I read an interesting article in the Sunday Times at the weekend, which highlighted a vast array of symptoms that people are experiencing after having Covid. Amongst the symptoms is ‘cognitive fatigue’. Thank goodness I’m not experiencing any slow down with the grey matter, but I’m most definitely struggling with physical fatigue having had Covid. It was described in the article as like being in a game of snakes and ladders. Push yourself too hard and you come sliding down the winding snake. In my case, it is when I do a workout that I suffer. It is taking me nearly a week to recover.
I can imagine a few people I know coming up with a simple solution to this dynamic … “don’t exercise then”! However, exercise has all manner of benefits, although I didn’t experience many of them after my golf round last Saturday. Physical and mental fatigue came to the fore. ‘Fore’ being the operative word as I sprayed the occasional shot wide of the fairway!
Symptoms when you haven’t had Covid
If you have had Covid, at least you are likely to know why you may be struggling at times, yet there are significant numbers of people who are fatigued, albeit in a different way, and can’t understand why they have a malaise around most things they do. It was a golf colleague and friend who raised this point when sending an article recently which appeared in the New York Times. It was written by on ‘Organisational Psychologist’ called Adam Grant. Yes, I didn’t know such a job existed either!
He identified that many of us are now caught in the void between being depressed and being fulfilled. This is not burnout in the traditional sense, for we still have energy. Nor is it depression for we are not feeling hopeless. We just have feelings of being somewhat joyless and aimless.
He calls it languishing
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels like you are muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. He goes on to say that it just might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
Now as you would expect, my mind started to drift towards my experiences here at Blue Sky. We’ve all been hit by dramatic changes in our lives and the way we are responding will be wide and varied. Personally, I may feel fatigued after physical exercise, but I’m pleased to say I’m certainly not languishing. According to Adam Grant, languishing can dull your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus and triples the odds that you’ll cut back on work. He believes it may be more common than depression, and in some ways may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.
Of course, such feelings don’t just manifest themselves during a pandemic. Those who have retired, lost their job, had a prolonged illness, got divorced or experienced the death of someone close can sometimes have similar feelings.
Advice could include finding some new challenges, discovering more enjoyable experiences and meaningful work but, of course, it’s hard to find the rhythm of life if you can’t focus. Again, this isn’t a new problem and as Adam Grant states, languishing was a problem long before the pandemic when people were habitually checking their e-mails 74 times a day and switching tasks every 10 minutes. However, add in the interruptions from children and indeed partners during lockdown, along with fragmented working patterns, is it any wonder that so many lack focus.
“Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement and excellence”.
The key is to try and give yourself the freedom to focus and be able to immerse yourself in anything which captures your full attention. Anything which is fulfilling.
If you are looking for something to do?
Sadly, languishing is what most people do when it comes to managing their money. The phrase “it feels like you are muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield” could have been written by me when referring to how so many people manage their financial futures.
If you are looking for something to do and wish to immerse yourself into a project which is meaningful and purposeful, perhaps now is the time to plan your future and manage your money better. Change is happening to everyone and what better time to reorganise those pensions and understand what they will mean to you down the line? Building an emotional connection to the numbers though is essential if you wish to live a more fulfilling life.
Remember, change can be daunting but managed properly it can be the start of something exciting.
If you know of anyone languishing monetary wise, just let them know we are here to help!
Enjoy the lovely weather.
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA
Chief Executive Officer
Adam Grant is an Organisational Psychologist at Wharton, the author of “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” and the host of the TED podcast WorkLife. Click here to read his full article in the New York Times.
Please Note: This communication should not be read as giving specific advice regarding your personal circumstances. This would only be given following detailed assessment of your individual needs. The value of investments may fall as well as rise; you may get back less than invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future returns.