The monotony of multiple lockdowns, the stress of home learning, and the rise in work-life conflict have all led us to feel less than chipper about the state of our lives.
In a recent article for The New York Times, best-selling author and psychologist Adam Grant has popularised ‘languishing’ as the emotion to describe our COVID-19 world in 2021.
“Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health.” writes Adam. “You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either.”
First coined by sociologist Corey L. M. Keyes in 2002, languishing is described as the midway point between flourishing and depression.
“Imagine feeling really hungry—but psychologically and emotionally like there’s this void, this emptiness in there that you cannot fill.”
Languishing is not a mental illness, but it can be a precursor to a range of mental health issues. Pandemic health workers in Italy who were languishing in the spring of 2020 were three times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with PTSD.
The statistics are unclear on how many of us may be experiencing languishing at present, however Adam Grant’s article identified Languishing as the dominant emotion of 2021. Globally, many of us are experiencing disengagement, stagnation, fatigue and a sense of ‘meh’ in all aspects of our lives.
One of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them as it reduces our sense of isolation and helps us validate our experiences. We can further support flourishing by looking after our mental health and wellbeing by doing all those things we know are good for us but fall away when life gets busy or stressful – eating well, exercising and putting ourselves at the top of our ‘To Do’ list.
In the workplace, leaders can encourage staff to take regular breaks, create boundaries, and block out times — where possible — to achieve a state of flow at work and a sense of achievement.
As leaders in work-life wellbeing support, we’ve added a new Languishing workshop to our COVID-19 Wellness series. Our workshop delves into five practical strategies to help your people reduce languishing and increase flourishing. This workshop can be delivered as a ‘one-off’ or packaged up to best fit your organisations’ needs and budget. To find out more contact us on 1300 824 808 or firstname.lastname@example.org