Everything You Should Know About Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional exhaustion is a term you may not have heard before, but it almost certainly is something you've experienced before. In fact, in a report released earlier this year, the American Psychological Association noted that emotional exhaustion is at an all-time high across most demographics. Pandemic lockdowns and quarantines, the economy, political polarization, social unrest, and high-stress work environments are only a handful of reasons why it is on the rise. 

Other reasons for emotional exhaustion include:

In spite of the increasing prevalence of emotional exhaustion, many people still are not aware of what it is or how to get help for it. Left unchecked, emotional exhaustion can be damaging to your mental and physical health, as well as your relationships and career. The great news is that there is a growing awareness of what burnout is and how to manage it—which is helping people have a better outlook on it and overcome it faster.

Signs of emotional exhaustion

Stress is the culprit of emotional exhaustion, and the symptoms can creep up gradually or begin suddenly. Here are some of the top signs you should be on the watch for:

How to keep your relationships from suffering

Oftentimes, it's our relationships with others that suffer the most when we reach the point of emotional exhaustion. Maintaining your social relationships is more important than ever when you're struggling with emotional exhaustion. Not only do your social relationships provide a much-needed support system, but they can also help you recover more quickly. 

Here are a few ways you can keep your relationships and social life from suffering:

1. Set boundaries. This is a great way to help manage mental health in general. Setting boundaries means knowing your limits and always sticking to them. Saying no can be difficult, but it is also necessary to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed with obligations. Working with a therapist can help a lot with overcoming the guilt you may feel about enforcing your boundaries.

2. Be intentional with your time. This is achieved in part by maintaining your boundaries. Being intentional with your time means staying organized so you always use your time wisely and have the time to enjoy the things that make you happy and relaxed. It also means avoiding stressful activities whenever possible and scheduling time for self-care in your routine.

3. Support your loved ones even when you can't physically be there. Even if you are not currently overwhelmed or experiencing emotional exhaustion, it can be difficult to always be present for your loved ones. However, that doesn't mean you can't support them in other ways. In today's digital age, sending messages of support and having virtual hangouts is always an option.

How to manage (and overcome) emotional exhaustion

The old adage "you can't pour from an empty cup" rings true. Self-care is the first step in managing and overcoming emotional exhaustion. Start by managing your stress, which includes eating a balanced diet, exercising, prioritizing sleep, and finding ways to sneak in self-care even when you have a busy schedule. Speaking to a therapist is also a great way to help reduce stress and develop healthy coping skills for managing emotional exhaustion. If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of burnout or emotional exhaustion, Medens Health is here for you. We are taking new patients in California and Nevada —reach out to us by phone or text at (833) 624-5400, or by filling out our online contact form.


The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.

If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.