In the modern world, we face constant stressors that leave us in a continual state of stress. Stress can lead to mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion.

Emotional exhaustion is an invisible enemy. A person suffering from it will often not know how to articulate how they are feeling. Emotional exhaustion will creep in and affect every part of their lives, eventually leading to burnout.

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Emotional exhaustion: a leading indicator of burnout

nesslabs.com

In 1982 Christina Maslach coined the term "emotional exhaustion" as part of her definition of burnout. She reasoned that feeling drained or hopeless were not meaningless complaints but part of something that is far more harmful.

Symptoms of emotional exhaustion:

  • Lacking motivation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Unable to focus
  • Increased apathy or cynicism

These symptoms often seem contradictory. How can you feel tired and have difficulty sleeping?

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As stress will always be part of our lives, we need to find sustainable coping mechanisms to help us effectively deal with emotional exhaustion.

Strategies include:

  • Improve sleeping habits. Put down your phone before bed and avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Make time for self-reflection. Taking up journaling can help to manage early symptoms of emotional exhaustion.
  • Take a break. Take some time out to recharge, relax, and rethink your goals and relationships with work.

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