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Need A Break? 8 Warning Signs That You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted

Health | Stress

As joyous as the holidays can be, many of us find ourselves operating in a highly-overwhelmed, pushed-to-the-limit state. Between family functions, working, cooking, and cleaning, there’s not much room for self-inspection and awareness.

However, stopping to check in with your mental, physical, and emotional states is beyond important during this busy time. Here are some telltale signs that you are operating on fumes:

1. You never feel rested

If you find yourself hitting snooze more times than your alarm clock can handle, it’s likely your body is trying to compensate for something. Any type of exhaustion – whether it’s in the head or the body – can lead to physical fatigue. Track your sleep cycles and take note of any significant changes that may be rooting from external issues.

2. You can’t sleep

It sounds ironic, but exhaustion can keep us up until all hours of the night. A tired brain can be a chatty one – poring over the events of the day and engaging in looping monkey chatter. Meditating, deep breathing, or simply listening to calming music is a great antidote to insomnia.

3. You snap easily

This goes beyond the “hangry” effect. Extreme fatigue can make us extremely irritable, finding excuses to pick a fight, argue our point, or simply snap at the nearest person, place, or thing in sight for no apparent reason. When we chalk our anger up to fatigue and own up to it, however, we’re better able to let go before we get out of control.

4. Your thoughts are foggy

Nothing is worse than not being able to think straight in the midst of eyelid-dropping fatigue. When the brain is overloaded, thoughts can become muddled and confusing. And, to make matters worse, we tend to scold ourselves for these airhead moments! As the body needs rest and periodic breaks during the day, so too does the ever-working mind.

5. Everything seems like an effort

Remember childhood? More often than not, we have enthusiasm for everything under the sun during these early, explorative years. As we grow older, and take on more responsibilities, however, even our most treasured pastimes can become tiring. Making room for play is essential to overall health and well-being (and it can energize, to boot!).

6. Socializing becomes a chore

Sometimes it’s easier to make a good excuse to stay in rather than explain to your friends that you’re simply too tired to party. Bouncing off of our last point, when socializing becomes more of a chore than a pleasure, it’s likely that other areas of your life are draining your social one. While self-care and knowing your boundaries is great, giving yourself an allotted hour or two of social time a week can work wonders.

7. Your moods have reached roller-coaster status

High highs and low lows are a sure-fire sign of burnout. One minute you’re sobbing over a sappy commercial, and the next you’re walking on sunshine. Emotionally balance is always key, but you be sure to allow yourself some room to feel, remembering that every emotion will run its course after a good self-care session.

8. You’re catching every cold in sight

Illness and random ailments are the body’s way of letting us know that something has gone awry. As well all know, mental and emotional distress can lead to physical issues, which can in turn drain us even further. You can boost your immunity by keeping your body a comfortable temperature, practicing good hygiene, and boosting your energy with plenty of rest and nutrition.

As much as we try to avoid giving in to exhaustion, accepting burnout is key to lighting that inner fire up again. Stick to the three “r”s this holiday season: rest, recover, and rejoice!

Featured in New York Magazine, The Guardian, and The Washington Post
Featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and VOGUE

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