Healing Emotional Fatigue

Lots of folks are experiencing emotional fatigue due to the ongoing anxieties that plague our planet right now. As human beings, we habituate to everything, and over time we can become desensitized or burnt out due to ongoing exposure. As you read this, you or someone you know may be struggling to keep burnout at bay. Before we talk about what you can do, it is important to first recognize some of the symptoms of emotional fatigue:

Symptoms of Emotional Fatigue:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Withdrawal or isolation
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Apathy
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional constriction or “numbing”
  • Loss of purpose

You may have a few or many of the above symptoms. Once we tune in to what is happening, we can be diligent about doing what we need to do to recover and reset. Know your own unique set of symptoms and catch them quickly if you can. Early intervention, as with most things, is key.

A lot of people I work with, who are caretakers, discuss feeling as if they are being selfish if they stop to take care of themselves. I would counter that thought by saying that I think it is selfish not to take care of you. The old airplane metaphor may be cliche, but it is a good one. You absolutely have to give yourself oxygen first, before you can truly help someone else. We all have to keep going and we want to come out of this intact. Ramping up selfcare can not only keep us in a hopeful state of mind, but can also prevent the spike from sinking deeper. At some point, without our ability to recover, we become at risk of developing symptoms more conducive to trauma rather than burnout or fatigue. At some point, our lens can change as we lose both faith and hope for a better future. There is always hope, but trauma clouds the lens to the point that I may no longer be able to access it.

Remembering that it is not all bad, that there is treasure in the fall, and that we will get through this, requires an ability to see as clearly. Take care of yourself, so that you can keep your vision sharp. We need you now more than ever.

Clear Reflections

Choose a few things on the list below, and do them regularly. Pat yourself on the back if you are already doing some of these things. For most of us, symptoms of emotional fatigue will decrease or go away completely over time. If symptoms persist for you, or someone else for a month or more, then it may be time to contact a mental health professional to get the help you need to recover fully. Hope is always there.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms of emotional fatigue:

  • Set boundaries with others
  • Carve out time for yourself (protect it fiercely)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get outside
  • Pay attention to sleep hygiene
  • Stay intentional about nutrition
  • Find opportunities to laugh regularly
  • Be grateful
  • Drink water
  • Practice doing one thing at a time
  • Meditate
  • Stay connected to you, others, and your higher power
  • Be creative
  • Be around young children and animals
  • Stretch or do yoga

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