Let me guess what you are feeling right now.
You are tired. Exhausted. Burnt out
But weirdly, you don’t remember doing some serious heavy lifting. You don’t recall doing anything that might require massive exertion of energy. You just live your life as usual. And yet, you still feel tired. Why?
Well, most probably, it’s not your physique that is tired, but your heart.
Emotional burnout, or emotional exhaustion, is a condition in which you feel emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of cumulative stress from your personal or professional lives, or a mix of the two. When you go through this, you will often feel as though you have no power or control over your circumstances; you just feel trapped and stuck in your life situation.
Yes, you just living your life as usual, is probably the very reason why you just keep feeling tired, and more tired.
Here are some signs that you might be emotionally drained.
Everything irritates you.
It might seem like negativity is everywhere around you, and it irritates you all the time. As a result, you have a tendency to lose your cool, even at the littlest things. Even and especially if, you’re someone who’s not like that before.
To make things worse, this can lead to you venting your frustrations on the closest, loved ones to you, who are most likely not deserving of it at all. And that makes you feel worse, making causing your mental health to decline even more.
You lack motivation to do anything.
Even if you’re someone who don’t like your job in the first place, normally you would be able to allocate at least some sort of energy to ensure that your work is properly done. But now, those deadlines given by your boss, are nothing more than just chains dragging you throughout your journey.
And that is only talking about your work life. What about your laundry? Dishes at the sink? The thick cobweb at the upper corner of your wall? The stove that has not been turned on in a while? Even at the personal aspects of your life, you still lack motivation.
“I can’t even do it properly anyway, why even bother to try?”
Those words might linger around you at sudden moments, making motivation even seem to be out of reach.
You’re feeling detached from your life.
You might feel that your energy has been sapped away, to the point that you can’t experience the emotions you normally do when confronted with a scenario or subject. You no longer feel a connection to anyone or anything. Nothing has an impact on you. You are neither happy nor sad.
If you are going through these signs, I am very sorry to hear that. It does seem like your mental health is hanging by a thread. But fret not, you can get out of it.
Here are some practical ways on how to overcome it.
- Take care of yourself, slowly.
Exercising, eating a healthy diet, sleeping enough, and staying hydrated can all boost a person’s resilience.
I know, you might roll your eyes, and saying “duh”, or “my energy is already lacking, but you’re adding this up?”
In all seriousness, diet and sleep are frequently overlooked. Just eating at regular intervals and reducing screen time at least two hours before going to bed, can actually help a lot. Mental and physical well-being are closely linked; taking care of one aspect will help the other aspect to get better as well.
So just try anyway. It’s better than not doing anything, and let both of those aspect deteriorate. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, and you have nothing to lose by trying.
- Create a self-care Toolbox.
Figure out what makes you feel calm and relaxed when you’re winding down. Now, put all of them in a box. There you have it, your own self-care toolbox. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, exhausted, or just need a break, use the toolbox.
It’s as simple as that. But here’s a more extensive guideline on wikiHow on how to make your own self-care box.
- Connect with trusted individuals.
Face-to-face conversation is an excellent method to de-stress. And by face-to-face, it does not mean you and the other person have to be physically in a same room. The main point is, you need to be talking to the person in real-time. In this current time being, phone calls work as well. Video calling, is literally a face-to-face conversation 😉
The person who is listening to you does not need to solve your problems; all they need to do is be a good listener. A trusted family member or acquaintance can listen to you without passing judgement. If you don’t have somebody nearby, check if your company has an employee assistance programme that includes counselling. If that isn’t an option either, try seeking help from a mental health professional.
To sum this up, it’s reasonable to feel overwhelmed and anxious in these uncertain times. And it’s reasonable that these two emotions alone may take a lot of your mental energy.
So, take a deep breath, allow yourself to experience them, observe the sources of those emotions, and take things one step at a time. It might not feel that way at the moment, but emotional exhaustion is definitely reversible and avoidable.
All the best!