If you’ve gone through the last year feeling like you’re stuck or struggling to make your way through, you’re not alone. Adam Grant, a professor of psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a best-selling author, recently published an article in the New York Times about the prevalence of a new feeling many have experienced over the past year: languishing.
According to Grant, languishing is “a sense of stagnation and emptiness. 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.”
While it helped many of us put a name to the strange in-between state of mental well-being that we’ve been feeling for so long, the article did much more than that. It amplified the conversation about mental health into the mainstream.
During May, Mental Health Awareness Month, various organizations across the country that focus on mental health education and awareness have different themes and content. The connection between them all, however, is a singular goal to remove the stigma surrounding mental health to allow more people to seek out the help they might need.
“Tools 2 Thrive”
Mental Health America’s mission is “to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal.” Their theme this month is “Tools 2 Thrive,” which aims to provide people with practical tools they can use to improve their mental health.
Their 2021 toolkit reflects many of the needs that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to adapt after experiencing trauma and stress, how to deal with feelings of anger, how to process big changes, and how to take time for yourself.
“You Are Not Alone”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.” Their theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone,” which also seems fitting after the isolation we’ve all experienced over the past year. Their campaign focuses on the value of connecting with others in safe ways, how to prioritize mental health, and “acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.”
Throughout May, NAMI is running a social media campaign that encourages people to share what makes them feel #NotAlone. On May 22, they will be hosting virtual walks across the country to help bring more awareness to mental health.
“Be Kind to Your Mind”
The American Counseling Association (ACA)’s goal is to “promote the professional development of counselors, advocate for the profession, and ensure ethical, culturally-inclusive practices that protect those using counseling services.” They are using Mental Health Awareness Month as a means to encourage people to #BeKindtoYourMind.
The ACA believes that counseling can help people work through mental health challenges, so their #BeKindtoYourMind campaign aims to promote the benefit of seeking counseling when your mental health becomes overwhelming. A professional counselor can help you manage work-related stress, recover from trauma, develop a mindfulness practice, and even understand the connection between “food and mood.”
Don’t Hesitate to Get Help
Adults have reported feeling more anxious, stressed or depressed as a result of the pandemic. Even if you’re not experiencing these feelings and just languishing, there are a variety of benefits to talking about what you are feeling with others. Let this month serve as a reminder that you are not alone and someone is available to help you if you simply ask for it. If you have an aging loved one who seems to be languishing, a professional caregiver from Right at Home can provide companionship and alert you to any changes in their mental and physical health.