the sense of mental health ‘blah blah’ during COVID lockdowns

In a disconnected pandemic world, many of us feel a little ‘meh’ about life. Here is an expert take on how to escape that feeling.

It’s safe to say that the global pandemic that brought the world to a screeching halt has left us all a little intoxicated.

Even in an Australia primarily safe for COVID, fear of lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and socializing have always made their presence known – and continue to cast uncertainty on our community.

The New York Times recently published an article about this feeling – neither happy nor sad, but just a little “blah” – called languid.

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Speaking on Body + Soul’s Daily Podcast Healthy-ish, Dr. Frank Chow, psychiatrist and director of 2OP Health, says that “languishing” is the state before burnout.

“A lot of the symptoms and languid signs that we have been exposed to include cloudy thinking, lack of motivation, some people have trouble concentrating, especially sitting in front of computers, have a feeling of sluggishness and a lack of energy. , ”He tells host Felicity Harley in the episode Healthy-ish This “blah” you feel … it’s called languishing. Here’s how to cope.

Dr Chow says it’s very different from burnout where you experience more physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping and even different from depression which is much more of a serious slowing down of your mental state.

He explains that languor is an early symptom of a potential mental health disorder, and if left untreated it can escalate into something much worse, such as depression, anxiety, and exhaustion. professional.

Dr Chow adds that the disconnect between people during the pandemic is partly responsible for why we all feel so ‘blah’.

“We have a heard community where we follow others. We have leaders at the top that we follow, and we watch how each other behaves and we mimic the behavior of others, ”he says.

“So we’re sitting at home with a feeling of; “What is going on in the world? “,” Am I doing the right thing or am I doing the wrong thing? “,” Am I alone here? And ‘am I still in a band?’ “

“So that feeling of uncertainty in the world combined with all this news… talking about a pandemic… you know, it creates a feeling of anxiety.”

Without social interaction and so much uncertainty about our future, we are brought to a kind of stop where there is no forward or backward. We ‘languish’ in this ‘blah’ feeling with very little direction.

The anxiety that sets in about this can be conscious or unconscious, says Dr. Chow.

“A lot of times it becomes a subconscious level of anxiety and it creeps into our mind… creating that feeling of uncertainty around us. I think that’s why we develop this feeling of “languishing,” he says.

The opposite of languishing is flourishing – which is a pretty self-explanatory term. Dr Chow says that if we can be aware of ourselves as we go from blossoming to languishing, we can try to learn some tactics on our own to get out of it.

These tactics include:

  • Spending social time with family friends and loved ones rather than home alone
  • Investing in hobbies and crafts that add joy, satisfaction, and a sense of connection to our lives
  • Seek to clarify your “why”. Make sure that the goals you have are still what you want and that they are not the result of parental influence or peer pressure. Having a goal that you are truly passionate about will help you stay motivated
  • Celebrate the small victories and every milestone
  • If you live in a place where you can take a change of pace, consider taking annual leave or trying a new restaurant.
  • If you can’t due to the pandemic, try redesigning your home to feel fresh and new. It will help you feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment

If you’re unaware of what’s going on and how your feelings are changing, or your tactics aren’t working and you’re still sliding into languishing, maybe it’s time to seek professional help. .

“I think it’s good to start using strategies to help you deal with some of these feelings (like above). It boils down to when it manifests as feelings that you cannot handle or resolve or if it has become a physical manifestation and symptoms such as difficulty sleeping or waking up without feeling rested, ”says Dr. Chow.

There are many versions of extreme physical manifestations, including not getting enough sleep, wanting to sleep all the time, eating too little, or gorging on comfort food.

“With that kind of behavior… you should start talking to someone because the strategy you have… doesn’t work anymore. And if you let it continue, it can snowball into bigger problems. “

So for anyone who feels “meh” out there. Know that you are not alone and that there are both strategies and therapists who have the resources to help you thrive.

So much for that.

In case of emergency, please call 000.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the 24 hour Suicide Reminder Service on 1300 659 467.

Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the beyondblue helpdesk – 1300 22 46 36 or via for an online chat (3:00 p.m.- 12:00 p.m. AEST) or an email response.

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