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Last Updated on May 12, 2020

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

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Aleksandra Slijepcevic

Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

4 Signs You’re Emotionally Drained (And What To Do) 15 Coping Strategies for Stress That You Should Learn What Is Gratitude and Why Is It Important? 15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Health Learn to Meditate in 7 Steps (The Beginner’s Guide)

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

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