What To Do When You’re Feeling Emotionally Drained

What To Do When You’re Feeling Emotionally Drained

Do you feel downright bad? You don’t have to. We’ll show you what to do when you’re feeling emotionally drained.

There’s a feeling that exists that is both physical and psychological but also nondescript. It blurs the lines between your body and soul, leaving you wondering whether you’re about to come down with something. Somehow, none of the usual flu-like symptoms fully apply.

Recognize that feeling?

For many of us, emotional stress radiates into our bodies, but it also takes many other forms. Reaching your pressure capacity may leave you feeling physically tired, and unable to find a reason to do as much as make yourself a bowl of cereal or even turn on Netflix.

Other common signs of being emotionally exhausted include:

  •    Sleeping in spurts or fits
  •    Feeling as though your effort won’t be rewarded
  •    Being plagued by fatigue
  •    Experiencing a lack of imagination or creativity

How are you supposed to feel better when you feel like nothing at all?

Emotional exhaustion, burnout, whatever you want to call it is real. Even if it may be chronic, it doesn’t need to last forever.

If you’re running on empty and even reading this is a chore, then sit up, brush your teeth, and put on your shoes. We’re here to help you fill your emotional tank.

Here’s what to do if you’re feeling emotionally drained.

Where to Start

feeling sad

Where do you even begin when you don’t feel like doing anything? We hate to say it, but the key to feeling better is to do something – anything.

Move Your Body

Getting active is a simple place to start. Don’t go out and join a CrossFit gym—unless that’s your tribe. Instead, start by setting small goals relevant to your own body and journey. If you’re feeling unusually low, make brushing your teeth before 3 PM a goal.

Then, challenge yourself more. Plan a short walk in the great outdoors (and down your block). Do the dishes. Go up and down the stairs in search of something you want instead of waiting until you absolutely need it.

No matter how many times you go through this period of life-sucking emotional emptiness, you’ll always be shocked at how your body’s endorphins set you on a positive path.

Do Something You Love

Ask yourself this: what do you love to do?

Don’t ask yourself what you should do or what you have to do. What do you love to do?

Distract yourself from your creeping negative mindset by filling it with something light. Activities aren’t the only way. There’s no need to draw out your inner Reese Witherspoon and hit the Pacific Coast Trail.

Whether you love taking a nap, visiting a lovely coffee shop, or bouldering in the Rocky Mountains, schedule some time to do just that.

When you feel emotionally exhausted, your brain dims your motivation and enthusiasm for life. It’s temporary. You never know what will reignite your spark, so try it all.

Get Out of Town

Is the same old, same old adding insult to injury? Go somewhere you haven’t been.

City dwellers—take to the country. Suburbanites—meet downtown.

You can go near or far, make it somewhere new.

It can be as simple as taking a new route home from work. Try taking a walk to a neighborhood you’ve never been to. Go on a staycation or even a vacation.

Regardless, doing something new will jolt you out of auto-pilot mode. New senses and situations require your attention, and your body will respond accordingly.

What You Should Do Now

woman sitting by the window

You’re awake. The first bit of feeling as you come out of the emotional coma is invigorating, but how do you make it last?

Unfortunately, quitting your job and going on vacation full time isn’t a likely option. More importantly, even if it was available to you, it doesn’t solve your problem. Unless your job is the cause of your stress; we’ll deal with that later.

Warding off emotional exhaustion means seeking it out at its roots. What caused it? How did it grow from being a stressor to leaving your flat on your back? What can you do about it?

When you’re ready to take control, follow these steps.

Trust Yourself

You probably don’t have to think too hard to know where the source of your burnout lies even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself.

Trusting yourself is vital in keeping yourself emotionally healthy. Not only does it give you the freedom to know what helps and hurts you, but it also protects you by building up your sense of self.

When you trust what you know and make decisions accordingly, you recognize that you are worthy of having the life you want. You’ll also learn to practice self-care even in circumstances where putting yourself first is more laborious than submitting to someone else’s rule.

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Ask for Help

Your journey isn’t just your own, and you don’t need to go it alone. Building relationships with people who respect and love you make your burdens easier to carry. More importantly, you’ll have people to look out for you when you find it hard to care for yourself.

Don’t just ask for help from friends, family, and colleagues. Professional help is out there, and it’s an invaluable resource. If you’re struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel or you’re dealing with some complicated issues like divorce or loss, talk to a professional. A counselor, therapist, or psychologist may provide the guiding light you need to work through what’s bringing you down.

Be Patient

Life changes little by little, but we tend to see the cumulative results all at once. Know that every day that you make a confident decision is work that you’re putting into your future.

Remember to make decisions that affirm and free you every day. Those decisions may be as simple as choosing a healthy lunch or making time for a friend. In some cases, those decisions are something you do for someone else: leave your favorite barista an extra tip to make their life easier. Do something sweet for a neighbor, co-worker, friend or even a stranger.

Every decision you make contributes meaning to your life. What you do today reflects who you’ll be tomorrow.


How to Stay Fulfilled

woman by the lake

Emotional exhaustion isn’t a fact of life. It’s normal, but we don’t need to battle it if we protect ourselves while we’re feeling good.

Do you have a high-stress job or feel things more intensely than other people you know? We’ll show you how to manage your emotions so that you can remain fulfilled without limiting your range of feelings.

Practice Emotional Intelligence

Start by becoming emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence is your ability to name and manage your feelings and the feelings of others around you. It’s a skill that everyone must work at over the course of their lives. Your emotional intelligence skill level will not only ward off emotional exhaustion but show you what to do when you’re feeling emotionally estranged.

To become emotionally intelligence, you’ll practice three skills:

  •    Awareness of your own and other’s emotions
  •    Ability to recognize and use your emotions to solve problems
  •    Managing and regulating your feelings

When you practice emotional intelligence, you’ll realize how you’re feeling and learn to deal with those feelings accordingly. It prevents you from buckling to the emotional roller coaster and the emotional hangover that often follows a difficult period.

It also means seeing your feelings and putting them to work. Is your resentment the result of feeling undervalued at your job? Emotional intelligence helps you put two and two together and then figure out how to talk to your boss about what you both expect from your role.

Practice Relationship Maintenance

We touched on relationships before, but they’re so important that they require constant maintenance.

Reaching out and building bridges is critical for crawling out of the hole and keeping yourself on solid ground. One aspect of relationship management often neglected is the pruning of negative relationships.

Do you experience encounters with people in your life that leave you feeling tapped out? Your relationships should fill you up – not drain you. Look at those relationships that seem to do more harm than good and find out whether those relationships are worth saving.

You Deserve Emotional Fulfilment

/how-your-emotional-quotient-influences-your-life/​​​​/how-your-emotional-quotient-influences-your-life/​​​If you’ve made it this far, then you’ve read a lot of suggestions. If there’s one takeaway that every single person should have it’s this: you deserve to feel emotionally fulfilled—not emotionally drained.

While burnout is a regular part of life, it doesn’t need to be your life. By recognizing healthy emotional habits, surrounding yourself with good people, and being kind to yourself, you’ll climb out of the depths of emotional burnout faster.

Don’t forget to care for yourself even when everything is running smoothly. Practicing emotional intelligence and caring your relationships with others – and yourself – will help you enjoy the full range of feelings available to us as humans without sending you on the roller coaster that leaves you feeling motion sickness.

Have you tried any of these tips for what to do when you’re feeling emotionally drained? What do you do to motivate yourself? Share your stories in the comments below.

About the author

Sara Miller