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Mindful Moments: What is Languish?


Not surprisingly, the pandemic has left many people feeling empty, stagnate, or foggy—a state of being otherwise known as languishing. Patricia Gonzalez, LPC, MT-BC, Director of Redeemer Health’s Behavioral Health Operations, explains that languishing is a common condition that falls somewhere in the middle of the emotional spectrum between flourishing (commonly thought of as “living the good life”) and depression (feelings of low self-worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life).

So what happens when we experience this thing called “languish”? According to Patricia, it becomes difficult to focus, be productive, and perform at maximum capacity. But, she says, there are things a person can do that can help them regain their energy and improve their outlook. “When you are in the moments of languish, start with taking it one day at a time. It’s OK to not want to look so far in the future. There’s solace in simply creating small goals and celebrating small achievements,” she says.

Patricia also points out that it's energizing to become fully immersed in a new activity. “Losing yourself in something new leads to a state commonly known as being ‘in the zone,’ and when that happens a renewed sense of optimism may not be far behind.”

Finally, it’s really important to set boundaries by giving yourself permission to take time for yourself. “This can help a person reset, focus, and reclaim their zest for life. I recommend scheduling regular, uninterrupted time for self-care—be it painting, music, gardening, fishing, nature walks, meditation, or whatever activity leads to inner peace,” says Patricia.

Ultimately, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. “Often, people can diffuse the charge that occurs when in a state of languishing when they are able to name it. By doing so, people can make choices that help them move through the experience, maintain a sense of who they are, and promote a sense of feeling grounded during challenging times,” says Patricia.

The experienced and compassionate therapists and social workers in Redeemer Health’s Counseling Center can help you or a loved one strengthen well-being and overcome emotional obstacles. For more information or to make an appointment call 215-914-4190.