After more than 18 months of pandemic living, is it any wonder that many of us are feeling unsettled, isolated and confused?
We are experiencing something called languishing, according to Adam Grant of the New York Times. “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness,” he writes. “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.”
As the vaccines roll out, how do we begin the process of healing the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical harm so many of us have experienced, sometimes invisibly?
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing respected leaders and researchers to explore their advice on staying positive during stress-filled days. I spoke with author Ann Douglas; professor of applied psychology Dr. Charles Pascal; professor emeritus of philosophy and psychology Dr. Stuart Shanker; Max Cooke, CEO of EdCan Network; psychiatry professor Dr. Jean Clinton; and Taunya Paquette, director of the Indigenous Education Office at the Ontario Ministry of Education. Every one of them focused on self-care and advised:
- Getting outdoors regularly
- Doing short, focused meditation
- Intentionally reaching out to connect with friends and family
- Recognizing stress and its impact on self and others
- Journaling the positives of each day
- Getting proper rest and nutrition
- Cultivating a talent, hobby, or love of art or music
Much of what we know about self-care and wellness is captured beautifully in what we learn from Indigenous culture and the meaningful four quadrants of the medicine wheel (ictinc.ca/blog/what-is-an-indigenous-medicine-wheel). The connection between body, mind, emotion and spirit is what makes us whole, well people. When any of these areas is impacted, we’re out of balance.
We cannot begin to help our children and elders change languishing to flourishing unless we put on our own oxygen masks first, as we learned back when we could travel.
I do hope that you are well and making use of some of the above strategies so that you and your loved ones can enjoy the better, healthier and more socially connected days that are emerging.