Emotional Burnout

emotional burnout healing mental health self-awareness self-care Oct 08, 2021

We have all experienced emotional burnout at one point or another. We go through these periods where we are just exhausted, stressed, and feel like we have been pulled through the wringer. There is a lot of stress that we can experience, whether it is from work, a relationship, or having been quarantined for months. 

Unlike stress, emotional burnout is the state of being mentally drained and physically and emotionally exhausted. It's stress that has been building and building to the point you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands of day-to-day life. As the stress continues to weigh on your back, your motivation decreases, and you begin losing interest in things you once enjoyed. Emotional burnout can happen to anyone, though it is more common for people with demanding jobs and caregivers. When we go through a major life change such as illness or financial stress, we can become at greater risk of getting emotionally burnt out. 

Outside of exhaustion, there are other physical symptoms from being burnt out that we can experience. When we are constantly stressed, our immunity can weaken, making us more susceptible to illnesses. Our body can weaken to the point where we are physically exhausted after doing mundane tasks such as laundry or the dishes. You can get muscle pain, headaches, and your sleep habits can change to the point of insomnia, where you are just so exhausted and want to sleep, but you can't. Some people can also experience a change in appetite and bowel movements. 

When we are emotionally burnt out, we can start to feel trapped, living the same day and the same routine, over and over again. We all have been going through a lot with the emotional rollercoaster of 2020. There was quarantine, cities opening and closing and opening again. The fear of illness and loss, loss of income, and the unknown of what can happen. Many families had no idea how they could continue to earn money with so many businesses and schools closed. The issues from these last couple of years can make us feel isolated and trapped. Maybe even defeated and helpless. 

How do we get burnt out? It can be as simple as day-to-day life, such as a stay-at-home mom becoming emotionally drained from having children around her all the time to someone who is working 60 hours a week trying to make ends meet. There's a level of being burnt out with just the mundane aspects of life, not feeling like there's an end in sight, and feeling overworked or undervalued. And a big issue for those with emotional burnout is taking out their frustrations on other people. When we are emotionally exhausted, it can be easy to snap at a child saying "mommy" for the 50th time or a spouse putting their dirty laundry on the floor. We are at these points where we cannot emotionally process anymore and the smallest inconvenience can be what puts us over the edge. 

To begin handling burnout, it is important to be self-aware of what you are feeling. If you have no idea that you're burnt out, then you're not going to be in a good space to take care of yourself. Once you recognize what is happening with you and what is causing you to feel burnt out, you need to figure out what you need to do. What do you need to do to balance work and home life or family time and you time? You need to be able to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. The first thing you need is to set aside time, which means not everything has to get done. Not every email needs to get answered. You are allowed to take a time out for five or more minutes just to be alone. You are allowed to take a day off and recharge yourself. You don't have to be absolutely the best and give a thousand percent of yourself to the job, the kids, spouse, family, friends, or whatever. It is not sustainable to put that much focus and effort in, and eventually, you're going to get burnt out. Focus on YOU. Learning how to do something for yourself isn't that difficult. It's just a matter of being very conscious of the fact that you deserve that five, ten, or twenty minutes of balance to take care of yourself.