Reflection Friday: Are You Languishing, and What Can You Do About It?

October 29, 2021   |   Lesli Mones

As we head into the last few laps of the year, many of us might be realizing we’re just not where we hoped we’d be.

Perhaps we thought the pandemic would be in the rear-view window. Maybe we thought we’d be back in the office, or hosting big holiday gatherings, or sending kids to school full-time and worry-free. 

Maybe we just thought things would feel easier… less stressed. Whatever it is, we often describe it as a pervasive feeling of ‘meh.’ Social psychologist Adam Grant more eloquently calls it languishing

He describes it as “a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”

You’re not depressed, but you’re not buoyant either. This feeling of languishing can sap your energy, dry up your creative juices and ultimately leave you less productive and ambitious in all areas of your life. 

Sound familiar?

One Solution for Languishing

So, what can we do about this “blah” so many of us are feeling? Grant gives some tips in his New York Times article (well worth the read), but something else we’d like to propose is this: learn something new

Learning something new forces you to use a different part of your brain; it challenges and excites your senses and gets you out of your daily grind.

This “new thing” doesn’t have to be big or important – in fact it can be small and silly. But it just must be new. Something you’ve always been interested in, but never had time for. Something unrelated to your daily job that you would never find on your regular to-do list. 

Playing an instrument, cooking a certain cuisine, watercolor painting, a new language… the options are endless. But if you have trouble thinking of something, here are a few thought starters to get the wheels in motion: 

  • Think back to your childhood:
    • What games did you love to play?
    • What books ignited your imagination?
    • How did you spend your time before the responsibilities of adulthood started piling up? 
  • If you’re jealous of someone, what are they doing with their life that makes you feel that way?
  • If you were financially secure, what would you do with your time?
  • What do you daydream about? 

The key here is to not set the bar too high. Don’t pick something too difficult, as the purpose is learning something new, simply for the pure joy of it. When’s the last time you gave yourself that kind of gift?

We’d love to hear what you decide to learn – or, if you have any other tips for shaking those feelings of languish. Drop us a line at [email protected], or chat with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter!