What is Languishing

Learn how it's defined and what can you do if you feel like you are languishing.

Since the start of the pandemic feelings such as a sense of “blah”, apathy, restlessness, aimlessness and an overall loss of interest in things that once provided joy have commonly been reported. It can reduce motivation or cause a lack of focus and productivity. In an effort to put a name to these feelings, the term languishing was coined by a sociologist, Corey Keys. Keys defines languishing as the opposite of flourishing. On the mental health continuum, languishing is a middle point between mental wellbeing and mental illness. Symptoms of languishing can include burnout, lack of motivation, and numbness. As with any other experience, symptoms of languishing can be unique to the individual.  

So what can you do if you feel like you are languishing? Naming our emotions and identifying what we are feeling helps us make choices about what we do about them. Rather than saying, “I’m fine” pause and reflect and give a voice to what you’re feeling. Research suggests that mindfulness based approaches such as meditation and journalling might assist in combating the symptoms. Further support your mental health by practicing self-care, increasing physical activity, maintaining social connections and reaching out for professional support if your symptoms persist.  

The university’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider has a webinar, COVID-19 What is languishing and why is it important that can be accessed at any time.