“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.”Adam Grant – The New York Times
This pandemic situation is not easy for all of us. Sometimes we feel like doing monotonous life all the time and this indescribable void feeling strikes us. The uncomfortable feeling of not achieving something, doing mundane things in daily basis. It’s not burnout (yet), but somehow we just feel empty or aimless. Actually there’s this term for that feeling: languishing. It is in-between state where you’re not depressed but not feeling happy either.
Have you ever staying up until late to do something else other than sleeping? Even though you already feels very sleepy. I think recently I’ve done it too many times. Sacrificing my sleep time in order to reclaim the freedom of my free time in day time, it’s sometimes just drawing or watching or scrolling through social media. Feeling “productive” if I could against my nature of having break. Considered sleeping is unproductive and feeling guilty about it.
There’s actually this Chinese expression that can correspond with this circumstance. It is 報復性熬夜 ‘bàofùxìng áoyè’ – or ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’. The phrase, which literally translated as ‘retaliatory staying up late’.
Then, what’s the cure for this languishing thing? How to avoid it so it wouldn’t worsen to be depression? At least, it is good that we’ve given a name to this condition, so people aware and conscious about it. According to The New York Times, “flow” state can be the antidote to languishing. Enter the “flow” state where your concept of time, place, even self melts away. To maintain the pre-pandemic happiness, we have to be more immersed to our projects. Focusing your mind on task on hand, so the other things become insignificant for awhile. Give yourself some specific uninterrupted time.
I just remember this phrase from somewhere. When your body moves, your mind tends to be more passive. While your body don’t move, your mind becomes more active and then the overthinking loops happen. So, doing some physical activity can be very helpful, too.
Other suggestion is to focus on small goals. I have this little note for myself in the mirror written “Make your first small step today 👣”. As I grew older, I become more understand of my pattern habit. Most of the time I struggled to make action into reality is because my to-do-list is too overwhelming. I aimed something so big, like for example, making this blog, it’s already on my to-do-list since years ago. But now, I tried different approach to make my goals smaller and aimed for the nearest step that I can do. I changed my to-do-list become more specific, such as “write about “xxx” and just press the publish button, don’t worry, you can edit it anytime.” And here you go, I’m still very doubtful with my writing and what I want to do exactly with this thing. However, I just try to push myself to really doing something real, and not just think about it only.
“We all have to start somewhere, and doing something better than nothing at all. Start small so you don’t discouraged and give up. Remember it is all about consistency.“– Khloe Kardashian
Take control of yourself. Challenge and push yourself a little bit more. You don’t have to do the important work, just choosing to do things that meaningful to you, it’s enough. Small yet meaningful. So, what matters to you most?