Emotional Exhaustion & Burnout: Symptoms, Causes And Coping Strategies

What Is Emotional Exhaustion, and How Can We Cope with It?

When we experience emotional exhaustion, we do not only feel helpless and emotionally tired. It often leads to physical health issues, too, since our mind and body are tightly connected. 

Emotional exhaustion does not happen overnight. Rather, it builds up in time, so it may be difficult to identify its symptoms and treat them on time. 

The following post introduces you to how to treat emotional exhaustion, how therapy can help, and what it means. 

What Is Emotional Exhaustion?

Emotional exhaustion is characterized by feelings like emotional drainage and is one of the main signs of burnout. It is often the cause of having a stressful lifestyle — whether it is at home or work. People who are emotionally exhausted often feel helpless, like they have no control over their life. 

Emotional exhaustion can be difficult to overcome. When it happens, it leaves us feeling tired and trapped in a vicious cycle. It is often associated with poor sleep or insomnia, lack of energy, and motivation to change something in our lives. 

This is why it’s very important to learn more about its causes and how it can be treated – whether it is for yourself or someone you love, it’s important to know that it is never too late to get help. 

What Causes Emotional Exhaustion?

The main culprit is stress. We are prone to emotional exhaustion when we are constantly stressed by one or more factors in our life. As people are unique, so are their stress tolerance and personal circumstances, so emotional exhaustion can be triggered by different factors. 

Some of them may be:

  • Having too many responsibilities, such as being a parent, going to work, or studying at the same time; 
  • Going through a difficult life situation, such as the death of someone you love or a divorce
  • Financial stress and work-related stress;
  • Caregivers, homeless people, and others in difficult situations are also prone to emotional exhaustion;
  • Becoming a parent or raising children;
  • Living with a medical condition;
  • Not having a healthy work-life balance.

These may be some of the common triggers, but they are not the only ones. If you feel overwhelmed by any situation in your life, helpless and lacking motivation, you may suffer from emotional exhaustion. 

Risks Associated with Emotional Exhaustion

It is important to understand that emotional burnout can have a long-term impact on your physical health. Over time, if left untreated, it is associated with numerous conditions. Chronic stress leads to heart, immune system, and overall well-being issues. 

If untreated, emotional exhaustion leads to:

  • High blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease
  • Premature aging
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Exhaustion

Some individuals may not be able to identify emotional burnout in its early stages. This is because the emotional drain often happens in time and people tend to cope with stress in different ways. 

If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, you may need to consider coping mechanisms to help you become optimistic, positive, and motivated again. 

Sleep Difficulties

Emotional exhaustion is often associated with excessive fatigue. For instance, insomnia or trouble falling asleep leads to feeling tired throughout the day, so you are likely to dread your obligations. 

For some emotionally exhausted people, it does not matter how long they sleep at night — they still feel tired during the day. 

Brain Fog

Emotional burnout leaves us feeling foggy, such as making it difficult to focus, we tend to forget important aspects, and we feel confused most of the time. In severe cases, short-term memory can also be impacted. This may also be linked to physical pain, such as headaches. 

Anxiety and Depression

Emotionally tired people suffer from anxiety and depression. In the early stages, these can be mild, such as a general uncomfortable feeling or a lack of motivation. The symptoms become overwhelming if untreated, such as feeling disconnected, trapped, and even simple tasks like getting out of bed can seem impossible. 

If you or someone you love experiences this, it is important to seek a mental health professional. 

How to Cope with Emotional Exhaustion

Depending on its severity, emotional burnout can be alleviated by changing your daily habits. If you are worried about your mental health, you can combine the following suggestions with personalized mental health therapy. 

Identify and Eliminate the Stressor

In some cases, such as a divorce, you may not be able to eliminate the stressor. But, it’s important to analyze and identify the causes of emotional exhaustion and see if they can be eliminated. 

For instance, if you are stressed at work, it may be time for you to consider changing your job. 

Have a Healthy Lifestyle

Self-care is extremely important, especially if you struggle with sleep issues. Loving ourselves can be one of the best treatments in this case. Choose healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and stay clear of fast food, sugary snacks, or processed foods. 

When we are stressed, healthy foods impact our mental health by providing all the nutrients we need, boosting energy levels, and improving digestion. 

A healthy lifestyle can also lead to improved sleep. You should exercise at least 30 minutes per day, even if it is just walking. Sleeping sufficiently helps you relax and feel more energetic during the day. If you currently struggle with getting enough sleep, you can try to establish a sleep routine. 

In other words, you go to sleep at the same time each night. You should aim for about 8-9 hours of sleep per night while limiting caffeine intake. 

Take Time to Relax

Whether it is a yoga session, a walk in the park, or writing your thoughts in a journal, relaxation and the time you spend with yourself are extremely important. Mindfulness exercises boost your mood and reduce your stress and anxiety. 

Spend Time with Your Loved Ones

Emotionally tired people may not feel very sociable, and it is understandable. However, social disconnection can be one cause of emotional burnout. Try meeting up with your friends and family, make small talk with your neighbors, or even join a walking group. 


In our dynamic society, emotional exhaustion becomes more and more common due to the excessive stress in our life. It can have a deep impact on our physical and mental health. 

If you have any symptoms, it is important to contact a professional that can provide you with personalized treatment to help you improve your well-being, identify and remove stressors, and cope with the difficulties in your life. You can do it on Calmerry, online. 

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