In light of the upcoming holidays, oftentimes we find ourselves working more, doing more, and - as a result - not resting more. Languishing has become well-known in the popular consciousness thanks to an article by Adam Grant for the NY Times.
Avoiding the hamster wheel of languishing
Languishing means you still have the energy to get through your workday, but don’t particularly enjoy your work or feel motivated. It’s almost as if you’re on auto-pilot - and being in this stage for too long is dangerous because there’s no excitement or joy to set new goals for yourself. And without challenging yourself to be better, you lose the aspect of learning in not just work, but life in general. This continuous cycle of languishing prohibits thriving and flourishing. It’s not okay to keep languishing. Remember - the longer you leave a problem, the worse it gets.
Think of it as a scale:
If we aren’t careful, languishing can lead to burnout, which the World Health Organization defines as “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout can be characterized by feeling exhausted, distant from the work you’re performing, and decreased productivity.
10 is the most productive, when you flourish at work
5 is where you’re in the in-between, indifferent (languishing)
1 is when you run out of steam and become unproductive (burnout)
How do we move away from languishing?
Resilience is when someone has the ability to bounce back from challenging situations. First, take a step back and organize your tasks into buckets that make sense to you. Then tackle each bucket one step at a time. Focus on each step, so that the big picture doesn’t overwhelm you.
Some other characteristics of a resilient person include:
Finally, to get an even better understanding of the mental health terms or stages, check out this bird’s eye view from USA Today in their Mental Health Glossary.
- Strong work relationships - good connections with others create a network of support to rely on
- Being adaptable, aware, and realistic with your timelines
- Stay motivated, inspired, and strive toward bigger goals
- Staying calm under pressure
- Having empathy for yourself and those around you