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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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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 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 an outside, 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 Freams

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.

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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 fatigue, 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 getting 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.

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3. Irritability and “Flying Off the Handle”

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 into 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 in the moment, we’ve lost the ability to check ourselves.

The Solution

One powerful way of dissolving that anger is through 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.

When we tap back into our breathing, we allow it to soothe and reset that fight-or-flight response, so that the body can come back to homeostasis. [5]

Check out the below GIF to help you tune back into long inhales and exhales. Follow along with the animation, and notice how, after a few moments, you start to feel more relaxed, grounded, and centered.

Read more about breathing exercises: 3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Relax and Reduce Stress

4. Constant Fatigue and Poor Sleep

Some may think that feeling emotionally drained would put you to sleep right away, but the opposite is actually the case. Insomnia has been linked to a complex number of emotional and mental disorders, and because everything in the body-mind-spirit connection is intricately linked, it’s not a surprise that if one thing is off, the entire system is affected. [6]

Getting enough sleep is immensely important to the wellness of your entire being. Without it, we’re essentially running on empty, and depleting the body of what’s already a draining effort.

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Notice your sleep patterns, and pay attention if you’re having a hard time letting go of the day or your to-do list before you head to bed. Are you working over unfinished tasks while trying to fall asleep? Are you battling emotions and thoughts at night?

These all might point to being emotionally drained, which carries into the next day, with constant fatigue throughout your day and week.

The Solution

One way of checking in and alleviating these symptoms is to start creating a ritual sleep routine. A few hours before bedtime, start to wind down any use of electronics or work. Whatever wasn’t finished that day, jot it down to start first thing in the morning, but start to cut ties with it before you prepare for bedtime.

This will ensure that you’re not rummaging around in your mind for any other ideas or work, when you should be giving your mind and body much-needed rest.

If it helps, start implementing some essential oils to ease you into rest. Lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint are really soothing, and can even help with sinus issues or congestion.

Final Thoughts

Emotional exhaustion or feeling emotionally drained is a by-product of something in our everyday life that is misaligned – be it work, play, family, or anything in between. It’s essential to narrow down the root cause, and re-evaluate how you spend your time, how you prioritize your work, and how you treat your mind-body-spirit connection for optimal well-being.

More Self-Care Tips for You

Featured photo credit: Nik Shuliahin via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Aleksandra Slijepcevic

Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Clear Your Mind and Be More Present Instantly

How to Clear Your Mind and Be More Present Instantly

You may be wondering how to clear your mind. Maybe you are facing a tough presentation at work and really need to focus, or perhaps you’ve got a lot going on at home and just need to relax for a few minutes. Whatever the reason, having a clear mind can help you find your center.

The only problem is that you can’t completely erase the thousands of thoughts you have each day. The goal is to be able to observe those thoughts without engaging with each one of them.

The good news is that clearing your mind and returning to the present moment comes from a simple act of acknowledging that you’re overwhelmed in the first place. A path to better mental health and overall quality of life starts here.

What Happens When You’re Not Present?

We’ve evolved to keep looking and working towards a future goal. The very nature of our careers is to make sure that we’re setting ourselves up for the future. Our thoughts and, therefore, our habits and actions consistently point in the forward-moving direction, whether it’s in your relationship, career, or goals.

The point at which this becomes harmful is when we become too stuck in this forward motion and can’t reduce stress in the short or long-term. The result of this is burnout.[1] It’s a term that is most often used in the workplace, but burnout can happen in any area of our life where you feel like you’re pushing too hard and too fast.

The idea here is that you’re so engrossed in the forward movement that you take on too much and rest too little. There is no pause in the present because you have this sense that you must keep working.

On a physical plane, the body takes a real hit with burnout. You feel more muscle fatigue, poor concentration, insomnia, anxiety, poor metabolism, and so much more.

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These symptoms are the body’s way of throwing you red flags and warning you that you must slow down. But because your mind is so preoccupied with this forward momentum, it disconnects you from listening to your body’s signals. The only time you really hear them is when the signals are too loud to ignore, such as during serious illness or pain.

As we can see, not being present is something that snowballs over time. Eventually, it can cause serious mental, emotional, and physical ailments. 

To help you deal with this, you can check out Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment to see where you may be off balance. Then, you can check out the points below to keep moving in the right direction.

How Do We Come Back to the Present?

Answering this question will answer the question of how to clear your mind because they go hand in hand. There are many tools you can use to begin a mindfulness practice.

To reiterate, mindfulness is simply defined as the act or practice of being fully present.[2] Tools that allow you to step into this practice include meditation, journaling, a body-centered movement practice such as Qigong, or simple breathing exercises.

Underneath it all, however, is one technique that acts as a universal connector, and that is acknowledgment. This term may not sound like a technique, but its power truly flourishes when put into practice.

