We’re still battling COVID-19, but we have lately found ourselves thinking about a post-pandemic future.
We have spent months talking about a return to normal, but now that it is approaching, we’re struggling to adjust—again. It’s incredible how resilient we all are that the thought of riding the bus or attending an indoor concert gives us pause. (We still shudder at the thought of a stations for finger foods like charcuterie boards at weddings or chip and dip at a barbecue.)
Still, we have been an opportunity to reconsider our lives and habits from our long-term and recent past. It’s clear that we have developed unhealthy habits in both, and it’s high time we focus on changes for a better future, especially with regard to our mental health.
Here are three articles focused on how to help yourself get out of a rut, add some joy in the process and how to be happier at work.
An Accurate Description
The title of Adam Grant’s piece for The New York Times helps explain why it has gone viral, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.”
We previously started reading it but had to stop because, well, we realized we were languishing. The feeling is akin to being stuck in the mud. You’re not trapped, per say, but you’re rooted to the ground and require an enormous effort to move or gain any traction.
In the early days of the pandemic, we were focused on survival and basic needs, such as not catching COVID-19 and finding toilet paper at the grocery store. As we learned more about COVID-19 and the supply chain stabilized, those initial fears subsided and have been replaced with other emotions, including languishing.
“It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being,” Grant writes. “You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression — and in some ways it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.”
The concern is that it can be difficult to spot signs of languishing at the present moment. And if you don’t know you’re languishing, you don’t realize you need to ask for help.
Fortunately, it seems that immersing yourself in project and pastimes (new or old) might be a way to avoid languishing. This idea is that getting into a state of absorption where you lose all track of time can help your mental health, such as reading a book or tinkering in the garage. That interrupted time, Grant argues, can help us concentrate on the here and now or work through a problem that makes us feel more accomplished. Giving ourselves some time to focus on a small challenge or joy may be the first steps to help us go from languishing to flourishing.
Read the full story here.
Go to Bed Already
As much as our routines have changed the past year, one thing we didn’t anticipate was becoming more of a night owl. It seems we’re not alone, and the practice now has a name: revenge bedtime procrastination.
Author Angela Haupt offers some explanation:
Journalist Daphne K. Lee introduced the term in a viral tweet last summer, describing it as what happens 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.”
Lee was specifically thinking about people in China who work 12 or more hours a day and sacrifice sleep in an act of defiance; they have a term for it that roughly translates as “retaliatory staying up late.” But overcommitted people worldwide have latched onto the expression as a way to articulate the desire to swap sleep for personal time. That’s been especially true as the coronavirus pandemic erased the lines between work, school and home.
It may not feel like we were doing much, or much different for much of 2020, and yet the desire to stay up later was a powerful one. At first, we justified saying up later since our commute had shortened from a 40-minute drive to the office to walking to the dining room table.
After a while, that lack of sleep caught up with us. We quickly found ourselves taking naps after dinner, drinking coffee midafternoon and more crabby, especially with our partner.
Medical experts explain that sleep deprivation can have a number of health consequences, including increased risk of heart disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, memory issues and difficulty concentrating.
It’s a vicious cycle, but luckily there’s an easy way to break the habit. In fact, it’s advice that sounds a lot like what our parents used to say in our youth: Got to bed.
Often, we forget how much better we feel after a good night’s rest. We’ve tried some new tricks for how to carve out more “me time” in those precious 24 hours that doesn’t require staying up into the wee hours of the night. We feel like a whole new person. if you, too, are struggling with alone time, remember that the best thing you can do for your body is to give it a rest.
Read the full story here.
Stop Doing These Things to be More Successful at Work
Sometimes, we read business articles that make us roll our eyes. Not this one, fortunately.
This short, informative piece shows delves into the reasons why things don’t often work at work. Instead of doing more, sometimes, the author writes, we need to do less. Stop silencing yourself, discounting your ideas, dwelling on the past and striving for perfection.
If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we have the power to make a difference if we’re willing to take a good hard look at the problem and collaborate on possible solutions. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work!
Read the full list here.