5 ways to manage emotional exhaustion

In a world that seems to never stop what do we do when it all catches up with us?

After the last 2 years of constant change, expectations and challenges to navigate, a frequent comment that I hear from children, teenagers, parents and professionals is that they feel ‘exhausted’.

There has been so much to navigate, that many feel that they have not been able to catch their breath.

The reality is that we can’t just push the pause button and so when barriers, obstacles or difficulties crop up we still need to go to work, look after our families and do the housework and whilst what we really want is to curl up in a ball it can sometimes be….impossible.

But what impact does it have on our health?

When we have conflicts that occur in our home lives they can take multiple forms:

Family conflicts
Stress at work
Breakups of relationships
Financial worries
….the list goes on

In addition, the impact of the pandemic has been far reaching, affecting each family in different ways. Some factors can be easily resolved, others may pass in a short amount of time, and some slowly chip away at us over a period of time. With this comes the slow burn on our brain, as stress takes its toll and we can often feel like there is never any light at the end of the tunnel.

In the midst of the issue we know we have to get up and keep going, there isn’t a choice to press a big red button that halts all issues and allows you to ‘choose’ which one you want to work on at that moment.

Therefore, it is in the moments when we DO stop that it catches up with us like a steam train whose breaks have stopped working. In those moments we often admit that we are ‘tired’ and that we are struggling. However struggling looks VERY different for different people:

It may include:

  • Low mood
  • Being snappy or irritable
  • Being argumentative
  • Being withdrawn
  • Battling negative thoughts
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • People pleasing behaviours
  • Panic in situations you would normally feel rational in
  • Destructive eating/drinking patterns
  • Skipping meals without intent
  • Lack of sleep or excessive sleep
  • Struggling to verbalise feelings
  • Being forgetful
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Loss of motivation

Any of these behaviours can present singularly or in multiples. Each case is individual and personal to the person and it can be disorientating for those around them to understand what is happening. However in these moments our body and mind is screaming at us that we need to intervene, and often multiple combinations of the symptoms will occur before it is acknowledged that all is not as it should be.

So what can we do?

Here’s 5 things you can do when you are exhausted:

#1 – Admit you are not superhuman

We cannot be everything, to everyone, at all times. Reviewing your life and where you spend your time is the best starting point for reducing the load that you are carrying. We often ‘fill’ our days with jobs and tasks which are not necessary and can wait, and at times of exhaustion removing these and the pressure of ‘always being somewhere’ is vital to allowing you to get some headspace (and perspective). Noone is born with a superhero cape and deciding that you will focus time on yourself and your immediate circle is often vital in the first steps of recovering from exhaustion.

#2 – Ask for help

Asking for help can feel like a huge obstacle. However when you are struggling those who love and care for you are often stood at the side lines ready to step in and support wishing to help you lighten the load or navigate. Asking for support with tasks that don’t require ‘you’ can be a great starting point of giving yourself some space. In other cases you may feel that working with a therapist or life coach would give you a better perspective or allow you to identify the patterns which have bought you to this point, as such you can then identify new thought processes or behaviours to ensure that once this is resolved it does not happen again.

#3 – Get some rest

The housework can wait, the shopping can be done online – get some rest. When we are overwhelmed and exhausted getting some good quality rest is vital to allowing us to gain a better perspective. If you struggle to switch off consider relaxation audios (visit our shop) or you might choose to visit your local aromatherapist who can create you a special blend to encourage relaxation, or consider relaxation therapies to support you. Taking some time out for an afternoon nap or an early night supports you in restoring energy levels. When we are exhausted we need extra rest.

#4 – Get out in nature

Connecting with nature and getting out in the fresh air supports serotonin production, increases oxytocin and allows the body to reconnect. There is a good reason that health advocates promote walking and fresh air – it literally invigorates you. Sitting at home surrounded by technology and ‘work’ or ‘distractions’ means that we can feel obliged to get on with extra activities, whilst out in nature we can breathe more easily, connect with our senses and self and often start looking at things from a new perspective.

#5 – Disconnect

Technology has taken over our lives in recent years, if you read my recent article about teen anxiety you will have seen my responses to how technology (Tv, iPads, phones etc) over stimulate the limbic system in our brain (the part focussed on emotions) and when we are already exhausted this overstimulation from screens and messages can create internal stress. Disconnecting from phones and social media and getting back to connecting with people and ourselves is an important component of self-care and recovering from exhaustion as it allows us to balance our emotions, hormones and thoughts.

Taking time to recover from long term stress and getting out of our routine is the greatest support we can give ourselves. Taking some time to commit to self-care is a routine that you will never regret.


© Dandelion Training and Development – All Rights Reserved

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Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit – HERE 

To learn more about child mental health visit – HERE

For resources to support child mental health visit – HERE

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