For us to come back to the present moment, we have to acknowledge that we have trailed off into the past or the future. Likewise, for us to clear our mind, we have to acknowledge that our mind is overwhelmed, distracted, or scattered.

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This simple act of pausing and catching ourselves in the moment is how we can build our acknowledgment practice. So, the next time you find yourself overwhelmed at work with mental to-do lists, pause. Acknowledge your state of mind and say to yourself that you’re overwhelmed. This sends a signal to your whole being that you’re aware of what’s going on.

It cuts the cords of illusion, denial, and ignorance. You are now building your awareness of yourself, which is an incredibly potent gift.

How to Clear Your Mind

Now that you’ve acknowledged where you are and how you feel, you can take action and learn ways to clear your mind. You can take a few moments away from your desk or to-do list, and practice something to ground yourself back into the present moment.

1. Take a Walk

Grounding yourself can be as simple as taking a walk and admiring the changing of the leaves. This practice is also known as “forest bathing,” and it doesn’t necessarily need to take place in a forest. It can be in your favorite park or even walking around your town or neighborhood.

Bring your attention to the senses as you enjoy your walk. Can you tune in to the sounds of your footsteps on the earth? Can you notice the smells and take in the sights around you while staying present in the moment? Can you touch a leaf or the bark of a tree and allow the texture to teach you something new?

Such a practice does wonders in clearing your mind and bringing you back to the now. It also connects you more deeply to your environment.

2. Box Breathing

As you’re learning how to clear your mind, a mind-clearing practice may look like sitting down and going through a nourishing meditation or breath practice. Breathing is, honestly, the easiest and best way to clear your mind. Even taking a few deep breaths in and out and feeling and noticing the breath will bring you right back to the present moment.[3]

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In yoga, we call this breath Same Vrti, meaning a 1:1 breath ratio. It can also be translated as “box breathing.” The idea is to make the length of your inhales and exhales the same, as this allows you to take in more oxygen and slow down the chatter of the monkey mind. It also kicks on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion, offering many health benefits in the long run.

This will allow your heart rate to slow down so that you can reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. It also aids in digestion, as the metabolism is back on track, and helps you physically process food and drink properly.

3. Add Meditation

how to meditate and clear your mind is also helpful when you want to clear negative thoughts and relieve stress. In fact, following your breath is a meditation in itself. Adding a visual, like imagining gentle ripples on a lake or clouds passing along a beautiful blue sky, can give the mind something to attach to without running through the train of your thoughts.

On the other hand, if you are mentally overwhelmed and meditation sounds like more stress, tuning in to a guided meditation session can be alleviating. It often helps to hear the voice of a teacher or guide who can walk you into more peace and contentment with their words and energy. If you can’t find such a guide in a local studio, turn to the many meditation apps on your phone, or YouTube.

4. Write Your Thoughts

Alternatively, another powerful practice for when you’re learning how to clear your mind is sitting down and writing out all of the thoughts in your head. We call this a “brain dump,” and it is an effective method for simply releasing your thoughts so that you can mentally breathe and process things better.

Grab a piece of paper and write out all of the thoughts that are pressing for your attention. The idea is not to analyze the thoughts or fix them, but to give those thoughts an exit so that you can move on with your day without fixating on them aggressively. This can look like a laundry list of thoughts, or a diary entry.

Afterward, feel free to close your journal or rip up the paper as part of your stress management. You don’t need to hold on to what you wrote, but it does help to see the expression of what you’re holding on to mentally. Likewise, this practice is very potent to do at night before bedtime. So many of us struggle to sleep soundly with many thoughts bouncing back and forth, and this exercise before bed can allow us to enter a deeper level of rest.

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Regardless of what you do, understand that practicing mindfulness is a lifelong process. With life’s ups and downs, it’s stressful to attach yourself to the practice of being mindful and in the present moment because it’s never guaranteed that you will be present for 100% of your life.

In this practice, what matters more than anything is intention. Our intention of staying present and sticking to our mindfulness practice is what will encourage us to keep coming back to it, even when we forget.

Final Thoughts

With the thousands of thoughts that we have in our head each day, it can sound overwhelming to even tackle this and try to learn how to clear your mind. The technique, however, is powerful, simple, and effective.

It all comes down to first recognizing and acknowledging that we are overwhelmed, stressed, or far away from the present moment. That acknowledgment acts as a wake-up alarm, inviting us to examine our state of mind and take action.

In this way, not only are we clearing our minds in a manner that works for us, but we’re also building our self-awareness, which is a beautiful and powerful way of being in the world.

More Tips on How to Clear Your Mind

Featured photo credit: Elijah Hiett via unsplash.com

Reference

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