The term comes from the Latin “languere,” which means to be weak or faint and encompasses feelings of monotony, too. Not surprisingly, it’s something people around the world are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic. The uncertainty that continues to hang like a blanket over our lives as a result of the coronavirus has created an inability or unwillingness to make decisions and through this confusion, we find ourselves languishing.
In an interview with Health, psychologist Sheila Forman describes the feeling as the “pandemic blues” and says its pervasiveness is hardly surprising. “For over a year now the majority of Americans have been asked to stay at home, work at home, do school from home, shop, play, and socialise at home.” She continues, “At first, for some, it was a welcome respite from the daily grind. But as time went on and the realities of the pandemic sunk in, what started as a nice way to spend some time became our lives and with it a heightened sense of sadness, loneliness, and depression.”
Importantly, there is a difference between languishing and depression. “It’s not a mental illness, as it doesn’t have the intensity or duration of symptoms of depression or anxiety,” explains Dr Gayani DeSilva, MD to Health. “But it’s also not a feeling of thriving.”
At a time where toxic positivity now floods social media, it’s important to note that if you do feel yourself languishing, don’t beat yourself up about it. Rather, sit in it and experience it fully. That said, there are steps to shake off those feelings of emptiness that you can take, like practising basic self-care; eating nutritious meals, exercising, connecting with friends and family. You can slo practice journaling, outlining what you’re thankful for or the things you love about yourself. If the feelings persist, or you feel a stronger feeling of anxiousness, sadness or that it’s affecting your ability to function, then consider making an appointment with your therapist. The main takeaway though is that whatever you’re feeling, you’re not alone.