Emotional exhaustion and how to recover

Today I woke up in tears, I've been suffering from headaches more than usual over the last few weeks, and my energy levels have seen me falling asleep on the couch by 8 or 9am.

I've suffered burnout before and know the signs, and not surprised its reared its head again.

The last 12 months have been an endurance test for everyone, and some of us have had to deal with a fair bit more than Covid-19 and the frustrations it brings. Some us have seen our relationships fall apart, family members battling with debilitating illness, job and income losses just to name a few.

I myself have experienced quiet a few of the above mentioned hardships, and as such it has taken it toll on me, leaving me exhausted beyond anything and emotionally drained.

The symptoms of emotional exhaustion can be both physical and emotional. People who suffer from emotional exhaustion often feel like they have no power, or things are out of their control, making them feel stuck or trapped in a situation.

Some of the symptoms are:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Physical Fatigue
  • Absentmindedness
  • Apathy
  • Headaches
  • Change in appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irrational anger
  • Increased cynicism or pessimism
  • Sense of dread
  • Depression

Waking up in tears, and spending the day struggling with focusing on my tasks, my head pounding and crying again on and off throughout the day, I knew I had to face the realisation that I am heading towards burnout once more, and have been for sometime.

Emotional exhaustion is not having a bad week, it is far wider ranging and leaves you feeling emotionally depleted and completely and utterly exhausted.

It's easy to miss the early signs, and that you are near the end of your capacity.

What can you do to recover?

Reduce the drain

The first step is to recongnise the circumstances that are depleting you and than limit your exposure to them.

Learn to conserve

The second step is to acknowledge your feelings and start to reappraise stressful experiences and know when to start limiting yourself from those experiences.

Replenish yourself

This doesn't mean just taking a break and resting, this means figuring out which activities recharge you, such as taking a walking, pursuing your hobbies, connecting with loved ones.

So as I take sometime to recharge, I hope you too also take sometime to recharge too.