Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Are you languishing?

To me, languishing has been a word that relates to sitting around and purposefully doing not much. Like lying down on a lounging chair next to a pool. Or being sprawled on a comfortable couch doing not very much.

The official definition of languishing is 'failing to make progress or be successful', which fits my theme.

The Nutreat's newsletter's '9 Things To Read this Week' directed me to this NY Times article, "There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing".

"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.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021."

This is me. This is me. This is me! 

I'm a champion snooze-button-hitter! I have long 'To Do Lists' - that keep growing and that I never seem to get close to nailing. It can take me an age to get around to things, especially those that require focus and concentration (I'll do lots of short, quick tasks instead). My attention is constantly fragmented as I juggle people and projects. I muddle through each day. I'd agree with the article that I don't suffer from mental illness, but I'm not the picture of mental health either.

The article draws its connection to COVID-lockdown lifestyle changes as the reason for this state of languishing, but I experience many of these symptoms primarily because I hold the responsibility of two start-up companies in my hands and my time in the past four years has been spent excessively more on work than living. I'm frustrated and while not completely hopeless, I give myself a pat on the back for making it through some days because I can't always see the light at the end of the tunnel. This has definitely been worse in this past year.

A link in this article took me to another on 'revenge bedtime procrastination'. I'm suffering from this too. This is when you sacrifice sleep to '"eke out personal time" or when "people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late-night hours”. Coincidentally, I've thought about this recently. 

It is not uncommon that I'll work until 2am or 3am to complete something. I favour working from 9pm or 10pm for a few hours because it is quiet and my focus is uninterrupted. I'll only turn out my light to go to sleep an hour or more after turning off my computer. I choose to use this 'bridging' time to distance myself from always-on work. I do my biokineticist exercises, look at Facebook or read articles like these and, every night, I read the book I'm on at the time - usually doing stretches while I read. Common sense says that I should be leaping into bed and turning out the light to get maximum sleep hours, but at this time, when email, phone, messages, dogs, traffic, house are all quiet, this time is all mine. Like the people in the article, I value having some time for myself more than sleep.

The article makes a good suggestion of allowing no interruptions before noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. This gives you uninterrupted blocks of time to focus. I'm not quite sure how practical this will be for me but I'd like to give it a shot - to carve out blocks of uninterrupted day-time hours from a day or two a week to really sink my teeth into items that need my full focus and to give me back my nights for me.

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