Emotional exhaustion

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Life's challenges can leave us feeling drained or worn out. Whether it's an upcoming deadline or the difficulties of a divorce, stresses from both our professional and personal lives can result in burnout.

Emotional exhaustion can sneak up on us, manifesting both physically and psychologically. An individual may feel trapped or out of control, experiencing chronic stress to the point of ill health.

Individuals who are emotional exhausted may experience:

• Irritability

Sleep problems

• Physical fatigue

• Difficulties concentrating

• Loss of appetite

• Headaches

• Anger

• Pessimism

• Hopelessness



• Lack of motivation

What causes emotional exhaustion?

Emotional exhaustion occurs when an individual experiences chronic stress; long periods of stress that stretch over weeks or months with little to no relief.

The triggers of emotional exhaustion may be different for every individual, but are commonly associated with stress at home or in the workplace.

Individuals with high pressures jobs, such as armed forces personnel, police officers, or nurses, can be susceptible to emotional exhaustion due to the stressful nature of their work. Working long hours or feeling stuck at a job you loath may also contribute to emotional exhaustion. Students undertaking intense educational commitments, such as medical school, can experience symptoms.

Personal stresses such as having a new baby around the house, financial pressures, difficult divorce proceedings, acting as a carer for an ill loved on, or the death of a loved one can also lead to high stress and emotional exhaustion.

Can emotional exhaustion be treated?

Emotional exhaustion can be overcome once we learn to recognise trigger situations that cause us prolonged stress and the symptoms of emotional exhaustion that we may present.

Often, emotional exhaustion can be treated with lifestyle changes. Healthier habits such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, regular exercise, and limiting our intake of alcohol and drugs can boost our mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.

One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional exhaustion is to remove stress triggers from your life. However, this is easier said than done. If chronic stress is caused by a demanding job, it may not be wise to suddenly quit, even if it could benefit our health in the longterm. It may be best to first try managing triggers instead of removing them altogether, such as asking for a transfer away from a stressful department at work.

Practicing self-care can also prove effective in helping relieve emotional exhaustion. Consider taking up a new hobby, spending time with loved ones who have your best interests at heart, or signing off for a relaxing holiday.

Psychotherapy can also help individuals overcome emotional exhaustion. A professional therapist can work with clients to identify areas of their life that may be triggering chronic stress and suggest ways of tackling larger life challenges in a healthy manner. Therapists may also provide resources on relaxation and meditation techniques to help relieve stress.

Book a therapist for emotional exhaustion now.

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