Feeling the Pandemic Blahs?

By Mel Sim

There’s an official name for – languishing.

Ever feel like you need extra motivation to get through the day? Or tired just from reading the news and seeing social media updates? Like everything is super overwhelming but at the same time nothing’s really happening thanks to the lockdown.

More importantly, are you feeling tired, burnout, not able to concentrate on anything, and not excited about life right now, completely restless yet not knowing what you can do? You don’t necessarily feel good or bad but you’re definitely not as present as you were before. It’s becoming increasingly harder to get through the day as the lockdown continues.

This is the theme for 2021, no thanks to COVID. And there’s an actual name for it – languishing. This whole phenomenon was first coined by sociologist Corey Keyes who summarises it as “the antithesis of flourishing”. He explains further by saying “languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness where it feels as if you are muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.” It’s an interesting read here to understand that feeling you’re going through.

The main takeaway from this is that you’re not alone. Ask any of your friends and many will tell you that they are experiencing some kind of COVID fatigue. Not being able to meet friends, not being able to go back to their hometowns to be with the family, working from home all day and not being able to do anything fun anymore – this going on for what seems to be almost the entire year of 2021 can really do something to our mental health. Plus, with the numbers steadily rising every day – someone just wake us up when it is all over!

How do you cope with languishing when the pandemic doesn’t seem to be ending soon? You take baby steps. Like these:

#1 Try to take time off whenever possible
Feel like all you’ve been doing is work and nothing else? Give yourself a break – yes, you can apply for leave even when you are working from home. With work and personal life becoming one when we stay home all day, it can be a muddle. So give yourself proper free time to relax and be more productive when work – and life – becomes overwhelming. Do nothing. Or just do one thing you enjoy. Whatever it is, just spend the day recharging and focus on one thing: Yourself.

#2 Social media breaks
Social media has been a big cause of our 2021 anxiety – with your circle of friends ranting and expressing their feelings of anxiety and languishing online. Reading these social updates can make you feel like there’s really no end to it all. Do your mental health a favour and take a social media break. Don’t get sucked into the negativity that’s happening a lot online. Turn off notifications and avoid looking at your social media for a day or two. To really have a break, delete the app and install it when you are ready.

#3 Focus on one small goal
You may feel like there’s so much happening at the same time and you are being pulled in all different direction. There’s a solution to this: Just manage. You don’t have to do it all. Just focus on one small goal and get that done before you move on to the next. It can be about work or if you rather, something non work related like a craft or a book you want to finish. Make it an interesting project, a goal you can look forward to completing.

#4 Get vaccinated
Not trying to push our vaccination views on you but being vaccinated is one of the things we can do to bring the pandemic closer to an end. Herd immunity is important and we all should play our part. Those who have gotten their vaccination have reported a sense of relief, that maybe the road to normalcy might just be really happening and they can start getting excited about the future.

Photo by Cris Saur on Unsplash

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