Stating a fact, 2020 has been an exhausting and challenging year for everyone, no matter what age group, no matter what background, it has taken its toll on all of us. Life as we know it has changed upside down in a blink of an eye, and suddenly we have found ourselves facing the dangers of a pandemic, trying to adapt to the new normal.
With distressing news headlines, social isolation from our friends and loved ones, studying online and working from home, as well as endless hours spent on our smartphones as the only means of communication, it is totally normal not to feel ok; rest assured you are not alone. If you feel you are on the brink of breaking down and already feel drained, chances are you are dealing with an emotional burnout.
What is emotional burnout?
It is a state of feeling worn out, exhausted, and drained due to accumulated stress in any aspect of your life. It can be caused by stressful situations in your work, relationships, or with your family. We already deal with some forms of stress on a daily basis, but we reach the point of an emotional burnout when it exceeds our capacity. Emotional burnout can affect how we function, even in the simplest of things.
What are the signs of an emotional burnout?
1. You notice physical ailments. When you are emotionally burnt out, it does not reflect on your psychological state alone, but also on your body because it gets in a constant fight-or-flight mode. As a result, when you're under constant and chronic stress your body may suffer from fatigue, headaches, heart palpitation, sleep disorders and change in pattern, and a significant change in weight, either loss or gain.
2. Your emotions are irrational. There are several signs of emotional exhaustion such as getting easily and quickly irritated over trivial matters or demonstrating unjustified anger. You may also notice that you small tasks that you normally do on daily basis have become overwhelming.
3. Loss of motivation. Emotional burnout can leave you apathetic and detached. You become less interested in things and activities you normally enjoyed doing. Needless to say, you also have no appetite at all to try anything new.
4. Social interactions become challenging. When you are emotionally burnt out you come less engaging in conversations and sometimes you may tend to avoid social gatherings altogether. This comes as a result of low self-esteem, detachment, and insecurity when we undergo emotional exhaustion.
How to help yourself heal from an emotional burnout?
1. Acknowledge your feelings. The first step to healing is to acknowledge your sufferings. Often times, people try to find an easier way out by seeking a new coping mechanism instead of finding ways to heal. You think by normalizing your emotionally alarming state that you are helping yourself while in fact you are evading the core problem.
2. Take a time out. Once you acknowledge you are not ok emotionally, make it a priority to take a break. Avoid as much as possible things that may affect you. For example, avoid watching the news and watch a movie that puts you in a good mood. If necessary take a couple of days as a break from work to come back better and more productive.
3. Identify the causes behind this emotional exhaustion. Take some time on your own to reflect and process your emotions. Assess every aspect of your life in order to be able to spot the area that is lacking or does not make you feel satisfied. Once you figured out the problems, find effective and constructive ways to voice your concerns and sort out the problems.
4. Focus on your needs and look after yourself. When we have so many responsibilities we barely take time to focus on ourselves and our needs. Also, when we constantly cater to the needs of the ones around us but not ours, we end up drained. If for example, you have a friend or colleague who constantly shares their problems with you but barely listens to yours, make it clear that you need to talk or need someone to listen to you.
5. Surround yourself with the right people. When you are not feeling your best, the last thing you’d want to do is to be surrounded by negative people. The toxicity and negative energy of other people impact us directly, leaving us feeling worse than we already are. In times when you feel down, surround yourself with positive people who don’t have a negative outlook on life, their energy will make you feel better.