4 Signs You’re Emotionally Drained (And What To Do)

Written by on March 15, 2020 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 0 Comments
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By Aleksandra Slijepcevic | Lifehack

We’ve all heard it. We’ve probably all said it. “I am just emotionally drained today!” Rarely, however, do we ponder where this phrase comes from, or just how literal these symptoms and sensations might be.

According to Healthline, emotional exhaustion is a state of being severely emotionally drained or depleted, from the build-up of stress from either your job or personal life, or both.[1]


Sometimes, this term can also be used to describe “burn out,” and the sensation of simply juggling too much and feeling the effects of a lack of energy to continue.

When we think about how fast-paced our culture and society are, it’s not a big surprise that we could all fall victim to these symptoms and ailments.

Who Experiences Emotional Exhaustion?

We see these symptoms readily in overly demanding jobs, whether in offices or in manual labor. However, emotional exhaustion can spring from any myriad of occupations, from parenting to creative work to entrepreneurship.

No one is exempt from feeling emotionally depleted, but there are ways to see it coming and to arm yourself against it.

Signs of Emotional Depletion and What to Do About Them

Below are some signs of feeling emotionally drained, and what you can do to help yourself and your loved ones.

1. Feeling “Stuck” or “Trapped” in Life or a Particular Situation

The Sign

When we’re feeling emotionally drained, we have a hard time changing and broadening our perspective of any given situation. If we’re struggling or trying to find a way out of a job, relationship, or problem, not feeling emotionally healthy can act as a strong deterrent from creating and maintaining a fresh, positive outlook.


At some point, all of us will feel stuck in a problem in life; this becomes a sign of emotional drainage when you start to feel like you are inherently stuck within this situation, with no energy or way out.

This can also manifest as a lack of motivation to seek out new solutions, or a feeling that we’ve resolved to trudge through our problems and simply accept that things aren’t going to change for the better.

As a result, we may develop depression, anger, and irritability, which can manifest as physical dis-ease, such as headaches, physical fatigue, muscle soreness, lack of sleep, and poor appetite. [2]

The Solution

One way of getting through this sign of feeling emotionally drained is to seek out help. This can be in the form of a dear friend or family member, or it may present itself in the form of professional help, such as a therapist, doctor, or alternative medicine healer.

In many instances when we are feeling stuck and trapped in life, we have a hard time pulling ourselves out of that constant, negative loop that our mind plays through. This is really where the benefit of the community can come into play.

Seeking out help not only alleviates the burden of having to feel and go through this problem alone, but it also allows you to receive input and perspective from outside, the neutral source that could be the breakthrough you need.

Other people can have a huge impact on the way our problems present themselves, showing us an alternative solution we would have never considered or found on our own.

2. Lack of Motivation to Work, Create and Pursue Goals and Dreams

The Sign

Too much stress can burn out even the most joyous of plans and initiatives. It makes us feel like, no matter how hard we try, there is just not enough emotional or energetic bandwidth to do anything at all.

This attitude and these mental and emotional states can make it very difficult for us to finish work, enjoy the process of creating something, or tackle goals and plans that we’ve committed ourselves to.

On a physical level, stress and lack of motivation can interrupt our energy levels to the point where we’re feeling fatigued, sluggishness, and a lack of an appetite.

We may feel sleepy during all periods of the day and show a clear disinterest in performing or being productive. We may also show apathy towards the things that usually bring us happiness, like making plans with friends or taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional health.

The Solution

One way of re-energizing ourselves when we do feel a lack of motivation is to start to get clear on why we’re lacking it in the first place. [3]

Maybe it’s because we’re stretching ourselves too thin, and our to-do lists have become seriously overwhelming. If this is the case, perhaps we can look into prioritizing our work by what is the most critical, and tackling those tasks first. [4]

Another reason may be that you’re falling into the “People Pleaser” rabbit hole. This is where you’re committing your time and energy to get things done for everyone else, without checking in with yourself first.

Can you actually handle that task or fulfill that promise? Do you even want to? These are important questions to ask, and be honest about the answers!

Once you take these steps, you can re-adjust and re-evaluate where you want to spend your time and effort, therefore kicking up your emotional energy again.

3. Irritability and “Flying Off the Handle”

The Sign

When our emotions aren’t in check, we have a harder time controlling what may be perceived as irrational anger or sudden outbursts. In reality, when we’re in the thick of that “burn out” sensation, we’re desperately trying to keep our cool and keep our work and tasks from falling apart. It’s exhausting, depleting, and just frustrating!

In these moments, when our emotions are fried and desperate for a reset, it’s easier for us to give in to anger or irritability, or to sudden outbursts of rage. Emotional depletion just looks for an exit, and it doesn’t care who receives the brunt of it. We may feel regretful later, but at the moment, we’ve lost the ability to check ourselves.

The Solution

One powerful way of dissolving that anger is through the breath. When we’re angry and frustrated, our breathing and heartbeat quicken, all leading to an activation of the fight-or-flight response in our systems. When that kicks in, it’s harder for us to think rationally or make sound decisions. Instead of acting, we RE-act, and not always in the best way.

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