Running on Empty

Running on Empty

Written By James Court 

Hands up if you’ve been guilty of suffering that feeling of dread when your mobile phone battery is about to die, but there’s no charger available? 

The term “emotional burnout” or “burnout” has been talked about a lot in recent months. I’d like to explore what this means and how we can avoid it based on what I’ve listened to and learnt from experts on the subject. I hope I encourage you. 

We can sometimes feel like (using the analogy of a mobile phone battery) our own internal or emotional battery is about to run out. 

This can be brought on by excessive or prolonged stress, making us feel unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can be a combination in our professional and/or our personal lives. We feel excessively swamped and overwhelmed. Life events like starting a new job, financial worries, relationship issues or moving to a new house can often be triggers. 

So, how do we avoid emotional burnout and look after our own emotional battery? 

Firstly, we need to be compassionate listeners to ourselves. If we get physically hurt such as breaking a bone, the visual evidence is there for all to see, right? We expect that person to take the right steps to get well again. It’s the same for us in an emotional way, only it’s not always visible to those around us.  

We rarely take the time to listen to ourselves and check in with how we are feeling. When we feel really understood by a friend, boss, family member or colleague it makes a real difference. Well, it’s the same with ourselves, we must take time each day to check-in with ourselves and listen to what we are feeling on the inside. 

If we are feeling low on battery in our personal life, we often draw on the capacity and space at work or professionally. If both personal and work batteries get dangerously low, then we can tip into the danger zone. 

So, how can we learn to avoid this? 

Things that we enjoy doing like a hobby, exercise, our close relationships with a partner or friends can act as “life chargers”. Going for a drink with a friend, listening to our favourite music, podcast or TV show can all help us recharge. We must try to build these into our daily and weekly routines to give us a sense of fulfilment.  We need to take important care of ourselves and avoid future red zones. 

As we leave 2021 behind and look towards 2022, think about what battery charging habits you can instil and learn to be that compassionate listener to yourself. 

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