How’s 2021 going for you?
Honestly, I’m languishing.
“Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html)
It’s a byproduct of a rough year, a traumatic year. We lost so much, I’m not even sure we’re fully aware of what we’ve lost because we’re trying so damned hard to focus on what we’ve gained, on being positive, and on moving forward. The hard truth is that we’ve lost loved ones, jobs, freedoms, and social interaction. We’ve lost rituals and routines and habits that we worked hard to achieve. We gained crowded homes, fear, stacks of bills, anger and resentment for one another, and if you’re like me and you work in healthcare then you gained days and days of sadness and fear with no real way to release it.
It’s no surprise then that we’re languishing.
And honestly, to be languishing is probably a best case scenario.
Many people may be feeling downright depressed. (If you are experiencing depression, please talk to someone and get help. Mental health is health and yours is vitally important. (Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255))
What Does Languishing Feel Like?
- No real joy when something good happens. Apathy.
- Nothing to feel excited about
- No goals
- No ability to focus
- No ability to motivate yourself
Is There a Fix?
In the NY Times article, the author, Adam Grant, talks about an antidote to Languishing and I encourage you to read the article. He talks about giving yourself uninterrupted time, finding flow, and setting small goals. I admittedly kinda laughed at the giving yourself uninterrupted time because most of my friends are parents and…well…there just seems to be no f’ing way that is ever going to happen and finding flow requires some free uninterrupted time, right?
So that leaves small goals. I mean REALLY small goals. I call them micro goals (not so creative, I know but it paints an appropriate picture.)
Personally, I’ve always been an advocate and a HUGE FAN of setting small goals. And I will continue to sing the praises of the micro goal.
I think that during this time, if you’re languishing, or even if you’re simply struggling to achieve the goals you set for yourself, consider goals that at first glance seem completely inane.
For example, you might meditate for a minute (yes, 60 whopping seconds) or exercise for a minute or drink a glass of water in the morning or eat a vegetable. These are goals you KNOW you can accomplish, and while they’re super small, they can be tremendously powerful.
Micro goals and these tiny steps are still steps. Even if you shuffle one inch at a time across your floor, you’ll still get to the other side of the room, right? It’s still progress. And when you accomplish your micro goal, you gain just a flicker of confidence and maybe the next day you’re able to exercise for 90 seconds and drink two glasses of water during the day.
Micro goal by micro goal, we’re going to chip away at languishing and make the best of this year. I won’t promise that it will disappear, but it’s absolutely something that we can work on one step at a time.