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Fighting the Pandemic Blues


If 2021 was a word, it might be languishing. Over a year in, and the pandemic is still very much here and you may be feeling “blah.” You aren’t burnt out or feeling hopeless but you’re struggling with motivation and finding joy.


Languishing isn’t a new term. About 1 in 10 adults in the US experience depression. Despite this statistic, sociologist Corey Keyes found that a large number of people who were not experiencing depression weren’t thriving. Keyes defined languishing as “the absence of feeling joy in your life.” In a recent OpEd for The New York Times, psychologist Adam Grant highlighted the feeling that “may be the dominant emotion of 2021.”


While you may not be languishing, you may know someone who is. The more you know the more you can help them. Giving a name to a feeling helps make it more tangible and allows us to take ownership in facing adversity. You don’t need to hide how you’re feeling either. If someone asks how you are, it may be incredibly refreshing and validating to say “If I’m going to be honest, not great, I’m languishing.” It’s a socially acceptable response that combats the toxic positivity we are so prone to, by covering up with “I’m fine” or “Great!”


So how do you combat languishing and feeling “blah”?


  1. Focus on self-care. Set boundaries and create uninterrupted time for yourself.

  2. Allow yourself to get into a “flow.” Let go of the urge to change tasks every 10 -15 minutes and let go of your sense of time, place, and self as you engage in a task.

  3. Celebrate small wins. Appreciate your ability to slow down and let go.


The pandemic has been a loss. It has been a year and half of constant interruptions with work, children, housework, and balancing work and homelife around the clock. Just because you can be available 24/7 to a partner, boss, work colleague, friend, doesn’t mean you should be.


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