Emotional Exhaustion: Is It Really a Thing?

Simonne Lee

Life Strategist

As our days get shorter, our ‘to do’ lists get longer and our goals just get bigger and bigger.

We’re all familiar with physical exhaustion, the body just STOPS. With mental exhaustion, you just can’t SEE your way out of situations. So how does emotional exhaustion fit in this equation?

Emotional exhaustion is simply feeling drained emotionally. You can’t handle another stressful situation as you’ve reached your limit and depleted all your emotional reserves.

Usually we acknowledge being emotionally exhausted once it has tipped into other aspects of our lives. E.g. when the body can’t be pushed further and/or have worn our selves out mentally – then we will have the awareness to check in on ourselves.


Signs of emotional exhaustions:

– Anxiety/Stress
– Increased levels of anxiety are one of the first signs to indicate emotional exhaustion

– Change in sleeping patterns
– Difficulty in falling a sleep

– Reactive
– Emotional in how to respond to situations and conversations

– Anger
– Getting angry for no reason

– Change in appetite
– Eating more or less

– Loss of enjoyment
– You step into auto-pilot to survive

We all have busy lives, cramming so much more in a day then we’ve ever done before. It’s completely understandable how we can get sapped so easily and our tolerance goes out the door. As our motivation starts to wane, it can be a catch twenty-two trying to replenish our emotional reserves.

Emotional exhaustion is a detachment from our self. Trying to get through our day and assume all the emotions that we ‘should’ be experiencing without actually allowing ourselves to feel them (living on auto-pilot).

If we’re able to recognise our own signs of feeling emotionally tired, before we are drained, we can effectively stop a domino effect of letting exhaustion reach all three aspects within us emotionally, physically and mentally. They are all intertwined however early signs will indicate which aspect is tired.


Here are some ways of replenishing your emotional body:

– Such a beautiful way of reconnecting with yourself through breath.

– Mindfulness
– Just by choosing to place your focus on something with awareness, aligns ourselves emotionally, physically and mentally.

– Relaxing
– Finding that neutral place within yourself where you are neither on a HIGH or LOW energy mood. We’re looking for the CENTRED energy mood.

– Saying NO
– Learning to have boundaries that support your replenishment.

– Support
– Realising that you don’t have to do this on your own.

Many of us will need a period to emotionally unwind. It’s as if we’re peeling back the layers of experiences we’ve had so we can process them and file these understandings away. Being a female, I like to use our wardrobe as an analogy. We wash our clothes to keep them fresh and bright, we fold and put them away. You may even stop and look at your wardrobe or drawers, take in all our different styles on offer.

Now imagine that you’ve been washing your clothes and left them in a big pile. Every couple of days, that pile gets bigger and bigger. You have to start looking through your pile of clothes, you don’t know what’s clean and what’s not AND you keep washing only. Sooner or later, that pile is going to trip you over or just overwhelm you (another sign of emotional exhaustion).

Keep things simple and do a little bit everyday. Check in with yourself and see how you are feeling with focus and awareness (mindfulness). As little as 5 minutes a day will completely turn your life around.

Instead of your ‘to do’ list getting longer and find yourself living emotionally in the future. You get to experience JOY on a daily basis and as for those big goals, well life just got a whole lot more fun!! Who’s motivated now?


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