The New York Times recently reported that people have been experiencing a collective sense of listlessness this year. This feeling, which sociologist Corey Keyes has aptly called “languishing,” goes beyond the common indications of depression and burnout. What is peculiar about this state of mind is that we continue to thrive at work and in our personal lives. But we find ourselves in limbo on most days, and everything feels so fleeting.
Languishing is perhaps an aftermath of the extensive quarantine periods we had last year. Experts point out that intense stress causes us to switch to survival mode. But the pandemic has prolonged this defense mechanism, so we’ve been feeling so depleted despite the loosening restrictions. We’re going to have to deal with languishing for a while, but we can start revamping our routines to help us overcome it.
Get Some Tasks off Your Hands
Many of us took on DIY projects last year. Although these activities were fun during the early days of quarantine, all that experimenting seems so exhausting now as we look back on it. The “refreshing” routine we developed last year just doesn’t feel feasible now. The circumstances have changed, so it’s normal to be overwhelmed with the chores around the house.
To remedy this, list down the tasks that you can delegate to others. You can lessen your chores by hiring cleaners who can visit your home every week. Alternatively, you can ask for a deep clean once a month. Another option is choosing one portion of your house that you absolutely hate cleaning. For instance, you can bring in professional bathroom cleaners to scrub off the grime on your bathroom tiles.
You can also contact laundry and dry-cleaning professionals that offer pick-up and delivery services. This saves you a generous amount of time and allows you to reorganize your closet by airing out and rewashing clothes that you have not worn in a while.
Set a Specific Routine for One Part of Your Day
You don’t have to go overboard if you want to change up your routine. Instead of creating a full schedule for the activities you need to do every day, concentrate on one aspect of your day and set a routine around it.
How you start your morning has a significant impact on the rest of your day. Taking a shower or even just washing your face upon waking up helps you give that jolt of energy you need. This also lowers your stress levels, giving you that quick reset that you need. A hearty breakfast also helps you become more productive as you go about your day. Some people also find morning affirmations uplifting, so you might also be interested in adding these to your routine.
You can set a routine upon waking up, after a long day at work, or before going to bed. Whatever you choose, this practice will give you some sense of control and productivity without being overwhelmed with numerous tasks.
Go Somewhere Refreshing
A change in scenery improves your mood, especially after being cooped up in the house for extended periods. Taking a walk around your block or going to the park is enough to help your body release hormones that invigorate you. Hence, this gives you an added boost of motivation.
Even though you think you don’t have much enthusiasm and energy these days, make it a point to change things up anyway. This serves as a reminder that the monotonous feeling you’ve been having is temporary and that you can remove yourself from the situation, even for just a few hours.
Of course, make sure that you’ve taken the proper precautionary measures before you leave the house. You may feel apprehensive about going out, but choosing the right places to go and being vigilant about your surroundings will ensure your safety.
Consult a Professional
Languishing is not considered an official mental health condition. However, you can benefit greatly from talking to a therapist about your experiences. After all, these professionals are there to guide us as we make sense of the changes we go through. Open up about how you feel, and share the situations that have been stressing you out and practices that have been helping you cope. Your therapist can give you more insight into what else you can do to get through this time.
Toward a New Normal
Although many of us have already been vaccinated and restrictions have been loosened, we still have a long way to go in adjusting to the new normal. This includes overcoming the perplexing, languishing feeling we’ve been experiencing lately. Making certain changes in your routine and seeking the right kind of support will help you make your days more manageable and meaningful.