Instead of just ‘languishing’ in a pandemic, I decided to be more intentional in taking care of myself

Trying to find my “flow”.

| Jane Zhang | Sponsored | August 20, 2021, 11:00 AM

I don't know about you, but Covid-19 has created a bit of a Goldilocks situation for me recently.

Generally, I’ve been fortunate that life hasn’t been treating me badly. At the same time, I haven’t felt like I’ve been thriving either.

But unlike Goldilocks, I haven’t quite been able to find the “just right”.

The term I would use to describe how I had been living would be "floating along".

Languishing — the absence of well-being

Then, a couple weeks ago, I came across a YouTube video by American comedian Anna Akana, based on a New York Times article that named this exact feeling I was experiencing:

"It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless.

It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing."

And apparently, I'm not alone in feeling this. As the pandemic has stretched on, many people's mental health and general well-being have taken a toll.

While some other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, have been relatively well-researched and -discussed, languishing is something that most of us might not even realise is happening to us.

The article described it as “the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being”, which I feel is exactly what I’ve been feeling — stuck in the middle, unable to take care of myself well.

It suggests that a possible "antidote" to languishing could be "flow", or "elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away".

So, I decided to try to find that “flow”.

Make intentional plans for myself

My therapist suggested that I list out activities that I enjoy and that I want to work into my schedule. Then, at the beginning of each week, I can slot them into my schedule, keeping in mind that plans may change and I can allow myself flexibility as needed.

My schedule of enjoyable activities. Photo by Jane Zhang.

Intentional activities in my schedule include listening to an audiobook while enjoying my lunch, rather than scrolling through my phone, and just taking a few minutes in the morning to drink a glass of cold water and practise some mindful breathing.

Not being on my phone also allowed me to enjoy my lunch more fully, and observe my surroundings as well. Photo by Jane Zhang.

Instead of just digging through the pantry for whatever was there, I went grocery shopping — and remembered to bring my reusable bags along, as I’ve been trying to be more environmentally-conscious — to get myself snacks and fruits that I enjoy.

Snacking on some rambutan. Photo by Jane Zhang.

If you also enjoy grocery shopping for some of your favourite snacks and are hoping to be more sustainable, you could incorporate this Ximone fruit tote bag (S$4.90), from local home décor brand Hooga, into your routine.

Photo via Hooga.

On some nights, if I had time and wanted to feel especially calm and pampered, I would treat myself to a more in-depth skincare routine with slightly fancier products, while watching a calming YouTube video.

For people who enjoy a bit of aromatherapy as part of their evening routine to calm them down, Hooga’s Gourmand reed diffusers (S$16.90) and scented candles (S$9.90) could perhaps be a good addition to their evening routines.

Photo via Hooga.

And because I was being more intentional with my free time in the evenings, I didn't feel the need to stay up late to "make up" for wasted time, so I was able to sleep earlier on most nights as well.

Strengthening my relationships

And because I was taking care of myself better, I found that I could devote more time and energy to my relationships.

Like spending some time talking to my parents and my brother, sharing photos with them of what I had been up to that week and listening to stories of their recent camping trips.

I also went craft supply shopping with my boyfriend on one of the evenings, so that we could glue and mount the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle that we had finished months ago, to clear the way for our next puzzle.

Finally glued the puzzle together. Photo by Jane Zhang.

And finally, I found the time to go through all of my friends' messages that had been piling up, so that I could put in the time and energy that they deserved in my response.

I invited a friend — who I hadn’t seen in over a year — to my house to catch up over dinner, and scheduled Zoom catch-ups with several others overseas.

Hooga’s Lawford fairy lights (S$6.90 for 10 metres) are one way to create a warm and comfortable ambience for spending time with friends and loved ones.

Photo via Hooga.

It's a constant journey

There's no easy, happy ending to "overcoming" my languishing — it's a constant work-in-progress.

It's still an up-and-down journey; after two weeks of feeling like I was doing a pretty good job of combatting my languishing, I was hit hard by side effects after getting my second Covid-19 vaccine, which meant that I spent a good four to five days pretty groggy and unable to muster up the energy to achieve "flow".

And that's perfectly okay. Part of this process for me has also been about being kind to myself as I do my best to take care of my well-being.

Home décor focused on encouraging growth

Hooga is also focusing on various types of growth, as they turn three years old this August.

Hooga’s catalogue includes items to help support customers as they work toward their own spiritual, family, friendship, and environmental growth.

Perhaps one way that you take care of yourself spiritually is by spending quality time alone to meditate or think. You could do so by spritzing some Black Room Spray (S$8.90) in the bathroom and then dipping into a hot bath or long shower.

Then, after finishing the rejuvenating bath or shower, you could bundle yourself up in one of Hooga’s towels (starting from S$1.50).

Photo via Hooga.

Taking care of yourself could also mean ensuring that you have a good night's rest instead of staying up until 2am on TikTok (yes, this is a personal call-out).

Curl up in Hooga’s Hayward bedlinen (selling from S$239), which Hooga says is made of Tencel and produced using environmentally-responsible processes.

Photo via Hooga.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have forced us to physically distance ourselves from our loved ones for many months, but we can now work to strengthen our family and friendship ties, both in-person and virtually.

Hooga's Mystical soft toys (starting from S$8.90) and pygmy throw (S$29) can create a cosy space to reconnect, whether you do it over FaceTime while curled up with the soft toys, or by create a little blanket fort for your friends when they come over.

Photo via Hooga.

Photo via Hooga.

You can shop for these items, and many more, from the comfort of your own home on Hooga’s website. Get up to 40 per cent off of off-season products on their Sale page here.

For updates on new home décor items, follow HOOGA on Facebook and Instagram.

This sponsored article is brought to you by Hooga.

Top image by Jane Zhang.