At CiminoCare communities, we have focused intently on safety, cleanliness, temperature checks and mask wearing over the past 18 months. When the opportunity came for senior caregivers and residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, we prepared to celebrate and return to normal! So, why aren’t we all feeling full of joy and ready to take on the world?
Adam Grant, in his NY Times article and WorkLifers Podcast, made current the term ‘languishing’, defined as an emotional state that isn’t depression or anxiety, but more a feeling of dullness, indifference and stagnation that inhibits wellness or the ability to thrive — in other words, things are meh. Given that the world is not simply “back to normal” and may never be, we can find ourselves lost and unsure of what we are supposed to do or feel now.
Grant noted that after his article was published, he was flooded with comments that people finally had a name for what they were feeling — languishing — and having a name for an emotion is key to managing it. It reminds us we are not alone in this feeling and adds to our ability to be resilient.
The senior care teams at CiminoCare have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Their loyalty and caring hearts have been foundational to our Senior residents’ wellbeing. However, many caregivers have shared how hard it has been to work with so much uncertainty and changes to their daily routine.
Consistently our senior caregiving staff tell us, “we are doing this for the residents,” but it is still challenging to find joy and motivation during this time. Scientists have been studying the physical long haul effects of COVID-19, but we are just beginning to look at the long haul impact on people’s sense of emotional wellbeing.
Now that we have a name for this common struggle, how do CiminoCare senior caregivers and team members slowly move out of what Grant describes as ‘fight or flight’ feelings into a more joyful and purposeful work life?
The tips that Grant suggests include:
- Name It. The recognition that your emotional wellbeing needs some attention is a big step and allows others to share similar experiences and provide context to have conversations about change.
- Avoid Socially Acceptable Responses. Move away from “I’m great” and “Everything is fine” and answer more authentically.
- Set Boundaries. Express your needs; set aside time for personal interests, goals or self-care.
- Focus on Small Wins. Find small projects or manageable challenges that you enjoy and celebrate when you complete them (e.g., word game, puzzle, taking a walk, calling a friend).
- Find Flow. Move away from multi-tasking; reclaim your purpose, absorb yourself in a moment, attach your actions to something you find really meaningful. Focus on one goal, however small, and chart your progress.
Read Adam Grant’s article here https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html or get more information and listen at https://beta.prx.org/stories/367625.