7 Strategies to Avoid Languishing During Lockdown
With the onset of COVID-19, change came quickly. Business shutdown, we learned to wear masks, lockdowns and curfews became a reality, and social distancing was the new norm. We were forced into our homes and still expected to maintain relationships, work productivity and motivation. And, although we were hopeful there would be an end in sight, the pandemic stretched on into 2021, giving rise to the persistent condition of languishing. Languishing saps your drive, disrupts your capacity to concentrate and increases your chances of cutting back on tasks. So, with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic, many people have been muddling through the day.
Languishing – The Word of 2021
Languishing. It isn’t burnout. It isn’t depression. It’s when you feel somewhat joyless and aimless, a sense of stagnation as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at life through a foggy windshield. In fact, it’s a name for all that ‘blah’ you are feeling. it can dull your motivation and focus and is one of the dominant emotions of 2021. However, despite all the languishing it is still important to develop habits to help get yourself through the day. Given we will no doubt be dealing with this for some time, at this point it is about trying to survive each day at a time. Therefore, a list of seven strategies to help you avoid languishing during lockdown has been developed.
#1 – Get in Flow
Understanding what flow is and how to achieve it can be a useful tool to managing stress. In fact, with new research suggesting that this may be the remedy for the emotional pressures, experts agree that flow may be a powerful defence against the emotional burden of COVID-19. Activities that are most likely to produce a state of flow and help workers ‘get in the zone’ are the ones that challenge us the right amount. Creating and completing flow perhaps involves immersing yourself in a project, such as creating a family tree or simply binge-watching a TV show. It is important to turn off social media and remove yourself from distractions and invest fully in the process. Flow can generate a continuous cycle, as the more flow you achieve, the more eager you will be to see what comes next.
#2 – Learn New Skills
Often enough in this pandemic era, employees can feel burnout by being surrounded by the same scenery every day, a lack of social contact, and difficulty to keep motivated. As a result, workers struggle to find inspiration, leading to unsatisfactory work and decreased productivity. To combat this loss of motivation, it is important that outside of work, you try to motivate yourself by exercising, getting outside, finding a new creative outlet, and making time for the activities that bring you joy. As a result of learning something new, you can increase your brain functionality and can also improve your capacity to remain focused.
#3 – Dream Small, Achieve Big
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you’re stuck at home, with nothing to do except inspect your life with a magnifying glass. At this point, it is easy to get bogged down in what hasn’t been done and what has failed. However, it is important to keep perspective and maintain motivation. To do so, it is effective to focus on small goals, things that matter to you and work to achieve one at a time. It might be as small as calling a friend, learning a new skill, or even cooking dinner. By celebrating the minor victories, you can help recover your energy and passion, which will lead to even greater victories, creating a non-stop cycle of and enthusiasm and momentum.
#4 – Keep Up the Connections
Those who are languishing might wish to avoid social situations but maintaining contact with family and friends is a vital component of feeling connected and supported. Psychologist Sabina Read suggests that given we spend time at home in self-isolation, we must schedule regular catchups online or on the phone. Additionally, given humans are innately social creatures, keeping up your own morale starts by connecting with others. It could be as simple as organising a weekly coffee catch-up, or even Friday night virtual drinks with colleagues, regardless, developing an action plan to stay connected is essential.
#5 – Look on the Brightside
During a lockdown, it’s easy to constantly feel negative and disappointed with what is happening. However, it is important to put everything in perspective and exercise positivity where you can. For example, practicing gratitude, even for the smallest of moments, is proven to increase positive feelings and moods as well as foster hope for the future. By developing strong habits of positivity and adopting a ‘glass half full' mentality, you are more inclined to overcome negative events, and instead notice the good things around you.
#6 – Take the Time
Even in lockdown, we can be busy, often struggling with the work-life balance and left feeling exhausted and over-worked. Taking the time to really focus and invest in your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is important. By exercising, eating a nutritious diet, and getting plenty of quality sleep, you are likely to improve your physical health and general mindset. Furthermore, implementing mindfulness techniques, such as journaling or meditation and living in the moment can help reduce your stress and turn your focus away from what you cannot control.
#7 – Treat Yourself
Feeling like you’re reliving one day on a continuous loop can be a common experience of those in COVID-19 lockdown. To break up the dull workday and lack of excitement, you must give yourself permission to enjoy. Well-being comes first. This means you should feel encourages to take time for yourself to engage in anything that can help you to loosen the grip of languishing and give you time to focus and feel joy in what you choose. This might include ordering yourself uber eats, pampering yourself with good skincare, investing in a new streaming site or engaging in some online shopping. Whatever it is, you mustn’t be constantly feeling sorry for yourself, and instead, realise life can be tiring, and sometimes you deserve a little pick-me-up.
Overall, COVID-19 has left many of us are feeling overwhelmed and powerless, yet, changing our perspective and adopting positive habits can help us get through these difficult times. And, whilst this isn't always simple and takes deliberate effort, by implementing some or even all of these seven strategies, you are likely to survive the pandemic.