8 Tips To Stop Languishing

I didn’t know “languishing” was the term used to describe the feeling of mid-pandemic funk until I came across it in a NY Times article, but it sure fits.

“Languishing” describes the mental state whereby we’re neither depressed nor flourishing. It’s the bit in the middle; the feeling that we’re just muddling through our day, looking at life through dirty glasses. For many, it’s fast becoming the dominant emotion for 2021.

Why? Back in 2020, our brains were in fight-or-flight mode. We were learning about the virus, how to wear masks, socially distancing ourselves, maintaining relationships whilst stuck at home and creating habits that helped us get through the day… always hoping that there was an end in sight.  But as the pandemic dragged on into 2021 and looking like 2022, an ongoing state of languish has bumped up against the high state of anxiety and anguish.

We can describe languishing as not functioning at full capacity, whilst dulling our motivation, disrupting our focus, and increasing our levels of procrastination.

Now it’s been officially identified, languishing appears to be more common that depression.

Coined by sociologist Corey Keyes, the term ‘languishing’ came about when he noticed that people generally weren’t depressed, but nor were they thriving.

But not being depressed doesn’t mean we’re not struggling. And though we might not be burnt out, it doesn’t mean we’re fired up and ready to achieve.

By recognizing and acknowledging that many of us are languishing, we can start navigating our way out and into the light. So, what can we do to get out of this funk? Try some of the following actions to see if they work for you:

1- Strive for flow. Create and complete ‘flows’. This might mean immersing yourself in a big project, such as a new product idea, or on a personal level, potting plants/gardening, or even binge watching the occasional TV show. While doing the project, turn off social media to avoid distractions. The more you can create flow, the more you will look forward to what might come next.

2- Treat yourself to regular uninterrupted blocks of time.  Even if it’s just 20 minutes to start with. Use this time to read a book, meditate or go for a walk. Anything that will allow you to loosen the grip of languish and give you time to focus.

3- Focus on a small goal, something that matters to you. It could be a chat with a friend, learning a new skill or completing a small project that’s of interest to you. Celebrating small wins will help you rediscover energy and enthusiasm. Which leads to more wins. Which leads to, you guessed it, more energy and enthusiasm. Momentum!

4- Express gratitude anywhere and anytime. Even for the smallest things. Practice gratitude regularly, even make a game of it with the family. It’s a habit worth cultivating, and you’ll be grateful you did.

5- Try to do 5 good deeds a week for others. Your act of kindness will boost others, as well as your own physical and mental wellbeing. Acts of kindness can be as small as a thank you note, positive online review or a phone call to someone who has helped you.

6- Look for connections with your local community. Energy and invigoration can come from reaching out and communicating with new people; or supporting others already in your network. The sense of fulfilment alleviates languishing.

7- Find purpose in everyday tasks and routines. Give everything that you do a sense of purpose. Research shows that routines like hanging out the washing, emptying the dishwasher and weeding, give us a sense of familiarity and purpose, even if we don’t think so at the time!

8- Try something new. Enroll in an online class, try a new recipe, take a different track on your next walk, or learn a new language. Programming fresh habits and new routines changes things up, another antidote so you can change your state of languish to one of flourish!


Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at:

Andrew Campbell

Specialist Business Advisor


0409 610 637