By Katrina Vo posted April 29, 2021

Feeling a little empty? Finding it hard to focus, or get going? You might be experiencing the latest COVID-related syndrome. It's called languishing.

In a New York Times article, psychologist Adam Grant wrote about the growing languishing phenomenon. He describes it as a feeling of stagnation "like you're muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield". While languishing is not depression, it has been shown to be a risk factor for people who are particularly feeling the emotional long-haul of the pandemic.

We know many franchisor executives have felt a burden of responsibility for the personal and business health of their franchisees. With this in mind, in this Positive Franchising Update we provide you with:

  • Some tips for inoculating ourselves from languishing.
  • Our latest Franchising Facts on COVID's impact on franchise relationships.
  • Professional development opportunities to keep you sharp and positive.

BEST PRACTICE INSIGHTS: Inoculating ourselves from languishing

Here's a list of 10 tips that have been drawn from one of Greg's Healthy Franchise Relationships Tips on how to create positive mental health:

#1. Reconnect with your support network. Supportive relationships act as a buffer to stress, help us to bounce back from adversity, and make a positive  difference to our motivation and performance. (One benefit of attending our professional development programs is the peer support).

#2. Cultivate an optimistic mindset. Show gratitude for how others have helped you, and spend a few minutes before bed asking yourself, “What are three things that have gone well today and why did they go well?”

#3. Rediscover your sense of purpose. The energy generated by getting back to your 'why' can be significant. Why did you go into business? What is the difference you are trying to make in the world?

#4. Be more self-aware and accepting. We can manage negative feelings by naming our thoughts or emotions, and accepting them without judgement. Then focusing on the future and what we can do to make things better.

#5. Wind down before bed. The mind needs time to unwind, so make a rule to not look at your phone or computer 30 to 60 minutes before sleep. Some people also find it useful to have a warm shower or read a book that is easy on the brain.

#6. Maintain personal disciplines and routines. Routines in daily activities help us to conserve energy and create a sense of certainty, which is important for family well-being and personal health.

#7. Cook fresh and nutritious food. Cooking is a creative process that can provide mental stimulation, social interaction, and even exercise. And there's no food better for our brain and our health than fresh veggies!

#8. Do stretching exercises. Our sense of well-being is influenced by the health of our spine, which ensures the free flowing of energy to our various internal organs and bodily systems.

#9. Practice your character strengths. We all have several character strengths that we are good at, and which give us satisfaction, energy and enjoyment. You can identify these for free at  

#10. Practice a transition ritual every day. When you have finished your work for the day, deliberately do something that you enjoy, that engages your mind and that includes someone you care about. This is one of the most powerful things you can do to help keep your sense of balance. As you will see from our Franchising Fact below, it also helps to belong to a franchise network. 

Since the pandemic began, we have been asking franchisees about the personal impact on them, through our ACE Satisfaction Survey. Responses indicate that, overall, franchisees have received a high level of business, personal and social support from their respective franchise networks. For instance:

  • While 24% reported the shut downs and uncertainty had made them more stressed and less productive, this is much lower than the anxiety we have seen in the broader small business sector.
  • 89% of franchisees reported their franchisor had been somewhat to extremely effective in supporting them, and helping them to develop a plan on how to deal with the pandemic.
  • Also, 79% of franchisees felt their franchisor had been somewhat to extremely effective in keeping them up to date on important information relating to their business.
  • Furthermore, the more detailed their plan, and the better their franchisor communicated with them, the better franchisees felt they were coping.

Another trend we have observed is an increase in family support and work satisfaction by franchisees. While the pandemic has been stressful, it also appears to have reminded franchisees how fortunate they are to have the support of others, and in many cases, to be able to make a positive difference to others through their businesses. So the message to franchisors is, continue communicating with and supporting your franchisees, help them to build and implement a plan, keep them connected, and remind them of their value to others.

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