As time progresses the idea of burnout is being drilled into our heads as awareness is being raised. Nowadays, employers are being made aware of how employees who are burnt out are less productive and hence it is more beneficial to take care of one’s employees. However, despite all this hype about burnout individuals are still experiencing it. This blog aims to introduce emotional burnout, where one isn’t physically tired however is emotionally drained and overwhelmed. It is a result of prolonged stress and also inhibits one’s ability to function because usually one experiences hopelessness and helplessness.
Situations that can lead to emotional burnout
As discussed above, emotional burnout results from prolonged stress and there are several situations which can lead to stress. Most commonly these include work, school, postpartum, chronic illnesses and prolonged court proceedings. The problem with emotional burnout is that the individual tends to feel that the situation is out of one’s control and hence nothing is done to change the situation. On the other hands other might believe that it is normal to experience such feelings and hence also remain in the given situation. This can lead to serious health problems. Therefore, it is important to recognise the signs in order to instigate change (Cafasso, 2021).
Signs of emotional burnout
Recognising signs is essential because once one is aware that one is emotionally burnt out that one can act rather than remain static. As discussed above one of the signs of emotional burnout is this feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Hence this creates a challenge for one because when one does not believe one will automatically lack motivation. This lack of motivation also stems from the fear that trying to change things might create further stress that one cannot handle. Therefore, one needs to understand that something can be done, despite how impossible the situation might seem. This can be done with the help of others such as family members, friends or professionals. Even though some believe that in given situations one is expected to give advice, simply listening would provide enough support for one to unload and create room for some hope.
Additionally, other signs of emotional exhaustion include changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, being easily frustrated, feeling fatigued and dreadfulness (Cafasso, 2021).
Dealing with emotional burnout
One of the first steps in relieving emotional exhaustion is to identify the cause. Then one can decide whether this could be avoided or not. Additionally, there are other things such as exercise, healthy eating and adequate sleep which improve one’s emotional well-being and thus reduce emotional exhaustion. Having a support system also reduces emotional burnout as one can discuss what is troubling oneself with those who are ready to listen and provide support as needed. Finally, mindfulness is a technique which reduces negative thoughts and enables one to focus on the positive, thus is also beneficial for reducing emotional exhaustion. Mindfulness exercises include breathing exercises, yoga, nature walks and journal-keeping. Hence if one is feeling emotionally exhausted it is suggested to try any of the techniques discussed above, talk to someone and most importantly believe that something can be done.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, and clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.
Cafasso, J. (2021) What is emotional exhaustion and how do you fix it?, Healthline. Healthline Media. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-exhaustion#symptoms (Accessed: January 3, 2023).