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How Journaling and Planning Can Help You in Your Languishing State

How Journaling and Planning Can Help You in Your Languishing State
Have you ever woken up and felt like you just don’t want to do anything the whole day? You lack the motivation to move, interact with other people, or complete your daily routine. You feel less engaged with work or school and you can sense burnout brewing inside even if you’re not overloaded with activities. You go through your day and there’s this emptiness that won’t go away. You just can't shake the general feeling of not feeling okay even if you’re healthy. If you find yourself saying yes or nodding along as you’re reading this, it might be that you’re in a languishing state.

What does languishing mean? 
Sociologist Corey L. M. Keyes used the word in his journal article “The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life” where languishing is described as a state of “emptiness and stagnation, constituting a life of quiet despair.” It’s the feeling of restlessness and lack of interest in life. People experiencing this are not diagnosed with any mental health disorder, but it can and does feel like being depressed, for instance. 

Experiencing a pandemic has made people go through languishing as the world changes to cope with the spread and the dangers of the coronavirus. Not everyone adapts to the changes at the same rate, and reactions to it differ from person to person. That’s where people fear the unknown, lose human connection, and become demotivated to move forward. 


Journaling and planning while languishing 
While there are several things you can try to overcome languishing, some can be harder than others as you’re expected to stay home most of the time. Working on your journal and starting your plans can be your outlet, and it doesn’t have to take too much effort and time. You can work on your journal or planner at your own pace and do whatever you want with it. Here are some of the ways journaling and planning can help you in your languishing state. 
 
1. Keep doing something 
    As languishing makes you feel like you don’t want to do anything, updating your journal or planner can help you overcome this. The first step might be hard, but as you get the hang of it, you can make it a habit. Doing something can take your mind off of your feelings of emptiness or stagnation. And seeing what you made with your hands, whether it’s decorating your planner or writing a diary entry, gives you a sense of accomplishment that can make you feel better. 
     
    2. Reflect and unload 
      Pouring your heart into your journal can give you some time to breathe. Through journaling and planning, you find clarity on your emotions as you lay out all your thoughts on paper. The act of writing what you’re thinking also gives you a chance to let go of the stress and anxiety that you feel that day. Just by journaling, your mood improves and your confidence is boosted. It also serves as a break from not feeling like yourself and energizes you so that you can move away from languishing. 
       
      3. Understand yourself 
        Conversations with yourself can make you aware of the things around and inside you. You’re able to discover new things about yourself and understand how you respond to others. This helps you know what to do next and how to do things better next time. You can also find the answers as to why you are the way you are and why you do things the way you do. Knowing things allows you to be prepared even if there’s much uncertainty during the pandemic. 
         
        4. Look ahead 
          One of the best things you can do is to look forward. You can start exploring the possibilities after the pandemic, making plans, and completing them little by little. Looking ahead can mean that you’ve learned from your past, understood the present, and become excited about the future. Writing about your future plans gives you enough motivation to do your best now and reap the benefits once they come. 
           

          It’s okay to not feel okay anytime 
          The pandemic can test your resilience and grit. It can challenge how you are able to stay with the status quo even if the world is changing. There are times when we expect too much of ourselves that we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to say that we’re okay. Allow yourself to accept changes and challenges. It’s human to feel lost and not be in control sometimes. Whether you’re languishing or moving forward, a journal or planner can be a friend that listens to your thoughts.