One year ago, I wrote my first blog for The Daily Feels. We were a little over 6 weeks into what felt like the world freezing over and I wanted to help all of you readers out there learn how to manage anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. Hopefully, that was helpful— and I imagine that despite my wonderful tips and tricks many of you continue to feel anxious and are dealing with a new kind of uncertainty: what will the world look like as things begin to reopen? Beyond that- how will your individual world change and evolve?
Since the beginning of this year, I have witnessed and experienced an interesting climate of feelings- it’s felt like a roller coaster ride- moments of excitement and relief accompanied by shock, skepticism, and concern. All of those emotions with a background of continuous fatigue. People are feeling tapped, burnt out, and ready for all of this to be over— and not convinced that it really will be.
The good news is that now there is a term for this mixed bag of emotional experiences: languishing. Corey Keyes, a sociologist, defines languishing as “the void between depression and flourishing— the absence of well-being. […] Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you cut back on work.” (New York Times, Adam Grant, 2021). In laymen’s terms, you’re just feeling blah.
And it makes sense when you think about how intensely charged everything has been in the last 13 months- the different roles you’ve had to inhabit, the pivots you’ve had to make, the various levels of grief you’ve had to process, or the energy utilized to numb the pain you otherwise would have felt. It’s been a lot. And with vaccines becoming more available, towns opening up, and travel becoming an option, there’s a belief that we should want to jump back into life as we knew it— and yet many of us feeling so overwhelmed that we become paralyzed.
I get it. So what do you do? What do you do if you’re right smack dab in languishing land or if you feel like you’re on the outskirts but getting closer every day? Go slow. Be gentle with yourself.
Before you jump back into scheduling your weekends and booking your next trip, hit the pause button. Take some time to reflect on what this last year has taught you, how much you’ve overcome and who you’ve leaned on. Once you’ve taken your personal inventory I want you to think about your values- what is most important to you in life? Is it money, family, honesty? Do you gravitate more towards a work ethic? Think about what makes you feel most fulfilled in what you are doing and who you are spending time with. If you’re having a hard time identifying your values, there are plenty of values assessments you can find online.
Once you know your personal mission statement, you can begin to make more intentional— and informed— steps forward. One of the biggest things I heard from people when the world initially shut down was a sense of relief that they didn’t have to do everything they were doing. Well, guess what? Now that things are opening up again, you still don’t.
I believe some of the anxiety people are facing and the emotions adding up to the languishing feeling is related to a sense of what they believe has to be done and that frankly, is just not the case.
Instead of starting your autopilot engine again how about you go into neutral and cruise a little bit as we re-enter the world? Taking your step off the gas can help to ease some pressure. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and not feeling any motivation, that is okay too. Acknowledge it and try to see if you can identify when your light flickered out. Think about when you last felt like you were glowing and buzzing with energy. My hope is that in doing so you might be able to get some clues on what you need more or less of.
While I know all of us have been processing 2020 in different ways, I want us to feel empowered as we approach the second half of 2021. The best way to do that? Figure out what is best for you and do more of it. It’s not selfish, it is necessary.
Hi! My name is Marina. I am a twenty-something therapist living in a plugged-in world, with a pressure to do it all, all while trying to stay sane. I recognize that the twenties and entering in adulthood can be both a trying and exciting time. Because of that, I want to use both my clinical and real-life education to provide support for those out there that are trying to figure out how to make it in the real world.
In my practice, I love working with this demographic because of the amount of opportunities and possibilities available. I am fortunate to have the unique ability of being able to relate to individuals living in this decade on a real level and provide tangible support and tools. When I am not talking to someone in my office, I love talking to large groups of people, providing presentations at schools, community organizations, and businesses on topics ranging from teens and technology to work-life balance.
Additionally, I am an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology program
I am thrilled to learn more about the readers of The Daily Feels and help each other figure out this crazy and exciting time of life together!