After working for more than 8 hours seven times a week non-stop, you feel tired, sleep-deprived, and emotionally exhausted, then you are currently undergoing an emotional burnout.

Burnout can significantly affect our mental health, everyday functions, and how we handle things. Emotional burnout is defined as a psychological state of mind where you can no longer find hope and positivity in your situation. You feel mentally drained and tired of your personal life.

There are different types of burnout. One of them is occupational burnout , which is a school- or work-related and emotional burnout that has a lot to do with relationships or socially induced stressors.

Some people may fail to recognize that they are already experiencing emotional exhaustion, but it is there. Those at high risk are mostly people undergoing major changes in their lives, grieving, workers with in-demand jobs, and patients with chronic stress or illness.

Suffering from emotional exhaustion can make you feel useless and helpless. If not appropriately addressed, this could easily alter your life balance, sleep, mood, lifestyle, and mental health.

Our bodies usually give off warning signs and physical symptoms before an emotional burnout could happen, but they get ignored most of the time. 

Understanding Emotional Exhaustion

The feelings of sadness, distress, and negative emotions brought about by emotional exhaustion are not permanent but could affect every person differently. It could last for a short period or longer depending on the cause, stressors, situation, and the person’s way of coping.

Everyone can experience emotional burnout without any exceptions. It can be caused by your job, co-workers, or even your family at home can contribute as a stressor.

Emotional burnout happens when your brain cannot handle any more stress and pressure that your mind and body suddenly shut down, and you feel like you no longer have control over your entire being.

Causes of Emotional Exhaustion

Factors that cause stress are constantly around us. They are everywhere, whether in the office, school, or even at home, and it is normal to feel the pressure and anxiety from time to time. Burnout creeps in when these stressors build up and go beyond our capacity to handle these challenging situations.

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Burnout

Being emotionally exhausted doesn’t happen overnight but gradually. Early warning signs and symptoms usually show physically or emotionally that start subtly but worsen over time. If these symptoms are not dealt with properly, they could affect your health and life.

Emotional Symptoms of Emotional Burnout

There are some signs that indicate you are slowly developing emotional burnout and that you need to take action to avoid being emotionally drained. You are suffering from burnout if:

  • You feel a sense of irrational affectivity and extreme negativity toward your everyday life and job
  • You see yourself as a failure and trapped that you literally had to drag yourself out of bed to get to work
  • Your responsibilities seem to suck the life out of you
  • You notice the lack of motivation to live life

Experiencing emotional symptoms can be challenging and overlooked that you need someone close to you, may it be your friends or loved ones, to notice any changes in your behavior or outlook in life.

Physical Symptoms of Emotional Burnout

These types of symptoms are easier to identify. They dramatically affect your health, body, and everyday life, as well as your immune system. Physical symptoms of emotional burnout are frequent headaches, muscle pains, quickly getting fatigued, weight gain, or weight loss due to an increase or loss of appetite.

In addition, emotional burnout can also cause diseases and other medical conditions related to lack of sleep and poor nutrition. These are some examples of red flags telling you to take a break, examine your emotions, and focus on your health and mental state.

How These Symptoms Can Affect Our Professional Lives and Behavior

Emotional burnout can surely influence different aspects of our lives, especially our jobs and career growth. It can cause low professional efficacy and decrease job satisfaction. One can easily get overwhelmed with small tasks and frustrated for no apparent reason.

Emotional worn out may also result in changes in our behaviors and how we interact socially. Going through the day with these negative emotions can greatly disturb our physical and mental command over our body, including our work-life balance.

How Can Emotional Exhaustion Affect Your Health?

Failing to deal with emotional burnout can inevitably affect our health. Our bodies being in a constant flight-fight mode due to stress will cause changes in how we may feel and move.

Emotional burnout can also affect our eating and sleeping habits, causing depression,  anxiety, and other medical conditions brought about by fatigue.

Ways to Handle Emotional Burnout

Acknowledging that you are experiencing the early signs of emotional exhaustion is the first step to handling burnout. Take a break from those long hours of work and examine your feelings and thoughts. Stop pretending that everything is fine and admit to yourself that you are already mentally drained out.

Focus on your needs and prioritize your physical and mental health. Allow yourself to take a break and recharge your energy. Forget about those deadlines and free yourself from social pressures and professional responsibilities. Remember that your well-being always comes first.

Try to eat a nutritious diet, have adequate sleep, or commit to activities that can brighten up your mood. Treating your mind and body well is vital in helping you recover and deal with emotional exhaustion.

Improve your relationships and connect with a family member, friend, or trusted colleague. Whenever you are suffering from sleep deprivation due to stress and burnout, find someone to talk to, preferably someone close to you.

It is important to talk about your mental health to avoid emotional exhaustion. Consider your loved ones as your support group and surround yourself with people you trust and can depend on.

And finally, eliminate your stressors. Acknowledge your feelings, talk to yourself, and find out what is causing the stress and anxiety. Disconnect from toxic people in your social and professional circles and set boundaries to balance your work, social, and personal life.

Emotional Burnout Affects Mental Health

Emotional exhaustion can result in serious damage to an individual’s mental state. Being unable to handle the stress brought about by a heavy workload or longer working hours can lead to depression and the feeling of being “trapped” and unproductive.

Seeking help from a mental health professional can prevent you from traversing the road to mental depletion and deterioration. They are trained to help you be in command of the stressors that you failed to manage alone.

How to Deal With Emotional Exhaustion

Stressors are everywhere and unavoidable, so to cope with emotional burnout, you must commit to changing your lifestyle and habits.

  • Keeping your body healthy by trying to eat a balanced diet, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol consumption can instantly boost your energy and put you back on track.
  • Exercise daily and set up a goal to keep you motivated and focus on the beautiful side of being alive.
  • Avoiding the leading causes of stress when possible and doing what makes you happy and occupied can refresh your thinking and allow you to return to your usual self.
  • Maintain an acceptable work-life balance by not letting your career get the best of you and making sure that you always have time for yourself and your loved ones. Find time to relax and take a breather when everything around you at work gets toxic.
  • Changing your attitude by trying to achieve open-mindedness and refocusing on what is going right in your life will give you a better outlook in life.

Coping Mechanisms for Mental Exhaustion

There are four coping strategies that will keep your focus on your emotion and mental state.

  1. An adaptive cognitive strategy is when you change what you think about the situation or the problem. It is when you try to distance yourself from the main source of stress. You can also modify your goal and values and try to find the brighter side of the situation.
  1. Adaptive behavior strategy focuses on the problem you are experiencing and trying to eliminate the stressors. It is about taking control of the situation by seeking information and comparing the positive and negative causes of the problem.
  1. Focus and awareness of your emotional state and admit that you are in trouble and need help. Being mindful of your genuine emotions places you in a good position to take authority and make assertive decisions that could help you survive life’s challenges.
  1. Find your own support group, as talking to them can help relieve stress. Avoid being alone and sad to save yourself from falling into depression and overthinking.

When to See a Mental Health Professional

Every person copes with burnout in their own way. But if it seems that you are trapped in a cycle of the same situation without making any improvements, then you are not healthily dealing with stress.

You may want to consider asking for professional advice. Mental health professionals can help you treat the above-mentioned physical and emotional symptoms more effectively. Book an appointment with Kentucky Counseling Center now to get rid of the emotional exhaustion that has been keeping you from being happy, healthy, and peaceful.

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