You aren’t depressed, but you aren’t thriving either.
Are you languishing?
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us at some point or the other have been languishing. Part of the problem here is, if you are experiencing it, you might not even notice your delight dulling or drive diminishing. When the pandemic started, it also threatened our lives. Some of us found ways to adjust to the new normal, while others sank into a state of languishing due to unrelenting fear and dread.
Agreed that 2021 brought with it the hope of vaccines and a glimpse of what the future might be. However, it has also highlighted feelings of waiting, not having control over either present or future. If you fall under this category of people who have stopped functioning at their capacity, have dulled motivation, and barely find it possible to concentrate on the task at hand, sadly, you have fallen prey to this devil called languishing.
How to cope with it?
If you are languishing, don’t beat yourself about it. Psychologists have found that giving a name to people’s feelings is the first step in the long-haul cure of this feeling. For people who are languishing are at higher risk of experiencing depression. So, the first thing to do if you are looking to cope with it is to give yourself time. Take it easy on yourself, give yourself free time and indulge in your hobbies.
The next thing you need to do is stop focusing on what should make you happy and do anything that makes you happy. As long as it’s not dangerous, it’s worth a try. You could also try changing your scenery a bit. Redecorate your work area or bedroom in case you cannot take a mini-vacation. Lastly, venting out helps - journal your thoughts or talk to someone who understands.