The effects of chronic stress can creep up on us without notice, and suffering through it is not the only answer
With the advancement in medical science and the dawn of newer frontiers in mental health, there are multiple perspectives to deal with problems now. Despite the building awareness, stress in everyday life manages to affect us. However, beneath the known signs and symptoms of stress, there is something that the pent-up stress does not always show.
Emotional exhaustion is more than the feelings of powerlessness, being out of control or lacking in motivation. People often describe their states as being 'stuck' and 'trapped', or in a loop of trying to catch up with slipping deadlines and vigorous hours of work. All of these are signs of long-term stress building up to this burnout.
Individuals suffering from emotional exhaustion have lesser recovery from every day drains on emotions and mental stamina. It is more common for people who are plagued with chronic stress to wind up emotionally exhausted, which has deeper, more permanent implications for one's overall health.
The picture is not so bleak after all, as one can help themselves a lot when they can see the problem and predict its course of effect.
Emotional exhaustion, feelings of hopelessness, and lack of life purpose can be overwhelming. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
How does one know if they are emotionally exhausted?
The subjective experience of this problem can vary from person to person depending on their capacity and other variables. However, out of both emotional and physical symptoms, there are certain general patterns one can observe.
Thomas, an employee in a cutting-edge R&D division of a tech company, suddenly realized he was getting irked at every small issue that came his way, like not being able to find his phone charger. His lack of sleep was affecting his work and it didn't seem like restoring itself to order.
Emotional exhaustion can lead one to develop apathy - where one can't find any interest or concern for things that used to be interesting to them before. Irritability is among the first signs telling us that our stress limits have been breached.
Beth has been missing her evening school classes since her part-time role as a voice artist requires her to travel to the studios for long distances. Her ailing mother helps her with her 4-year-old son Tyler as much as she can. But by the time Beth comes home her family is asleep and she cooks her meals alone. Her son does not like it when Beth becomes angry over small things. Her mother regularly complains of Beth not being there despite being at home. Beth's ex-husband left her with a crumbling house and no source of money except her voice acting.
In the above situation, Beth is already showing markers of emotional exhaustion like irrational anger, absentmindedness, apathy, and lack of motivation. Beth comes to an asleep home, alone, she has nobody to talk to if her day has been bad (which in her case would be almost every day).
People who work at high demanding jobs and stress levels are also likely to go through headaches, fluctuating appetite, bouts of nervousness and increased pessimism. Often times the simmering anger and frustration makes one feel hopeless and ability to focus is also diminished due to so many things are worrying them.
In organizations where the employees are boughed down by a lot of over-working and emotional exhaustion, there is a stark drop in their performance and in the morale of the teams they are a part of. There may be an increase in times when they miss deadlines and are absent on the job. Moreover, one can notice that their commitment to the organization is also nose-diving.
Where can one be careful?
Major triggers of emotional exhaustion can vary from person to person. For example, waking up at night to take care of the baby is not always stressful for everyone. While there are variations in the degree of suffering, the triggers can be generalized to a degree.
Individuals working in high-pressure jobs and multiple shifts- such as doctors, police officers, disaster management, etc. Many people who work in jobs they hate and have to work long hours to finish the day also make the list. Financial problems while having a baby and raising the children is a familiar one.
Treat your emotional exhaustion
Since there are myriad things that cause emotional exhaustion, there are some simple things that can elevate the effects of pent-up stress and chronic exhaustion.
1. Get enough sleep
One can't emphasize the importance of sleep enough when we talk about dealing with emotional exhaustion. One can begin by going to bed on a set time, regardless of other things you can do. Sleeping every night should also be made a priority if it isn't.
2. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol is known for soothing the mood, however, the substance leaves one more anxious by the time its effect wears off. It also affects the sleep cycle and hampers proper recovery.
Though it has been discussed a lot as a solution to stress, people find it difficult to believe that this technique can really help. One needs to appreciate and engage with the immediate real self for this. When one is worrying too much, they are just giving that too much thought, shift your focus on the present, and see the change.
4. Connect with a good friend (friends)
Knowing that someone cares enough to sit and listen to you rant in itself provides a good support when one needs. Interact with your friends face to face, this gives one a sense of safety and security while sharing the problem, since a good friend will not judge you.
5. Eat healthily
Choose a diet without processed food items. Organic yields help the body to recover faster and restore natural balance. Some of the recommended items are whole grains, lean meats, fresh vegetables to start with. Artificial sugars are ill-advised.
One of the best stress busters out there. Only requires you to go to the gym or outdoors to bring the spark on. Physical activity and the ability to make a change helps in mending emotions and confidence. It takes one's mind off problems. Even a small walk can help.