Back in April 2021, psychologist Adam Grant put his finger on an enigma of the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis had been dragging on for more than a year but there was light at the end of the tunnel—the terrible winter peak had passed, vaccines were being rolled out quickly, and the prospect of seeing family, hugging loved ones, and going on vacation was on the horizon. So why, Grant found himself asking, did we all feel so blah? In an article for The New York Times that quickly went viral, Grant explains that this sense of stagnation and emptiness he felt is called languishing. He describes it as “the neglected middle child of mental health”: we’re not depressed—we can still get out of bed in the morning, keep up with our responsibilities around the house, go to work—but neither are we flourishing, as psychologists term mental and physical well-being. For most people, languishing will just mean an This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-One Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Ryan Heffington Meet the man bringing choreography, community and queer joy to the desert. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Nell Wulfhart Advice from a decision coach. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 49 A World of Difference A fun lesson in cultural faux pas.