5 Tips to help you flow out of languish
I felt it was important to share my 5 tips to help you flow out of languish. Lately I have been struggling, emotionally and mentally. I have been getting up and doing things that make me happy, yet there are lots of times I have also cocooned in my bed for a very lengthy time and was not productive at all.
Having had depression in the past and being able to recognize the symptoms, I know that I’m not depressed this time. I am also hopeful more things will open up over the next couple of months.
Mostly I am feeling stagnant and empty.
Recently I learned there is a term for how I am feeling: languishing. In a nutshell, languishing is the emotions and space we’re in when we’re not flourishing, but not depressed.
It’s not surprising I am feeling this way, especially since there is a constant bombardment of negative news about the pandemic through all aspects of our lives – news networks, social media, and at work. All of the uncertainties and restraints have taken its toll.
How to Overcome Feelings of Languish
We find our flow.
In a yoga practice, we find flow by moving from pose to pose using our breath, mind, body and energy. As we move, we allow our mind to stay present and we can start to notice how things feel within us as we hold space for emotions and sensations to appear. The energy we create as movement starts to flow through us, making us feel more present, connected and grounded.
Csikzentmihalyli also mentions that finding flow is also about finding challenges and activities to keep our minds active even in our “down time.”
5 Tips to Help You Flow
01. set goals
Set goals, even teeny tiny ones, the ones you don’t think are goals but possibly could be.
Since I have been feeling stagnant, there is a large part of me that feels overwhelmed when I hear the word “goals.”
Yet, looking back over the past couple of months, I have set small goals, even ones that I didn’t consider to be goals at the time.
In January I decided to read the Bridgerton book series (after binge watching Bridgerton on Netflix) and for a few weeks, I read book after book. I have read more books over the first couple of months this year than I have in a very long time (I have read over 20 books so far). The next set of books on my list will be the Virgin River series (also a show I binged on Netflix).
Currently my goal is to work and complete a knitting project before July. Although Csikzentmihalyli doesn’t recommend binge watching shows to help find flow, my goal is to finish watching all of the seasons of “Schitt’s Creek” while working on my knitting project. I have a feeling that I’ll also be completing a few other series such as “The Stand” on Prime since I know that I’m a slow knitter.
02. Get Outside & Move
Over the past month, I have found my happy place at a set of outdoor stairs at a local park. Year ago I used to run stairs off of Memorial Drive when I worked in an office job in downtown Calgary. It was a place where I would go to destress, get fresh air and take in the city skyline and mountain views. I considered it to by my “happy place” because no matter how I felt when I left the office, the view (and stairs) always took my breath away and made me feel better.
Running stairs allows me to concentrate and be present, mainly because I’m a klutz who tends to trip both up and down stairs. It allows me to focus on my breathing because I tend to wheeze a lot and most importantly, it gets me outside. I have discovered that the fond memories I had for the Memorial Drive stairs are imbedded deep down and they come back up when I run at the local stairs.
I know running stairs isn’t for everyone, so practicing yoga, going for a walk, stroll, running, biking or hiking can get the energy moving and flowing in our bodies.
03. Learn something new
Learning something new helps keep our minds engaged and challenges us at the same time. Last year at the start of the pandemic (and when most of us were in lockdown), I noticed a lot of people trying new activities.
For me, I jumped on the soudough starter bandwagon. I saw that some of my friends were learning how to make sourdough starters and breads on social media and I decided to join in on the fun. Although not hard, it does take some time and patience to create a sourdough starter and I soon learned that I wasn’t doing the “feedings” correctly. Thanks to some help from people online, I learned how to make bread and all sorts of other baking treats with sourdough starter and the discard.
I have also been taking online courses over the past year to help me grow my business, be a better yoga instructor and energy worker as well as making me a better person.
If you’re tight on a budget, know that there are a lot of free courses you can take. I have found some free courses for meditation or breathing through social media, or you can Google free online courses. Even universities such as Harvard offer free online courses that you might find interesting.
04. Socializing with family & friends
Depending on where we are living in the world, some of us are able to socialize and hang out with family and friends, while others are more restricted due to the pandemic. I honestly think the lack of socialization (even for the most introverted person) has created mass feelings of languish.
So if we invest our energy in others, we improve our lives and this help us find flow.
Regardless of where you are living or what your situation is, try to reach out to people. Maybe it’s just a phone call or even just a text message. Maybe you can gather with family and friends or maybe you can meet friends outside for a walk or hike. Whichever way you decide to reach out to people, just do it! I truly believe we need social interactions now more than ever.
05. Be Consistent
Consistency and feeling stagnant doesn’t seem like it goes hand-in-hand. However, as we start to work on goals, move, learn, and socialize more, we may like the feel of the flow we are creating and want to do it on a more consistent basis.
This can be difficult, as I know there are more days than I would like to admit where I have not been productive at all or where I have cocooned in my bed for most of the day. However, I still take time to do something to help me feel better, whether it’s going for a quick walk, writing in my journal or knitting (Netflix).
I do try to run the stairs a couple of times a week at a set time. This helps me stay consistent and allows me to plan my schedule around my workouts (weather permitting). I know if I show up and get outside it makes me feel better and I feel less stagnant.
If you schedule one thing that makes you feel good in your day, you may feel a bit more flow in your body and less languish, even if it’s for a brief time.
As things start to open up and get back to normal, I know we will start to feel more motivated and excited. Take time and care for yourself to do small things that help bring flow back to your body, mind and spirit.
For more information about languishing, check out this blog: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html.
If you want to learn more about Finding Flow, here is the article written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyli: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/articles/199707/finding-flow.