Emotional Exhaustion: What It Is And How to Fix It


What Is Emotional Exhaustion?

Emotional exhaustion, one sign of burnout, is a state of being emotionally and physically drained due to built up stress from your daily life and work.

The sense of no control over one’s life and feeling stuck in a situation are some examples of how people experience emotional exhaustion. Decreased enthusiasm due to lack of sleep and energy makes a person who is emotionally exhausted overwhelmed.

Long term experience of emotional pressure can lead a person to become mentally drained and weary, but it is not too late to get help, for you or your family.

What Are The Symptoms Of Emotional Exhaustion?

Different emotional and physical symptoms of exhaustion are present uniquely to each, but generally, the signs are as follows:

  • Depression
  • The feeling of despair and pessimism
  • Feeling unmotivated
  • Lack of sleep
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Absentmindedness
  • Apathy
  • Headaches
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nervousness and sense of dread
  • Irrational anger

Overworked employees that are emotionally depleted may begin to show changes in work-related performances and team discipline. Employers might notice the following:

  • Poor performance or failure to meet deadlines
  • Low commitment to the company
  • More absences
  • High turnover rate

What Causes Emotional Exhaustion?


Some daily stress and anxiety are normal, but accumulated stress may lead to chronic stress that takes a toll on one’s body. Constant chronic stress, whether from personal life or work-related issues, results in emotional exhaustion.

Emotional strain triggers differently from person to person. Certain stresses can be manageable for others but not everyone.

Here are some of the most common triggers:

  • High-pressure job (doctors, police officers, etc.)
  • Overworking for a job you hate
  • Pregnancy/parenting pressure
  • Financial instability
  • Homelessness and poverty
  • Death of family member or friend
  • Living with a chronic illness or injury

How To Treat Emotional Exhaustion

Specific lifestyle changes can help stabilize symptoms of mental pressure. These changes would not be easy to implement at first, but as you build a healthy habit, it will come to you naturally.

Small habit changes create a significant impact on managing and preventing a total burnout.

Recognizing these symptoms of emotional pressure is one step closer to stabilizing your emotional exhaustion. Try the following:

Eliminate The Stressor

The best way to treat stress is to disregard the cause although not yours. Working environment and co-workers that cause you mental exhaustion may make you want to consider changing jobs or reassigning.

Eat Healthily

Healthy food consumption means choosing a balanced diet rich with essential nutrients the body needs while avoiding too sugary, fried, and processed foods.

Practicing healthy food habits makes an enormous difference when you are stressed out. It improves your digestion and ensures that you’re getting what your body needs, which also affect your sleeping habit and energy level, improving your emotional state.


Physical activities boost your immune system and rewire your emotional state positively. As you exercise, your happy hormones, serotonin, and endorphins increase, thus making you feel relaxed and taking your problems off to the side for some time. Try to make a habit of exercising even if it’s just a long stroll to a nearby park.

Limit Alcohol

Alcohol temporarily relaxes your mind, but the feeling will wear off, leaving with feelings of sadness and anxiety. It also interferes with your sleeping habit.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep affects not only your performance physically, but it is also crucial for your mental state of mind. Aim for enough sleep for eight to nine hours, and develop a habit that can help you relax at night with the limits of caffeine to impact the quality of sleep you will get positively.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means taking your time for yourself and just enjoying the moment. This technique takes you away from your problem and engages you to a positive state of mental and emotional relaxation. It includes:

  • Routine meditation
  • Yoga
  • Breathing techniques
  • Journal about your thought and emotions

A study shows evidence that practicing mindfulness can help manage and reverse the impacts of stress.

Connect With A Trusted Friend


Connecting with friends and taking time to listen and talk about life are great ways to get in touch with your emotions. Knowing that you have a reliable and trusted friend by your side will slowly ease your stress without the feeling of being judged.

At work, check your counseling services and take advantage of it.

Take A Break

Everyone needs a vacation. Take time to relax and find time for your emotional self-development

Meet With A Professional

Seeking professional help from a mental specialist is important.

Along with lifestyle change, therapy provided by a professional can help you manage and work through a stressful event. Techniques used by professionals are as follows:

  • Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Relaxation techniques and psychotherapy

Talk To Your Family Doctor

Getting in contact with your health specialist will positively impact you. Medical prescriptions such as antidepressants or prescribed sleeping pills could be suggested to you as medication to ease and stabilize the burden of emotional pressure. However, these drugs can be addictive, so it is recommended to use them on the short term basis.

What’s The Outlook For Emotional Exhaustion?

Stresses responsible for emotional exhaustion lead you to a high risk of overall burnout. Left untreated, it can result in health illnesses. Psychological pressure and chronic stress can affect your overall physical and mental health state. It puts you at risk of having:

  • Increase the risk of heart problems including high blood pressure
  • Colds and infections
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain and premature aging
  • Anxiety and depression

Emotional burnout is curable when you eliminate your life stressors. If reducing your stress seems too difficult for you, talk to your health provider or seek medical advice from a mental specialist. Take advantage of the resources available to manage and cope with your stress and anxiety.

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