Anyone can suffer from emotional burnout at any time and frequency.
What is emotional burnout? We are talking emotional as the main ingredient but there are many companions that join the ride. Each individual may have a combination of symptoms at different phases and intensity a lot depends on your own personal characteristics and temperament.
Emotions are very difficult to translate into words because feelings are very individual and complexities of situations. Emotions are the messengers talking to the body telling us that something is happening. Our inner voice of combination of past experiences and perceived realities. The worst thing you can say to someone at any time especially if you suspect they are suffering from burnout “I know how you feel?”.
On my website https://2020-learning.com/self-awareness/manage-the-flow-of-emotions/ there is a section devoted to emotional intelligence. The difficulty I found out ,when I was experiencing burnout I was not really knowing what was going on. My symptoms were a total disengagement from the world outside my home that included my family, friends and faith. I felt that no one understood my world , I felt I was living on a lonely island. My brain had no more juice left for any connections outside my home. Through the Pandemic my emotional brain eventually said no more love or emotion to give I’m dry and hit rock bottom of my emotional reservoir.
Emotional burnout I will call Judgment bias, what does that means? My brain could no longer think critically or rationally. In an ideal or stable mindset the brain operates in dual function with both our emotional brain and rational brain in succinct marriage. If one system is off balance for example we will never integrated our emotions we would function as robots. Conversely we would never make reasonable decisions if we are governed by just the emotional response.
Back to my recent experience when I was emotional spent out I wanted to fix the pain I was suffering. If you didn’t know, my wife died of cancer 3 years ago leaving me as a single parent. I was thinking the emotional bankruptcy is a result of no emotional support from my late wife let’s get a new wife my brain was saying to minimise the pain. In essence that was just a distraction not the solution to my emotional burnout. This is a common strategy for a lot of us in our subconscious mind the brain try’s to fix the problem. I found out the reality is you can’t fix emotional pain by patching it up temporarily.
In my training and reading many articles on psychology helped me realise it’s how we think is the problem. One great website I found exploring and explaining suffering a guy said in one section that knocked me back “ how we’re going to deal with suffering, and that’s a problem for every one of us, regardless of what we do or do not believe about God.” No one else could of said that to me but it made me stand up and think moaning about this for rest of life is not going change a thing. On this point most people as in human nature is to rescue individuals in emotional distress and try to fix it. The realty with my emotional burnout the only way you could fix me then was going bring my wife back to life and that’s not going to happen.
On a practical side many agencies use CBT which is cognitive behaviour therapy. Basically what the therapist would do to encourage you is to change your thoughts then that would change your feelings then that would change your behaviour. That sounds too simple or too idealist but it’s a great start. I tied this on Monday it was my anniversary of my late wife and me if she was alive, we would of been married for 24 years. This year I decided to to make it a good day focusing on positive thoughts. It is too easy to get stuck in a cascade of negative emotions and before you know it it ruins your day. Guess what I had a good day on Monday and yes I noticed a sad thought but acknowledged it then focused on something positive.
In conclusion there is no shame in having emotional burnout it’s a part of life. Have empathy for those individuals that have lost loved ones because the emotional support is often not there that includes the young to the elderly. If you know someone make no judgements just have a listening ear and don’t try to fix their emotional state. Seek professional help with your doctor or a trained therapist. Remember emotional burnout is a judgment bias because we are not thinking correctly at that time. Finally change your routine change your emotional state and change your perspective because we are all only human.