Emotional exhaustion is no joke — and it can disguise itself as a variety of other stressors. It’s time to recognize when you’re at your edge, and how to see through the fog once and for all.
1. Everyday emotions consume you, even small ones.
When we get to a point where every single negative feeling threatens to totally derail us for the foreseeable future, it’s actually not that we lack resilience, but that we are hitting a saturation point of emotional overload.
That small inconvenience? It’s not the problem. It’s the tipping point of the problem that’s been compounding for a long time. You don’t need to fix what’s wrong on the surface. You need to find the courage to see what’s underneath.
2. You’re hyper-sensitive.
In the same way, your sensitivity doesn’t mean you’re just “overreacting” to things, it means that you are very aware that you’re right at your breaking point and one more setback is just something you can’t handle.
Instead of using your energy to try to control what’s around you, you need to use it to try to figure out why you’re so depleted in the first place. There may be elements of your life that are simply unsustainable. There may be important needs you’re continuing to ignore.
You don’t need to find the will to muscle through another minor discomfort. You need to find the will to see what got you to that place initially.
3. You’re feeling a deep sense of defeat.
Another key sign that you might be experiencing emotional exhaustion is that you’re seeing things through an “all-or-nothing” perspective. That’s because it can feel as though every last thing is a “make-or-break” moment for you when, of course, it isn’t.
When you’ve resigned yourself to hopelessness, it’s not because your future is actually dimmer. It’s your way of actually acknowledging the emotions that are present within you — the intensity, severity and duration of them.
It’s not that you’re hopeless.
It’s that you’re trying to communicate a boundary to yourself, effectively saying: “No more.”
4. You are struggling to find the will to move forward.
Along with feeling hopeless, you might likewise find it challenging to imagine how to move forward in your life.
This is probably because you’re trying to mentally tackle huge questions that do not yet have clear answers. This isn’t just true for you — it’s true for all of us.
What you have to start doing is taking it just one day at a time, and if that’s too much, just one hour.
Ask yourself what you need, and meet those needs. Sit with yourself and be honest about what’s really bothering you, and start working from there.
5. You’re scared of being “triggered.”
Of course, this is because you have a low degree of emotional control once you are.
The problem isn’t that you cannot control the existence of the trigger — you’ll only move farther and farther away from yourself by thinking that you might be able to control what everyone else around you thinks, says, and does.
Again, the point is that you start working your way back from the place of emotional overload.
6. You’re either too expressive about your feelings, or not expressive enough.
You’re having extreme responses: you either cry once an hour for an entire day, or you feel like you can’t cry at all.
Neither is sustainable.
You have to start working on processing emotions in real-time. This means both acknowledging how you feel while understanding what is and isn’t an appropriate place and time to respond to that feeling. It also means creating appropriate places and times to express exactly what’s on your mind and heart (journaling is good for this, alone time is, too).
7. You’re ready for a change.
Despite feeling so low, you’re actually ready for a transformation, and you know it.
Deep down, you know that your life isn’t working and hasn’t been for a while.
You know that you cannot continue to press on as you are.
The good news is that you don’t have to, but doing so first requires you to embrace the fact that there is not one, singular problem with you or your life, rather, there’s a collection of them that are stacking up on one another and getting you to where you are.
You can no longer live in denial of your feelings.
You need to honor yourself and meet yourself where you’re at.
Your new life is waiting on the other side.