Are you emotionally burnt out?

Most people do not recognize that they may be heading towards a burnout. Psychologist Inchara Shivaraam lists the warning signs

By: Inchara Shivaraam

Emotional exhaustion is a state of feeling emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of accumulated stress from your personal or work life. People experiencing emotional exhaustion often feel like they have no power or control over what happens in life.

They may feel ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ in a situation. Lack of energy, poor sleep, and decreased motivation can make it difficult to overcome emotional exhaustion. Over time, this chronic, stressed-out state can cause long term damage to your health.

While a desire to succeed is commendable, often enough, we forget to take the time to pull out of it, distress and recharge. This eventually creates chronic stress and severely taxes our emotional and mental resources, resulting in a burnout.

Most people stubbornly focused on their goals do not recognize the signs that they are heading towards a burnout — extended hours at the office, sleep deprivation and bad food habits. This is not only typical in the professional arena, but for the personal one as well. A homemaker may try to handle too many responsibilities and chores in order to achieve her self-made goal of being a good parent and wife.

Here is the check list to identify the signs of emotional burn out:

Anger, anxiety and depression
What starts as general tension, worry and irritability at work and personal life can manifest into intense anxiety. Hurdles trigger intense feelings of hopelessness and an inability to handle the most basic projects. The person believes she is incapable of making a constructive contribution to work. This leads to feeling useless.

This feeling could trigger bouts of anger, tensions with colleagues, irritability at the office and at home. If unchecked it has the chance of escalating to violence. Some can also get into depression by being self-critical about themselves and negatively evaluating a situation during a burnout.

Weakened physical energy
Prolonged stress can be physically draining, causing you to feel tired much of the time, or no longer have the energy you once did. Without sufficient daily rest, tiredness develops into chronic fatigue.  It could start with being less energetic and later develop into a feeling of constant weakness.

Getting out of bed to face another day gets more difficult. If this is severe, it can also be a sign of depression or physical illness, so consider talking to your doctor if you feel there is something more serious happening. But if you find a general sense of avoidance developing, this could be a sign of burnout.

Without sufficient daily rest, tiredness develops into chronic fatigue.  It could start with being less energetic and later develop into a feeling of constant weakness. This could also lead to depleted immunity where people may become more susceptible to illness

Memory loss
People under intense psychological pressure suffer from temporary memory problems, difficulty concentrating and loss of focus. As the stress builds up, the person may find it difficult to pay any attention to work.

Less investment in interpersonal relationships
Withdrawing from interpersonal relationships is another possible sign of burnout. You may feel like you have less to give, or less interest in having fun, or just less patience with people. Such strain in relationships may lead to conflicts as a result of displacing pent up emotions.

Pessimistic outlook
When experiencing burnout, it’s harder to get excited about life, harder to expect the best, harder to let things roll off your back, and harder to ‘look on the bright side’ in general and to sustain it. You may also feel unmotivated or defeated in general, and less confident that you can make things better. And because of this, there is poor functioning like frequent absenteeism at work or avoidance of social life, thus getting stuck in a vicious circle.

Anyone experiencing long-term stress can become emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed. In difficult times, emotional exhaustion can sneak up on you, but it’s never too late to get help. Get in touch with us at if you think you are currently mentally burnout.


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