I was at a garden party at the weekend, the first one since I don’t know when! My husband was seriously worried about how I was going to show up as he was convinced I needed to be socialised again post Covid. Apart from socialisation, there is something else we need to worry about post Covid and that is: Languishing.
Sociologist Corey Keyes first coined the term languishing, which he identified to be a condition that is the opposite of thriving, but not depressed or hopeless. It is a sense of restlessness matched with the lack of interest in life and the general things that typically bring a person joy.
I realized that a lot of working mothers may not be aware when they are in a languishing state. They do know that they are not depressed, but they attribute their lack of motivation to physical exhaustion just because of the unrelenting pace of their lives. But the feeling of not being bothered about not being bothered, maybe something to explore and understand in order to overcome and get yourself feeling more energized.
Data supports that around 42% of women in the workplace (compared to just 29% of men) report unhappiness as a consequence of competing life roles and more pressure to “juggle.” Add Covid into the mix, a year of uncertainty and suddenly, languishing doesn’t seem so bad.
In Europe, not just the UK, there have been studies that show poor self-reported health among most working adults but surprise, surprise, this is higher for women.They are busy taking care of everyone else and their needs get pushed to the end of the queue.
How to Recognize If You’re Languishing?
The symptoms are too common that you can easily mistake it for so many different things.
- Do you scroll mindlessly on your phone before getting out of bed in the morning?
- Are you having trouble concentrating?
- Even though you feel like you have the energy, you don’t feel any excitement to do anything productive?
- You’re certain that you are not unhappy, but just missing that urge to go out there and be your amazing self.
- Nothing is wrong but nothing’s right either?
- It’s not burnout, but the main feeling is aimlessness.
- You feel you have lost your mojo and you are convinced it is just a passing phase.
If you can relate to any of the above, chances are you are probably in the state of the big L.
What To Do About It?
It won’t be easy to get the sluggish feeling out of your system. But of course, there are ways to cope.
One of the quickest things you can put into practice is giving yourself permission to have snatches of pleasure here and there. Nothing involved, just start with the little things. Know that self-care is pivotal do things in the four wellbeing areas of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Have walks in nature, spoil yourself in little ways, that mid afternoon cup of peppermint tea with dark chocolate. Read a chapter of a book. Stop and breathe deeply for a minute or two. Write in your journal.
You might not feel the difference at first, but just as languishness crept up on your, little by little if you keep on doing the little things, you will rediscover joy and feel a sense of satisfaction. The idea is to infuse every day with tiny doses of happiness, no big deal, but before you know it, you will be bouncing out of bed again.