Did you start the pandemic thinking you were going to get a whole bunch of stuff done… and then didn't?
Are you feeling a sense of uncertainty and confusion? Almost like you don't know where your life is going or what's going on?
Unfortunately, it's common to have that happen, especially during times like this.
There's a word for it, too – languishing.
What Is Languishing?
Languishing is a pervasive feeling of discontent. It's the complete opposite of thriving, you're just getting by, doing what's necessary, but not improving yourself or really contributing much.
It can almost feel like life is passing you by, and you're missing it.
How Languishing Makes Things Worse – And Better
Most people who experience this feeling of languishing already have an unfortunate relationship dealing with anxiety and depression. It's easier to slip into the feeling of languishing because anxiety and depression share several physical traits.
And for many people, serotonin plays a critical role here. The body may not be producing enough, or the counter hormone cortisol might be interfering. It's harder for you who are experiencing this to find pleasure and happiness, or even satisfaction in the things you do.
But, for other people, brief periods of feeling languishing can help drive and motivate them. The recognition of this feeling of languish can help some people reevaluate what they're doing and set them on a path to overcome.
The big key is that the feeling itself is neither good nor bad. It's how we're responding to it. If you sink into the feeling without the drive to do more, it becomes negative.
If you find yourself in this feeling and you don't see a way out, getting help is a key factor to help you live your life. Just like coming here and reading this, we hope it gives you the motivation to reach out to someone. This could be a family member, life coach, or doctor.
Being stuck is not the end. There is help.
How To Cope And Overcome Languishing
Depending on how intense the feeling is, you can pull yourself out of it or take some of these steps and move towards getting help.
Give Yourself Permission To Take A Break
This is one for people continuously driven to do more and more. It's okay to take a break. You can give yourself time to simply be for a little while and let yourself reset.
Choosing to take a break is much different than languishing. A break has a defined end and a set goal. Even if you feel unmotivated and nothing is happening, you can be with that for a little bit, experiencing it fully before setting a timeline to let yourself start doing things again.
And remember, periodic breaks are essential for your mental and physical health.
Set Goals, Even If They're Small
Setting goals and accomplishing them gives you a sense of moving forward. They don't need to be big goals, just something to keep moving you forward.
If you feel really stuck, simple goals could be to make your bed every morning, spending 10 minutes a day reading a book, or setting a cleaning goal. Every day, you start feeling a sense of accomplishment and you can build upon that.
Learn A New Skill
Nothing gives you a sense of accomplishment like getting to a point where a skill becomes usable. This could be anything and there are dozens of websites out there that give you free access to various training. Many universities are offering their courses online for free. You may not get the credit, but you're getting the skill.
Learning a new language is one of the most popular ways to develop a new skill. It's hard, requires practice, but it helps rewire your brain. Every time you learn a new word and remember it, your brain gives you a little boost of serotonin, dopamine and reward for doing good.
This little boost on a repetitive basis can help change your outlook. And, you now have a new language to put on your resume.
There's nothing wrong with needing help. Help can come from a friend, a coach, or a doctor.
If you're feeling really bad, we recommend talking to a doctor. They may be able to help you with a short-term round of medication to move you out of the state and get you started on new habits. It's a stepping stone to feeling good about your life.
If you're not looking for medication, life coaches can help you sort out what's going on and help you gain motivation to accomplish your goals. Life coaches don't solve your problems for you. They help you by asking specific questions that let you come up with the answer on your own and provide accountability to get things done.
You have options to get help and motivate yourself to move out of the state. It may take a doctor, a life coach, a friend, or simply reading this article. We hope this takes you on another step to feeling productive and getting more done.