Languish: Describing how Covid-19 has made us all feel and what you can do to overcome it

In a recent poll on our Twitter account, we asked if our followers knew the definition of the word languish. The response was that 67% of our followers did not know what the term meant. The specific term, “languish,” was a focus of several journalists recently from outlets like New York Times, The Guardian, and The Independent to characterize feelings from this year.

The technical definition of languish is to suffer or remain in an unpleasant place or situation. With all that has gone on in the last year or so, it’s safe to say that a lot of people can relate to this feeling.

Originally coined by sociologist, Corey Keyes, languish is primarily used to describe a feeling between depressed and thriving. For many, this emptiness and stagnation is amplified by the restrictions brought by Covid-19.

The feeling of languishing has spiked since the COVID-19 pandemic. [Photo Source: Inc. Magazine]

Around this time last year, every high schooler in the country was taking online classes and learning how to use Zoom; social activities were either cancelled or made virtual; sports were cancelled; and workers were sent to work from home.

This kind of change was huge for people all over the world.

All at once, everything came to an abrupt stop.

For many, this put a stop to everything and forced people to remain idle in their own homes for months.

Because the pandemic is still affecting so many people, here are a few ways that one may be able to overcome the feeling of being stuck and get back to their routine.

One of the most highly recommended ways to get out of this stuck feeling is to celebrate the small things.

Finding a way to enjoy the little things can make a huge difference in mental health and by finding the joy in things such as zoom calls with friends and watching a ton of movies during quarantine can help one go from languishing to flourishing.

Zoom calls, while certainly unorthodox, can be a great way to catch up with family and friends who are still in isolation because of COVID-19. [Photo Source:]

Quarantine offers a lot of free time as well, so trying new things during it can also be beneficial to those who feel languished or stuck. Even though many people are out of quarantine now, many psychiatrist that is is important to find purpose in everything when one is feeling languish, so by taking the time to learn a new hobby, it’s possible that you could also be improving your mental health.

Another way to overcome languish is to try to find gratitude for others. Within this pandemic especially, there are a lot of things to be thankful for among all of the terribleness. Taking the time to appreciate health care workers, teachers, and other essential workers can help show the good in people when everything seems ‘bleh’.

A sign thanking essential workers during the pandemic. [Photo Source: City of Rocklin]

It’s also important to try and be the good that you want to see. Doing even a small act of kindness a day can help both the person who does it and the one receiving it.

Everyone is struggling right now and languish is becoming a popular term again because it’s such a common feeling among so many Americans right now. We as a society can’t just get out of the pandemic, we have to live with the after effects too.

For those stuck in languish right now, find ways to enjoy the little things and be the good that you want to see in this pandemic and find a way to flourish!

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