Battling Emotional Exhaustion

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{Note from the Editor: This article deals with mild emotional exhaustion and tips on how to handle it. If you or someone you love finds themselves dealing with more extreme bouts of exhaustion or depression, please seek the help of a medical professional!}

With the holidays upon us it is inevitable that we will all encounter some form of emotional exhaustion. Whether it’s from the overwhelming task of creating and serving Thanksgiving dinner, hosting your family, deciding whose family to spend the holidays with this year, or battling even more extreme things like a recent loss, there are steps we can all take to relax and truly learn to enjoy the beauty of these stressors.

Here are a few tips on battling emotional exhaustion this holiday season (or whenever you feel yourself worn out mentally!).

1. Family can be one of the most overwhelming experiences you encounter. We don’t need to go into details, but if you find that the thought of listening to one more complaint about the weather by Aunt Edna will bring you to tears of exhaustion, excuse yourself and find a quiet place (bathroom, porch, bedroom, anywhere!) and take a few moments for yourself. Spend at least 2 minutes doing a breathing exercise (see below) and know that you’re alone in that moment. Refresh yourself, and remind yourself why you do actually love your family. Only go back once you feel that you’ve been revived, no matter how long that takes.

2. Breathing exercises work wonders and help to slow your racing heart rate. Try this one when you feel that the stress is really getting to you: 4 second inhale, hold for 4 seconds, 4 second exhale, hold for 4 seconds. Repeat that for as long as you can or as long as you need. It’s unlikely that anyone will notice your breathing patterns, so feel free to try this one even at the dinner table.

3. Go for a walk! This one works the best for me. Take a few minutes and go for a brisk walk outdoors. The fresh air will rejuvenate your mind and the mild exercise will produce endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don’t kill their husbands! (Name that movie) If you can, take someone with you that you can vent to (s/o, sibling, friend, mom) and hear their perspective.

4. Are you finding that only at the end of it all you’re wiped out emotionally? Take time for yourself at the end of the day. Bubble baths, candles, meditation, yoga, journaling…they’re all therapeutic and will help you unwind and recharge, as well as preparing you for a good night of sleep (which you need!). Ask God for peace and for Him to take some of your burden.

5. Cry it out. Okay, so I may be ridiculously guilty of crying when I am stressed out or angry, but there is science behind not holding in your tears. Find a room where you can be alone and just let it out. Crying releases hormones, and some scientists believe that bad chemicals are built up during times of stress and crying is the body’s way of getting rid of them. Either way, it feels good. After you’ve let it all out, wash your face with cold water to calm your skin.

What works for you in managing emotional exhaustion?

{Like the image? It’s an original by Clare Elsaesser. You can buy it on her Etsy shop!}

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