I’ve always despised the exchange that goes like this:
“Hi, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine, you?”
The words literally mean nothing and likely fine is nowhere near the truth, but you don’t want to get into it. Frankly, no one really wants to hear anything other than fine because then they’d have to commit to listening and possibly even caring.
Take that exchange into a pandemic world, and it gets worse:
“I hope you and your family are safe and well.”
“Yes, we’re fine. I hope you are, too.”
Pre-pandemic, fine as your reported state of being, was bad enough. Now it’s worse. We’ve been to hell and back and it’s highly likely that on any given day we may not be anywhere near fine. On a scale from depressed to thriving, it’s possible we’re hovering just below the median at blah.
But blah is actually a thing. It’s a state of being known in the world of psychology as languishing. It’s precisely what I’ve been feeling for quite some time – this weird middle ground of sensation.
- Your feelings hover in a not too high, not too low state
- You struggle to get out of bed but put on real clothes and do your hair for work
- You stare at your to do list more than actually executing against it
- You feel restless or uncertain but do not experience anxiety
- You want to go out and have fun but end up succumbing to homebody status
- You wish you could sleep all day but can’t actually take a nap
- You think you should do more or be more but binging Netflix is all you can muster
- You question everything then shut it all out
- You put one foot in front of the other then somehow end up in a place
According to experts, it’s “ok to feel this way.” It’s not a place of extremes – of happy or sad – it’s just a place where you don’t feel yourself. It’s an awkward middle, because as humans, emotions are a part of our life experiences. But according to Psych Central, “Living in a constant state of blah may be linked to languishing. While not a formal diagnosis, languishing is a valid and common feeling.” 1
So, the next time someone asks how I’m doing, and two large cups of coffee haven’t put a dent in feeling like I want to go back to bed, I’m going to say, “I’m languishing, you?”
— Jane Olvera, Founder and President of JP Marketing