My last post was about looking for romance story ideas because my creativity had abandoned me. Part of that lack I believe to be motivation. Well, that, and being slammed at work for a year and a half. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m in the K-12 education grants game in my day job and education hasn’t looked the same for the last year and a half as it did for the previous, say, 50 years. We have to do a lot of amending.
But it appears that I’m not the only one. Michaeline’s last post was about Procrastination and Kittens. Although, it was really a wonderful reason to procrastinate (I’ve been known to procrasti-bake). And Jilly posted about needing to Take a Break because her usual creative wells have run dry.
And then on Monday, I saw a piece in the New York Times that struck a chord with me. There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. The author, Adam Grant, called it the neglected middle child of mental health and suggested that it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. His summary of how he and those in his orbit were feeling went like this:
“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.”
I like it. It fits. He called it a sense of stagnation and emptiness. And while I’m an introvert and feel like I was built for this isolation, I’m definitely feeing stagnated and aimless. My usual weekend warrior tendencies around the house have turned into a desire for a good book and a cup of tea (or wine). I just don’t feel like I’m functioning at full capacity.
“Psychologists find that one of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them.” Now we have a name for the blahs we’re feeling now. One of the antidotes in the article is “Flow” or finding that “elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge.” While that may work for some, to me that sounds like if you’re sad, just make yourself feel happy. If I’ve got the blahs and don’t feel like getting into anything, how am I going to get absorbed in nothing? Focusing on small goals sounded good and I feel like I’ve done that all along. I often say “it’s the little things.”
The one recommendation I could really use is the “Give yourself some uninterrupted time” one. My interruptions at work today were legion. I had so many projects open on my computer I thought it would crash. I’m not sure how to achieve this, but I’m going to start working on it. Tomorrow. Well, maybe Monday. Sigh.
Are you languishing? Any ideas to un-languish?
Michille, we must be on the same wavelength. I saw this same post earlier this week and totally related to it. “Give yourself some uninterrupted time” sounds like a great idea but, like you, work is making that a real challenge.
As for ideas to “un-languish”, I’ve been trying to find time, even if it’s only a few minutes here and there, to step away from the computer and work in the garden. My roses are currently in full bloom (possibly in spite of my efforts), especially the climbing roses that seem to be attempting a takeover of the house. Enjoying the blooms and taking a deep breath or two has been very helpful.
Work. Ugh. I have 13 files open on my desk right now. I keep getting distracted when I know I MUST work on this one in particular first – but then the calls, the emails, the meetings.
I need to figure out how to fit creativity and my writing back into my life. I miss it.
I’m glad you’re able to get away from your computer and into your garden. I love doing that and the sense of accomplishment I get when I’ve transformed a little patch is awesome.
Roses in April? Oh, sometimes I wish I lived in California! Sounds so lovely, Elizabeth.
Languishing–great word! The long-awaited arrival of spring wildflowers was just starting to nudge me out of my languishing state when winter swept back into southwest Ohio with actual snow the other night.
So I’m going to hunker down for the next few days and await the re-arrival spring.
I like that word, too. It’s not really negative, just kind of resting between gigs. We’re between creative gigs.
I feel like that should be written into a writer’s schedule, even if it’s not during the middle of a global pandemic. After lunch (in italics): Languish on chaise longue in white cotton eyelet nightgown from 1:15 to 1:45. Weep if necessary; remember to bring thermos of cold lemonade for 1:45 to 1:50.
Love that. I need to re-subscribe to The Atlantic and The New Yorker so I can languish with a magazine. I would feel so writerly!
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