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I’ve always paid close attention to my body and its symptoms.
It’s almost impossible to deny and avoid what my body is feeling at this very moment. Every organ seems to loudly speak to me and tell me what’s wrong—or right.
Whether I choose to listen to my body or not is not the point. The point is that what’s happening within my cells and muscles is concrete. I can touch my skin and feel where the tension is. I can move my neck back and forth and feel what’s pulsating within.
However, when it comes to our mental and emotional health, it’s not as easy to spot where the pain is. Although with time emotional pain makes itself visible through our bodies (such as physical discomfort or stress), we can’t quite put our finger on it.
And this is exactly what makes emotional burnout so damn challenging. We feel it, but we can’t see it like an open wound on our skin. And most times, unfortunately, we disregard the symptoms and think it’s just “another bad day.”
But it’s not just another bad day.
Emotional burnout is the result of accumulated overthinking, stress, fatigue, worrying, and overwhelm. It could be our work or relationships. It could be a challenging situation or an unprecedented event. It could be a financial problem or a loss of a loved one. Eventually, after taking on so much more, we will reach a breaking point.
And this breaking point might manifest as the following:
1. Demotivation and a lack of productivity.
The first clear sign of emotional burnout is demotivation. We might not even feel motivated to shower, change our clothes, make dinner, or clean the house. Small things that are a regular part of our routine become big things that we can’t even handle. Our loss of inspiration eventually takes its toll on us, causing us to sleep more, eat less (or more), and do absolutely nothing.
2. Poor interaction with others.
When we’re emotionally burnt out, we fail to communicate or interact properly with those around us. We might get irritated, show disinterest in conversations, or get snappy. Since emotional burnout usually results in anger and extreme sadness, it might get especially hard to connect with other people.
3. Isolation and detachment.
I know that I’m emotionally burnt out when I seek alone time. Being away from people saves me energy and a whole lot of explanation. My feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and shame highly affect my connection with others. In some cases, we might even remove ourselves completely from responsibilities, such as attending a gathering, going to work, or having meetings.
4. Feelings of hopelessness.
Hope is what keeps us alive and happy; without hope, we can’t really survive. A telltale sign of emotional burnout is feeling hopeless and uncaring. Even if everything is going right in our life, our “bad mood” won’t allow us to see the good. We just want to get everything done and…
Emotional burnout almost always manifests in our bodies as severe fatigue and stress. When we’re emotionally tired, we get physically tired too. Because of this, we might find ourselves wanting to sleep in or go to bed early. It’s our kind of “break” from the hustle and bustle of our everyday life.
If we want to treat emotional burnout, we have to be willing to take an actual, temporary break from everything that’s causing us stress. Practice self-care and acknowledge that you’re suffering.
Be mindful of your day, draw better boundaries, and decrease any actions or activities that are a part of the problem and increase practices like meditation, yoga, walking, gardening, or anything else that might bring you peace and comfort.