That Feeling You Can’t Name? It’s Called Emotional Exhaustion

The last ten months have been challenging for many. The pandemic forced many of us to adjust to an entirely different life that includes new ways of working, caring for and teaching children, staying healthy, and remaining connected to loved ones. More recently volatile political events shook many, and at the same time– COVID deaths continue to mount. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out you’re not alone.

Vaile Wright, Senior Director of Health Care Innovation at the American Psychological Association, says, “Emotional exhaustion is this sense of overwhelmingness. Overwhelmed to the point where you feel like you don’t have the capacity to deal anymore. It’s physical tiredness. It’s mental tiredness. It’s difficulty concentrating. It’s all the things that we experience when we’re just at our capacity.”

The experts say signs of emotional exhaustion include irritability, nervousness, frustration, general ‘brain fog’, feeling disconnected from other people, muscle fatigue and tension, headaches, sleep problems, and more. To feel better you should set boundaries (or decide when you can say ‘no’ to certain things), don’t try to be a superhero, and think about what really refills you emotionally.