The year 2021 bought a sign in hope in the form of the Covid-19 vaccine. As vaccination began for the country, and with a decrease in the cases there was hope that we could put the horrors of the previous year behind us.
But with the new wave of Covid-19 cases, the terrible state of medical supplies and the reimposition of lockdown has left us all feeling "blah". Honestly, there is no better way of describing it. There is rather nothing else we see on our social media too. Most stories are an attempt to find either Remedisivr or oxygen beds for relatives. Most posts are aimed at uncovering the terrors that people are going through.
In my most honest opinion, these are one of the worst times (current generations) people have seen. The thought of having to see your parents breathe their last breath as they wait for oxygen is haunting. Seeing your young children die of Covid related complications is nothing but terrifying. But is there an answer for this?
The talk about politics or how the government has failed to provide for its people also feels redundant now. Because, no matter how much we question or try to find answers to these questions — there is no answer.
The entire situation has felt us all feeling empty and still; almost stagnant. It is not that we do not have the energy to work or do something new. It is just that everything has begun to feel pointless. Don't you also feel that way? This feeling of "blah" all the time. Nothing left to say or do, just survive.
Surprisingly there is a term for it: Languishing. A paper on Jstor.org defines languishing as a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It almost feels like you are looking at your life through a foggy windshield, where all your days are just hazy.
While the lockdown in 2020 was dominated by a spirit of "we are in this together" and "being hopeful" it is now becoming increasingly difficult to look at the brighter side. Last year social media was flocked by trending recipes, DIY projects and people taking up hobbies. Though sometimes exhausting, the overall picture looked positive. But this year, the picture is completely different.
According to a survey by Local Circles, barely 13 per cent who needed Covid ICU beds were able to procure them through routine processes. Whereas 55 per cent had to use connections or bribe to get beds. Most people have also had to use clout/connections, overpay or pay bribes to secure COVID management drugs like Remdesivir & Tocilizumab.
These are the grim realities of our time.
Psychology understands mental health based on a spectrum of depression to flourishing. Depression is the extreme low where the feeling of being despondent, worthless or drained dominates every feeling. Whereas flourishing is the peak of well-being when a person feels a sense of meaning, accomplishment and mattering to others dominate their mind. But 2021 has left us hanging somewhere in between all the time. That somewhere is the "middle child" as termed by The New York Times that we often underestimate.
Languishing is the absence of well-being where you are not yet mentally ill, but also not in the ideal mind frame. Because of this, you are not functioning at your full capacity, at the same time, not unwell enough to keep work aside.
Languishing dulls your willingness to work and even challenges your ability to focus on your work. According to a study on mental state, languishing can triple the odds that you’ll cut back on work. Additionally, it is also more common than major depression.
Hence, it is possible that when most of us say we feel depressed, we are mostly just languishing.
Honestly, it doesn't! Considering the time we are living in, languishing, depression or any other feeling that we might experience can possibly have no bright side. But the stigma attached to depression is so much, that better understanding your emotions can be an effective way to start dealing with them correctly.
Don't worry, I am not here to suggest meditation or any form of crash-course into becoming happy. But the answer to your languishing is simple. Research talks about a concept called "flow" that can help with the languishing feeling.
What is it you ask? Simply put, flow is immersing yourself in whatever you do. Be it work, be it watching anything on Netflix or even household work. A study suggests: Flow is an elusive state of being immersed in an activity or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self goes away.
Too complicated? There is not much to be done to fix languishing. But what we can do is to focus on what we have in hand and immerse ourselves in it. It talks about being so involved that you lose the touch with your reality and completely give in to whatever you are doing. A momentary exit from where we are.
Apart from this, it is important to have small short-term goals that give you a sense of accomplishment and a sense of moving forward. We as humans have a strong need to move forward at all times. If today we are at three, being at point five tomorrow. But being at point two will only drag us down. But these achievements might not be possible in your work life at all times, hence it is necessary to continue to set small goals in your personal life.
The sense of languishing is not merely in our head but is often a result of our surroundings. Especially in times like these, when uncertainty and sadness engulf us from all sides, it is becoming more essential to find the spot of solace in our own being. It is only then, that we can function effectively on a personal level.