If you’re feeling blah about career change or life in general, I’d recommend reading this article from the New York Times about ‘languishing’.
A friend brought it to my attention as we were discussing this strange feeling so many of us seem to be experiencing at the moment:
“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.”
It’s been a tough old time. And we’re still in this strange hinterland of not being locked down, being able to be out and about more, maybe even socialising and seeing people we love…and yet, we’re not there yet.
Travel isn’t ok, allowed, or easy. New variants pop up to give us the fear once again. Vaccinations are happening – but being vaccinated doesn’t suddenly make everything ok.
And so, we’re struggling. We’re OK. But not great. Not full of energy, plans or joy. Motivation is a tricky one. Somehow so many of us are just about managing to go through the motions.
But anything that requires energy and effort, like looking for a new job, or starting to explore new possibilities, just seems so hard right now.
Small wins and flow
The article recommends focusing on small goals as a way to counteract this feeling. And getting into a flow state, where time passes without your awareness of it because you’re fully absorbed in doing something.
I guess getting into a flow state means making sure you spend a bit of time each day doing something you love, and that makes you feel good.
For me this means going for a walk and listening to a podcast. I forget everything, I focus on moving forwards and taking in what I’m listening to.
Or it means watching a great tv show.
Or having a good chat with a family member or friend.
That’s all pretty doable. And as for the small wins?
Something that has helped me for over a year now, thanks to a little book given to me by a friend, is to write at the end of each day, a few things that made me smile.
It could be remembering how pretty the flowers looked in the park this morning. An funny exchange with a colleague. A text from a friend which feels like a hug. A particularly delicious snack. Lying on the sofa after work and doing nothing for a bit.
The amazing thing is that it brings awareness to your day. Something happens and you make a mental note that this will be one of your wins of the day. And causes you to pause, take it in, reflect, and move on.
Then at the end of the day, even if it has seemed pretty so-so and uneventful, you sit and reflect and realise there were a few brilliant moments. Moments of beauty, of connection, of contentment. Of gratitude.
We’re all languishing. It’s to be expected. I’m trying to remind myself that it won’t always be this way. And in the meantime, focus on the small wins. The great moments.
If you feel like gently getting things moving and would like my help and support with your career change, you can book a package of 3 x 1-hour sessions with me. You can book your sessions weekly, fortnightly or monthly. I’ll help you unpick where you’re feeling stuck, and make a plan to move forwards. Find me on LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash