People who are emotionally exhausted but won’t talk about it usually display these 7 subtle behaviors

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Have you ever felt like you were pouring from an empty cup? Like no matter how hard you tried, you simply had nothing left to give?

If so, you might know what emotional exhaustion is truly like.

However, it is one thing to feel it and another to notice it in others. Fortunately, that’s where this article comes in!

People who are emotionally exhausted but won’t talk about it usually display these 7 subtle behaviors.

1) They can’t go the extra mile

Emotional exhaustion occurs when you’ve been dealing with too many stressors, overworking yourself, or pouring all your energy into a toxic relationship and catering to another’s needs.

You have essentially given so much of yourself that you’ve drained your emotional energy, and now you’re slowly but surely burning out.

If you’re wondering whether this is happening to someone you know, ask yourself whether they show up as their full and authentic selves or whether they just stick to the bare minimum.

A friend who comes to your birthday party but struggles to put on a cheery face.

A co-worker who does their job well enough not to lose it but never goes the extra mile.

A sibling who is so tired from constantly dealing with problems in their romantic relationship that they forget you have plans together this weekend.

Someone who is emotionally drained functions on auto-pilot. They only do what is necessary because they simply can’t find it in themselves to give more than that.

2) Their lifestyle suffers

Someone who feels hollowed out struggles to go beyond the bare minimum not only when it comes to their relationships but also their lifestyle.

In other words, they don’t have the energy to look after themselves in a loving and organized way, which means they may easily slip into bad habits.

You might notice that:

  • They no longer put as much effort into their appearance or personal hygiene
  • They eat a lot of processed foods and sweets
  • They eat less or more than before
  • They sleep poorly
  • Their living space is disorganized because they struggle to complete all their house chores
  • They invest their time into passive activities that don’t properly recharge them, such as watching TV every evening or scrolling on social media for hours

If these changes are at odds with what this person is usually like, it’s a big sign that something serious is going on.

They may be burning out, struggling with mental health issues, or feeling completely emotionally empty yet unable to talk about it and get the break they need.

And as a result….

3) They lose their spark

I once fell in love with someone who seemed to be brimming with life. He was excited about his future, he was the most optimistic person I’d ever met, and there was a spark in his eyes that had a gravitational pull on me.

I loved his vivaciousness.

Over time, however, he began to struggle with mental health issues and became so emotionally drained that I no longer recognized him.

He spent all day playing video games, he shuffled around the apartment in his pyjamas from sunrise till sunset, he put very little effort into our relationship, and at the end of each day, he yawned and said, “Ah, I’m so tired.”

He fell into a rut. And stayed in it for years. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring him back – he had burnt out and struggled to gain that spark again.

If this sounds like someone you know, it’s a sign they may be emotionally drained or depressed.

They’re probably bottling it all inside, refusing to look at it and address the real issue. Unfortunately, denial only makes things worse.

4) They isolate themselves from others

If you find it difficult to give people the effort and energy they want, it makes sense that you’d rather withdraw into yourself so that you don’t have to enter those kinds of situations in the first place.

And while spending some time alone can be a very productive way to recharge – as an introvert, one day of solitude can do wonders for my well-being – there is a difference between alone time and isolation.

The first is grounded in self-love and introspection. The latter is a coping mechanism that doesn’t help address the real issue underneath it all: emotional burnout.

In fact, it is often high-quality friendships that help reduce stress and burnout. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. writes:

“Not only can friends be a sounding board to help you process and ameliorate the stress you’re feeling, but they also can serve as a distraction from it. By encouraging stress-free activities or even something as simple as chatting over a cup of coffee, friends can help counter some of the more severe and debilitating symptoms of burnout, such as apathy, loss of enjoyment, detachment, and isolation.”

Sometimes, you might just need a few days to yourself so you can recharge your emotional batteries and focus on yourself.

If you or someone you know have been isolating themselves for weeks or months, however, it’s possible that getting emotional support from others is what’s needed.

5) They have a short fuse

Another sign someone’s running on low “emotional power” as it were is that they are very easily irritable.

It makes sense when you think about it.

If you’ve been catering to everyone’s needs but your own for ages, you might feel resentful and bitter, which in turn makes you snap at others, act passive-aggressive, and get frustrated at the slightest inconvenience.

Personally, I’m a very easy-going person who rarely gets angry, so when I do snap or explode at someone, I know it’s my cue to take a step back, self-reflect, figure out what I need, and fulfil those needs as soon as possible.

Once that’s done, I can feel that my emotional energy has been replenished and that I can perform at 100% again.

6) They sigh a lot

Here’s a little tip: if you want to gauge how someone’s feeling, look at their body language.

Nonverbal communication makes up a huge percentage of human interactions, and oftentimes, we don’t even notice it.

Someone who’s emotionally exhausted may sigh every ten minutes, slouch, rub their forehead, frown, and assume a withdrawn stance during conversations (e.g., lean away from others).

As for sighing itself, researchers say that it is a sign of frustration or resignation. When we sigh, it gives rise to a sense of relief, which is why emotionally worn-out people may sigh a lot – it helps them decompress on a physiological level.

Plus, it’s kind of the universal signal for “Help, I’m exhausted”. The person in question might not want to talk about their issues, but their body language says otherwise.

7) They struggle to take effective breaks

When you’re depleted, you ought to take a break so that you can recharge.

This sounds like common sense, but the truth is that many of us try to push ourselves to the point of complete exhaustion.

In a world that is built on quick dopamine boosts and consumption, everything moves quickly – and we feel like we have to keep up the pace so as not to fall behind.

However, it’s important to recognize that taking a break is just as productive as working. 

Humans need relaxation in the same way that some trees need to shed their leaves in autumn. It’s a natural part of our lives.

If you keep going in spite of your body and mind screaming at you to stop, you won’t reach a higher level of productivity. On the contrary, you’ll probably end up burning out even more.

People who are emotionally exhausted tend to find it difficult to take effective breaks (by “effective”, I mean breaks that are not riddled with guilt or work-related thoughts), which is why they end up feeling so drained.

If that sounds familiar, remember that taking some time to yourself and recharging isn’t selfish or unproductive.

In fact, it’s the most loving and productive thing you can do because it allows you to be present around your close ones and perform at your best once you return to work.

You deserve to take a break.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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