This New York Times article has been circulating a lot in the last couple weeks, I think because so many people read it and think, “Yes! That’s exactly how I’m feeling.”
It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.
As the article itself says:
We still have a lot to learn about what causes languishing and how to cure it, but naming it might be a first step. It could help to defog our vision, giving us a clearer window into what had been a blurry experience. It could remind us that we aren’t alone: languishing is common and shared.
I would add that it’s common and shared especially now, 14 months into the pandemic, where we’re all thinking, “Now what?”. Do we just go back to normal, when normal failed so many people? Are we going to acknowledge the losses and the challenges of the last year collectively? Or even, say, in the workplace? (If mine is any example, the answer is no.)
I don’t know what the future will look like, but I hope we’ll continue to at least try to publically talk about the mental and emotional toll of the last year. Articles like these are a good start.