How to Fix Emotional Burnout: What It Is and 4 Steps to Feel Better

What is Emotional Burnout and 4 Steps to Feel Better

signs of emotional burnout - how to fix emotional burnout mental health

How are you REALLY feeling? 

Have you noticed how when you ask someone how they’re doing, people almost always answer with “okay” or fine”? I (Haleigh Kreber, LMHC) have noticed that following the “okay” or “fine”, is often a description of how stressful life is and how that person feels as though they are exhausted and cannot take ONE. MORE. THING.!

This is a sign of emotional burnout. Typically, when we hear the word burnout, we think of work, but it’s important to be aware that it can happen in any area of our lives. Emotional burnout occurs when stressors build up in our lives faster than we can process them, and can leave us feeling like we’re always in a bad mood, worn out, and disconnected. Burnout is different from stress in that oftentimes when we are functioning within high stress it keeps us going, burnout is the “crash”. An overall feeling like you’ve hit empty and you have nothing left to give. 

Here are a few steps you can take to avoid or decrease emotional exhaustion (AKA emotional burnout): 

1.Explore early signs of burnout: Usually we notice the symptoms of emotional burnout first.

  • Some symptoms you may notice include heightened irritability, low frustration tolerance, negative thought patterns, fatigue no matter how much sleep you get, frequent headaches/body aches, feeling disconnected from supports, and lack of desire/feeling numb.

2. Give yourself permission to take a break. Breaks are needed and taking breaks can help us feel ready for the next step of identifying the source of our emotional exhaustion. Once we identify the source, we are better able to gain the perspective we need to let go of some of that stress.

  • For example: We are able to let go of things on our “mental to do list” that aren’t as urgent as we’re currently feeling they are. You know, that thing on your mind that you want to get done over the next 6 months? Take a guilt- free break and let it go for now!

3. Be compassionate and kind to yourself. Consider taking note of how you’re talking to yourself. Our minds have an inner dialogue that’s constantly going. Notice if it’s more negative than positive, and if so, practice shifting that dialog to being more positive.

  • For example: Intentionally shift the narrative telling you “I yelled at my kids too much today.” to “Some days are challenging and I’m trying my best”. 

4. Reach out to supports! Connecting with people helps us feel grounded and gives us perspective. Ask for help – from friends, family, or consider giving therapy a try! We can take time in therapy to explore the source of burnout, process through thoughts and feelings, and identify healthy coping strategies to help you feel your best.

We look forward to all the ways we can support you!