If lately you feel like your mood is always hovering, with no emotions of grief or happiness, you may be experiencing languish.
After two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, life suddenly became overwhelming and boring at the same time. We gradually lose the motivation to get out of bed every morning to do the same sequence of activities over and over again. The constant waves of information from everywhere make us confused and struggle with mixed emotions. However, we still have to maintain what we have, such as health, work or relationships. That’s when we fall into a languishing state.
What is Languish?
Languish is the “forgotten child” of mental health. This feeling hovers between feelings of exaltation and despair. You don’t have symptoms of a mental illness like an anxiety disorder or depression, but you’re not mentally healthy either. Simply put, languish is a mental state of lethargy, emptiness, and lack of interest in life.
Languish is not a disease, but it is not harmless either. It drags down your motivation and ability to focus. You cannot reach 100% of your capacity. So things have become much more difficult than before the pandemic. Worse, this state, if prolonged, can easily “slide” into an anxiety disorder or depression in the future.
Manifestations of languish
In each person, languish manifests differently with varying intensities. But overall, this state of mind will change your behavior and feelings toward yourself, people, and the world. For example, you refuse to participate in an activity that you already enjoy. You don’t find the motivation to participate, but you also don’t understand why you don’t want to.
Some common manifestations of languishing are:
- State of mind; neither happy nor sad
- Often feel lack of motivation, the lack of purpose in life
- Feeling restless but not too nervous
- Difficulty focusing on certain tasks
- Feeling disconnected from life, work or relationships but not out of disgust
- Not finding interest in anything, including previous passions and interests
- Feeling sluggish, tired and exhausted
How to overcome the feeling of languish?
We still don’t know when life will return to normal, but we can’t stay afloat forever in the dangling emotions of languish. As mentioned, this psychological state if prolonged will leave negative effects. So we just have to deal with them.
Here are some things you can do to get rid of the languishing feeling.
In an article in The New York Times , psychologist Adam Grant suggests that a state of flow can take us away from languishing. The flow state occurs when you focus all your energy on what you’re doing, to the point of forgetting about space and time. It will help you avoid feeling tired and stay excited.
However, it’s hard to get your mind flowing if you lose focus. When we are apart, even though we have temporarily separated from colleagues and superiors, our work is still interrupted by children and tasks around the house. So you need to give yourself constant intervals. Get rid of any distractions so you can fully enjoy what you do.
Experience new activities
To stimulate the brain’s ability to focus, you can learn something more. There are many different courses available online for you to explore, from cooking skills to additional knowledge for the job you are currently undertaking or perhaps you plan to do in the future. During the learning process, set small goals and complete them. A sense of accomplishment is always accompanied by joy and motivation.
Creative activities have a similar effect. You can also try art therapy. This is a kind of therapy that helps you explore your feelings without having to put them into words.
Take the time off when you can
This may sound ridiculous at first, but once you feel bored or unmotivated, it’s time to stop and really relax. Our brain is like a machine. After working continuously, it will become too hot. In order for it not to “broken”, we must turn it off, let it cool down, and then restart it.
You can take a few days off from work or at least put the work aside for the weekend. On your days off, do only the things you enjoy, like watching movies or playing with your pet. This will dispel the heavy feeling that is taking over your mind. Thanks to that, you can return to work with a completely refreshed spirit.
Aside from that, regular exercise, eating right and getting enough sleep also play an important role in your energy regeneration process.
Change the environment
Being “stuck” in a familiar environment for too long can be boring. Therefore, you should consider changing the space around you.
You can start with small changes, such as working out on the balcony instead of in the bedroom, moving the computer to the window to see the scenery outside… You can also paint the bedroom or do some redecorating. Add some fresh flowers on the desk, hang some plants, or place some potted plants in the room.
Look for help
If you’ve tried the above methods and your mood is still not getting better, consider contacting a psychotherapist. Therapies will help you correct negative thoughts and behaviors, and learn how to deal with things in a healthy way and ease your mental state.