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It’s Mother’s Day, which means my birthday is around the corner and I’m reflecting on the last year. It has been a year, hasn’t it? Wow.

Today, my husband is driving to Ashtabula to see his mom. It is the first time in about 14 months we will spend the day apart. It feels weird. Really, really weird. He likes to share stories he hears on NPR with me and this week he told me about one describing how many of us are languishing these days due to the pandemic.

He asked me what languishing means. I said it is one of those words you have a feeling for but it is hard to put words to. Then I said, “not thriving”. And then I got the dictionary: to lose vigor or vitality; to live under distressing conditions. Not thriving was a pretty good guess and it really explains how I have been feeling for the last couple of months at least.

I told myself that if I wrote about languishing, I should also write about ways to cope with it. Since I have been experiencing languishing, it feels a little hypocritical to tell you how to manage it, but maybe this is just as much for me as it is for you.

So, here goes:

  • Find something beautiful or joyous in each day. For example, new leaves on the trees, buds and flowers, the look on a loved one’s face, the feel of clean sheets, or the taste of a piece of good chocolate. Spend 30-60 seconds savoring that moment. According to my college dictionary to savor is to taste or smell with relish or appreciation, to dwell on with delight. Doing this will help your brain to really take it in and file it into memory.

  • Practice gratitude. Use an app or a journal or a scrap of paper to write down three things each day (or whenever you remember to do it) that were good. They don’t have to be big things, just something that went well or that felt or tasted good, something that makes you smile or laugh. Gratitude helps us to focus on what is happening rather than getting lost in our thoughts about the past or future or how we wish things really were.

  • Eat healthy foods. Drink plenty of water. Go outside for fresh air and sunshine. Move. Rest. Breathe.

  • Laugh. Watch funny videos or your favorite sit com. Read a comic in the paper or online.

  • Be as kind and gentle with yourself as you can be. I know this is hard but it is so important to remember. We are humans and we make mistakes, and you know what, it’s okay.

PS: the day without my husband went pretty well, except for all the rain. I enjoyed the quiet and the solitude.

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