It’s often easy to spot when you’re feeling physically exhausted. You might have trouble keeping your eyes open. Maybe you can’t concentrate on what you’re supposed to do. You might even start to resent whatever it is that’s causing you to feel that kind of burnout. 

But, the emotional signs of burnout can be just as damaging and difficult to deal with. 

Unfortunately, they can also last longer, and potentially lead to other mental health issues like anxiety or depression. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the emotional signs of burnout. Recognizing them early on will make it easier to take a step back and give yourself the care you need and deserve. 

What Causes Burnout? 

The cause of burnout can vary from person to person. There’s no denying that we all experience some stress on a daily basis. Some of that is normal and shouldn’t be concerning. However, when stress starts to feel overwhelming, you’ll know. It will affect your overall quality of life and can manifest itself through both physical and emotional symptoms. 

One of the most common causes of burnout is a high-pressure job. If you feel like you can’t get a break at work, or your career is too demanding, you’re likely to burn out quickly. Other life situations that can trigger emotional exhaustion include financial stress, being a caregiver, living with a chronic illness, or even having a baby. 

Anything that creates excess stress in your life can contribute to burnout — even if it’s something positive, like raising children. However, the triggers are often associated with negative life situations, like going through a divorce, dealing with homelessness, or the death of a loved one. 

What Are the Signs of Burnout? 

So, how can you tell if you’re experiencing burnout? It goes beyond just feeling tired all the time. While symptoms can vary, some of the most common emotional signs of burnout include: 

  • Hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Irrational anger

photo of someone sitting on a chair in a therapy sessionYou might also feel a lack of motivation, increased apathy, and symptoms of depression. It can create a sense of dread that makes it difficult to simply get through the day. That’s especially true if your burnout stems from work or a situation you can’t avoid and have to return to every day. 

Physically, burnout can cause changes in your sleeping and eating habits. It can contribute to fatigue, and even trigger headaches and muscle pains. 

What Can You Do?

Some stress is unavoidable. In fact, a little bit of stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can serve as a motivational tool and help you to get things done. 

But, when stress takes over to the point of causing emotional and physical exhaustion, it’s a problem. 

If the symptoms above sound familiar, don’t wait to start making some changes. First and foremost, prioritize self-care. It isn’t selfish and it doesn’t need to be something elaborate or expensive. Rather, self-care is about finding small things you can do each day to benefit your well-being. 

That can include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, or exercising. It can also include things that will benefit your mental health, like mindfulness, meditation, or journaling. 

Talking to a mental health professional is also a great way to manage your stress and reduce burnout. Even if you can’t completely get away from the source of your emotional exhaustion, a therapist can help you find healthy ways of coping. Sometimes, simply talking about what you’re going through and how it’s affecting you can make a difference. 

If you’re struggling with a stressful life situation and experiencing burnout, don’t hesitate to reach out for anxiety therapy. Together, we can fight back against emotional exhaustion and help you find ways to care for yourself while you deal with stressful situations.