I’ve always been such a self-motivated person, but once 2020 hit I struggled to keep that drive. I thought that I would have pushed past it this year but it’s definitely made it’s way into 2021 as well. My energy has shifted back and forth so frequently from extreme highs to extreme lows. I’ve felt stuck in this stagnant place for awhile now. I’m sure that many others can relate to this too as we just got through the most difficult year of our lives. In fact, there’s a word for it. It’s called languishing. Here’s what it means:
1. It’s a name for the blah you’re feeling. 2. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. 3. It can dull your motivation and focus. And it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. It’s been referred to as the “neglected middle child of mental health.” You can read more about that on the NY Times here.
This word perfectly sums up and describes the way I have felt for most of the year, although I didn’t have a name for it until now. I think being able to name your emotions is an important part of identifying them so that you can then process and release. Almost halfway into the year and I am slowly getting back to a place where I feel more like myself. It’s been an ongoing process and something that I will continually have to work at.
I wanted to write this post to share some of the things helping me push through it and get into a better mindset. If you’ve been struggling with this lately too, just know that you are not alone. My DMS and email are always open if you ever need to chat.
This is something I’ve done on and off in the past, but I never stayed consistent until now. I recently made it part of my morning routine and in less than a month I have already seen an improvement in my energy and the way I feel. I think for me, the key has been doing it right after waking up. I’ll make my bed, brew a pot of coffee and then I’ll either sit at my desk or on the sofa and journal for 10-15 minutes. I play meditation music in the background and it creates a more calming, peaceful atmosphere.
I recommend getting a prompted journal so that it can help guide your writing in case you’re unsure of where to start. Blank pages can often feel a bit intimidating in the beginning. I picked up this gratitude journal a few weeks ago at Target and already finished it. There are 3 prompts each day: What you’re grateful for, a thought-provoking question and an activity. I usually did the first two prompts in the morning and then saved the activity for before bed.
I bought this new one that I just started and can’t wait to fill it up. It’s amazing to be able to go back and read the pages to see the growth and progress you’ve made.
I started therapy for the first time last month and two minutes in my eyes filled with tears and I knew this was the best thing I could have done for myself. I never saw a therapist, even after my father died and sometimes looking back I don’t even know how I made it through all these years. I’m so thankful I’ve had creative outlets and a great support system, but therapy can help you dig deep and uncover things that don’t come up in conversation with a friend or family member.
The pandemic took so much from all of us and after losing my grandpa and the consistency of work, I started the grieving process all over again. When I am struggling, I have a tendency to internalize and isolate myself. It’s how I have always been and finally at 37, I’ve realized it’s not the healthiest way for me to cope. I can ask for help. I share so much on social media, but I still hold a lot in too. I think this past year was my breaking point and when I knew it was finally time for therapy.
After searching on a few different sites, I decided to go with BetterHelp. It seemed to be the most affordable option for me right now and I can cancel at any time. Instead of paying per session, I am paying a monthly fee for unlimited therapy. This includes video sessions, live chat sessions or phone calls and I’m able to message my therapist at any time. So far I’ve done both the video and the live chat, but definitely connect more being able to see my therapist face-to-face. She’s a great listener and never makes me feel judged. I’m still trying to figure out if she’ll be able to help me dig deep enough, but overall I believe therapy is going to help me heal in the ways I need to.
If you’ve considered therapy and haven’t done it yet, I recommend giving it a try. There’s no shame in asking for help or needing a professional to talk to.
Taking Myself Out On Solo Dates
Now that the weather has been warming up, I’ve taken myself out on a few dates recently and it’s something I plan to do more of this summer. Since I haven’t been able to travel alone in such a long time, it’s been important for me to still do things for myself outside of the apartment. It’s hard to fully explain, but being alone at home and being alone out in the world are two very different things for me. At home it can often feel mundane and even lonely at times, more so this past year. When I take myself out on little dates, it’s very empowering and reminds me of everything I’m capable of. I haven’t felt this since my last solo trip in 2019.
Whenever I would go through a difficult time, I knew I’d have a trip coming up where I could “escape” for a little while. Being on my own in another country would always help me shift my perspective. I’d come back home feeling on top of the world. Until I can start taking those trips again, I know that these solo dates will be good for me in the meantime and help give me more of that empowerment here in NYC.
I’ve taken more breaks away from social media this year and it’s been refreshing. After creating content for such a long time, I’ve finally gotten to a place where I can step back without feeling guilty or without feeling that I am going to “fall behind.” While consistency in this industry is vital, I also never want to force my content or post because I “have” to. When I’m not feeling my best I know that shines through and if I’m being honest, I don’t always have things I want to share. Sometimes I want to go about my day and keep it to myself and other times I want to invite others to experience it with me. I think it’s healthy to create a balance that works for you.
I can admit I’ve played the comparison game far too often on Instagram and I hate when I do that. I begin to create this narrative in my mind that often says I am not good enough or I am not doing enough. It’s been a reflection of my own insecurities and things that I need to get in check and work through. When I feel myself doing that, I know it’s time to stop the scrolling and get off the app. If Instagram is starting to make you question things about yourself, then maybe it’s time to take a step back from it.
Turning On “Do Not Disturb”
I used to be the type of texter who would respond right away because I was always on my phone, but I’m not that way anymore. Sometimes I do not have the energy to carry on a conversation. I love my friends and family, but I’ve learned that it’s ok to create a little distance when needed. I’m an empath and I take on other people’s energy so easily. This can be overwhelming at times, especially when I am not in a good place. I can’t show up for others if I am not showing up for myself first.
The “do not disturb” feature has been a great way to give me the chance to fully disconnect without getting any notifications. I don’t use it constantly, but make sure to turn it on during specific parts of the day, like when I’m journaling, running or at any moment when I want to make sure I can have a little bit of interrupted “me time.” I actually asked my therapist if I was selfish for doing this and she replied, “Self-care is not selfish.” Many of us have a tendency to think we are being selfish when we put ourselves first, but we cannot forget to take care of our well-being and mental health.
This will look a little different for everyone. Here’s some of the things I’ve been doing.
Whether it’s a quick morning workout, a run or an afternoon walk around my neighborhood, I do my best to get some movement in every day. The past month I truthfully didn’t have the energy to stay consistent with my running schedule, so on those days I made sure to at least get a short walk in. A little movement each day can help more than you realize. Making sure I get outside has been essential for me too. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for you. Whether I head down to the pier or the park, it instantly lifts my spirits to be in a different environment.
I’ve spent some time shifting my focus more on the apartment to make sure it’s a space that truly comforts me and brings me joy. I’ve added in some new decor elements, gotten rid of stuff I don’t use and have reorganized as much as I can. There is beauty in letting go of the things that no longer serve you!
I recently cut my hair and chopped off about 6-7 inches and wow — I feel like a new woman. My last haircut was back in October and I desperately needed a change. Sometimes switching up your look a little bit can make you feel refreshed. It was exactly what I needed right now.
Giving Myself More Grace
I can be extremely hard on myself and I am constantly learning to give myself grace in the moments when I am not feeling my best. I have to be honest though, I still struggle with this from time to time. It’s not always easy to have patience with yourself, especially when you are in the process of healing. It’s a vital component to the journey though. It’s easier to move through seasons like this when you are non-judgmental with yourself and understand that it’s ok to take the time you need.
Thank you for reading! Has anyone else experienced languishing this year? What are some ways that you are trying to push through it? ❤️