MENTAL HEALTH

Dealing with emotional exhaustion during times of unrest

If you are starting to exhibit symptoms of emotional exhaustion, it is important to focus on neutral or positive events
If you are starting to exhibit symptoms of emotional exhaustion, it is important to focus on neutral or positive events in your life to gain perspective on what is happening around you. (Dreamstime/TNS)

There’s no question 2020 has been a year full of change and trauma.

In addition to social unrest, you may be experiencing a high-pressure job, financial stress or poverty, being a caregiver, raising children, chronic illness or death of a family member or friend.

You may be wondering what’s next or what else you will have to endure.

As these events unfold, you may begin to feel unwell and irritable, and struggle to concentrate and motivate yourself.

You may not even know what is causing how you are feeling. You can feel trapped or stuck. You’re emotionally exhausted.

What is emotional exhaustion?

When stress begins to accumulate from negative or challenging events in life that just keep coming, you can find yourself in a state of feeling emotionally worn out and drained.

This is called emotional exhaustion.

For most people, emotional exhaustion tends to slowly build up over time.

Emotional exhaustion includes emotional, physical and performance symptoms.

Emotional symptoms include:

Anxiety

Apathy

Depression

Feeling hopeless

Feeling powerless or trapped

Irritability

Lack of motivation

Nervousness

Tearfulness

Physical symptoms include:

Fatigue

Headaches

Lack of appetite

Sore muscles or muscle tension

Performance symptoms include:

Failing to meet deadlines

Lower workplace commitment

More absences

Performing work duties more slowly

What to do

Emotional exhaustion can be treated by recognizing the stressors you are able to minimize or eliminate.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

When you are unable to change a stressor because it is out of your control, it is important to focus on the present moment. In your present, there are many neutral or positive events occurring. When you focus on these types of events, it gives perspective about what is happening around you.

Stress often is interpreted as a threat to survival.

When this happens, it increases the release of stress hormones from your brain, further contributing to your experience of emotional exhaustion.

When you are able to focus on small neutral or positive events, your brain is able to understand that the threat is not as dire as it may first seem. The amount of stress hormone released is decreased so you are able are able to feel more emotionally balanced.

Focus on the basics

Other strategies to reduce emotional exhaustion include:

Eliminate or minimize the stressor when possible

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Exercise

Get enough sleep

Practice mindfulness to engage in the present moment

Talk with a mental health provider to sort through the causes and symptoms you are experiencing and regain a sense of well-being.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.