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Emotional Exhaustion: How to Rein In & Refill Your Emotional Tank

Emotional exhaustion is when you can’t take any more of what life throws you. If you are exhausted, then it’s time to refill your tank.

emotional exhaustion

Life isn’t always as smooth as you would like it to be. There comes a time in most people’s lives when the stress placed upon them is too great. This stress leads to emotional exhaustion. Much like having an empty tank, when you are emotionally exhausted, it feels like you can’t take one more thing, literally.

The good news is that nothing, and I mean nothing, lasts forever. Whatever you face in life right now or sometime in the future, it will be behind you and you will be stronger for it, even if you can’t see that right now. That which does not kill us, truly does make us stronger. It is just about learning to ride out the rough times to enjoy the blissful ones.

6 musts to fill up your tank when emotionally exhausted

Whatever it is you endure right now, I have been in your shoes. That space where you feel like you just want to get in bed, pull up the covers, and never come out again. Unfortunately, life is like a marathon, no matter how tired you are, you must find the strength to make it to the finish line, where hopefully the reward will be found.

If you feel emotionally exhausted, then give yourself a mental and physical break. You are only human and can only handle so much. It is okay to say “enough” and take a break, if only for a little while, so that you can fill your emotional tank back up.

#1 Let yourself have a pity party. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs a pity party at least once. It is okay to let your guard down and just tell people that things f*cking suck right now. I remember when I was in the throes of caregiving for my husband, when people would ask how things were, I would automatically say “Fine.”

That is what I thought I was expected to do. If things aren’t fine right now, let people know they suck. People won’t help to fill up your emotional tank if you continue to behave as if everything is always okay.

Have a pity party for yourself and let everyone into your nightmare to gain the support to get through it. Stop being so brave and strong and let your guard down to accept the help you need. [Read: Don’t stay stuck – 16 strategies to get your shit together]

#2 Recognize you are only human. When emotionally exhausted, it is not something you want to admit to everyone. When you can’t take it anymore, it sometimes feels like giving up or that you failed.

That isn’t the case. Just pick up where you left off. But, sometimes you should learn to control the things you can and accept that which you can’t. You are only human, so stop beating yourself up for not being able to do everything.

#3 Learn to say no. Emotional exhaustion comes from taking on the emotional ills of everyone else around you. If like me, you’re too empathetic, you absorb the trials and tribulations of just about everyone in your life.

That leaves you an emotional sponge. At some point, you aren’t going to be able to take any more and find yourself emotionally exhausted—with your crap and everyone else’s. If you learn to say no to taking on everyone else’s problems, you have more energy to deal with your own. [Read: How to say no and stop pleasing people and feel awesome instead]

#4 Take a mental vacation. There are times when you physically can’t take a vacation or getaway, but your brain has boundless ways of vacating. If emotionally exhausted, give yourself the allowance to take a break from whatever challenges you.

I promise you that whatever it is, it will be there when you get back after taking the time to fill your tank. The world isn’t on your shoulders and will not fall to shit without you. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself first.

After all, if you fall, who will take care of all the people and things that depend on you so heavily? [Read: Calm your mind – How to get the inside voices out of your head]

#5 Forgive yourself. I find many times when I feel emotionally exhausted it is because I carry around a backpack of all the things out of my control, all the people I have done something to, or all the occasions that I simply can’t grant myself forgiveness for.

If you stop and give yourself a break by putting down the backpack every once in a while, you find life doesn’t have to be as heavy all the time. Give yourself as much forgiveness in life as you give everyone around you.

Why do you always have to be so hard on yourself and expect more from yourself than you would from anyone else? [Read: 20 habits of incredibly happy people]

#6 Do what you love to do just because. If you feel emotionally exhausted, you probably place everyone else’s needs before your own. There is no shame in taking time for yourself to unwind and to work through your emotional hardships.

Find a hobby, set aside time to go for a run, or find that one thing that brings you solace. You deserve to have your own time. If you don’t take it, you are never going to heal from your exhaustion and fill back up. [Read: Do you feel emotionally drained? 15 reasons and cures that really work]

Emotional exhaustion is a horrible thing. It isn’t like you just need more nutrition or sleep to keep going. What you need is a rest from all the inside voices, the obligations, and the emotions that overwhelm you, which is much easier said than done.

If you don’t give yourself a break, then you aren’t ever going to be able to refill those tanks. And, no one can run on empty forever.

[Read: Giving up on life? How to change your attitude]

Whether it is putting time away for just you, enlisting empathy and support from those around you, or just forgiving yourself for not being everything that you think you should be, find a way to give yourself an emotional break and repair your emotional exhaustion.

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Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
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