April 29, 2021

The Emotional Edges of the Pandemic - Languishing

Source:  NYSUT Social Services
Woman Languishing

As we move past vaccinations and the possibility of increased freedom during this pandemic, many are finding themselves anxious and or indifferent about moving forward. One may be asking yourself the question: “what is wrong with me?”   Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of Business has discussed this feeling as languishing.

“Languishing is defined as the void between depression and flourishing-the absence of well being”.  You may not have symptoms of mental illness but you’re not functioning like you used to and worried about your mental health over time.  Languishing is not clinical depression but may dull your motivation, ability to focus and makes you feel a sense of stagnation and emptiness, maybe even joylessness and aimlessness.  It may be the prominent emotion post pandemic for many of us.

One of the dangers of when you are languishing is that you don’t notice your decrease in drive and enjoyment.  You may be slipping into solitude by choice and become indifferent to your feelings and suffering.  If you don’t recognize it you may not seek help or even try to do something to help yourself. Naming the emotion is the first step in finding strategies for managing languishing.   Although there is much to still be learned about this state of being, here are some suggestions .

  1. Talk to someone about what you are feeling. There is no need to feel guilty or ashamed for not feeling better because life may be getting less restrictive.   You may find that it is more common then you think and if you name it, there will be some relief in knowing you are not along and can do something about it.
  2. Find “flow” in your life.  Flow is the elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond where you lose your sense of time, place and self.  Hobbies and daily structure  are often areas where you can find flow.  Even binge watching of TV can sometimes help you lose yourself as long as that is not the only thing you are doing.

The good news is that it is manageable may be time limited.  However if you find that you are struggling and need to reach out to someone to make a plan, you can call NYSUT Social services at 518-732-6239.