Recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) is hard work and requires a deep emotional investment. Some people have difficulty maintaining that level of mental and emotional engagement for long periods. The overexertion of emotions can cause burnout or emotional fatigue. Newport Beach Recovery Center prioritizes client safety and comfort. We ensure our clients have the emotional support and coping tools they need to fully engage in recovery and heal from SUD.
What Is Emotional Fatigue?
Emotional fatigue can affect anyone, and it involves a decreased ability to cope with emotionally stressful or uncomfortable situations. High emotional stress or significant lifestyle changes often contribute to emotional exhaustion. Additionally, if you grew up in emotionally stifling environments, you may experience emotional fatigue much faster.
You might feel unmotivated, depressed, and anxious, or you may have difficulty emotionally engaging. However, there are things you can do if you start to feel emotionally exhausted during treatment or aftercare. You can avoid feeling burnt out by doing the following:
- Developing essential coping skills
- Prioritizing your health and well-being
- Moving past the fear of asking for help
Maintaining progress requires sustainable motivation and realistic recovery goals. Emotional relapse is one of the stages of relapse that can cause emotional fatigue. You might struggle with emotional relapse if you start to feel tired when monitoring your interactions, behaviors, and emotions. Collaborate with your care team and support system to learn practical coping skills to avoid the risk of relapse.
Common Causes and Signs of Emotional Fatigue
When you’re starting treatment, it’s important to know the factors that can make you more prone to emotional exhaustion. Certain health issues increase the risk of experiencing emotional fatigue, including:
- Chronic pain and stress
- Unhealthy eating habits or dehydration
- Sleep disturbances like insomnia
- Lack of recommended exercise
- Co-occurring mental health issues
- Chronic illness or injury
When you’re prone to fatigue through any of these factors, you should learn about the symptoms of emotional burnout. Everyone reacts differently to this condition, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. However, some common warning signs include:
- Sudden disinterest in activities you used to enjoy
- Increased symptoms of anxiety or depression
- Social isolation from close friends, family, and peers
- Repeatedly rescheduling treatment appointments
- Angry outbursts or unusual irritation
- Feeling emotionally distant and disconnected from friends and family
- Ambivalence about sobriety
- Self-harming thoughts or behaviors
- Increased symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders
- Suicidal ideations
Now that you know what to look for, you can keep your medical team aware when you start checking off signs on the above list. They’ll help you navigate the complex experiences that come with emotional fatigue.
6 Ways to Combat Emotional Fatigue
Newport Beach Recovery Center collaborates with our clients to tailor treatment plans and incorporate therapies and alternative holistic treatments that support emotional health and wellness. At our facility, we’ll be able to assist you in maintaining your emotional presence in individual and group therapy sessions. Additionally, below are six ways you can help yourself avoid emotional burnout.
#1 Accept Peer Support
In some cases, sober peers and people in your support system may recognize behavior changes caused by emotional fatigue before you notice them. Accepting peer support and listening to their concerns will protect you from using maladaptive behaviors to cope with the side effects of burnout. Do not be afraid to ask your support system for help if you worry about emotional fatigue.
#2 Look After Your Physical Health
Nutritional meals, hydration, quality sleep, and regular exercise play a role in maintaining your mental well-being. Healthier lifestyle choices also enhance the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the risk of relapse. You will have a better outcome if you prioritize your physical and mental health during treatment and aftercare. When you feel better in your day-to-day life, you are less likely to fall back into old patterns.
#3 Practice Daily Self-Care
Many people do not realize the importance of daily self-care during recovery from SUD. You can avoid emotional fatigue by prioritizing your personal health and wellness. Self-care can include doing the following:
- Spending quiet time alone
- Doing activities that you enjoy
- Spending time with friends and loved ones
- Asking for emotional support
- Taking a minute when you become overwhelmed
All of these habits benefit your sobriety and stability. They are healthy needs and boundaries that you set with yourself and others to boost your emotional well-being.
#4 Take Breaks From Emotionally Difficult Relationships
During treatment and early recovery, you might need to take frequent breaks from social or personal relationships that leave you feeling drained. According to Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, “[T]o reach or maintain abstinence, it is crucial to maintain positive relationships and to engage self-agency to protect oneself from being influenced by negative relationships.” Over time, you will develop the skills to cope with relationships in a healthier way. However, you may benefit from spending less time interacting with individuals who leave you feeling tired after every interaction.
#5 Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
During ongoing recovery, it is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Keep your work responsibilities from interfering with your home life by doing the following:
- Saying “no” to overtime
- Setting a clear schedule
- Avoiding work-related things outside scheduled work hours
- Being clear about your availability
Creating a healthy work-life balance will help you maintain your overall energy levels. You’ll find yourself more capable of emotional presence in your aftercare.
#6 Create Daily Routines
Daily routines keep you focused, motivated, and goal-oriented. According to the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, “[R]outines take time to establish.” Most people in recovery benefit from establishing healthier routines during the early stages of recovery. Maintaining an evening routine is especially important if you struggle with getting enough sleep each night. Sustainable routines should include achievable goals to keep you moving forward every day.
Emotional fatigue is a common problem during recovery from substance misuse. Treatment and aftercare require a lot of emotional and physical energy, which can feel draining after many weeks or months. Ambivalence and emotional fatigue are common triggers for relapse. Remaining motivated and focused on recovery goals will help you maintain positive changes and avoid relapse. Newport Beach Recovery Center can help you prevent emotional fatigue by providing you with essential coping skills. Alongside traditional therapies, we’ll offer holistic treatments to care for your overall well-being. We can help you stay motivated to achieve and maintain sobriety. To learn more about the programs we offer at our facility, call us today at (888) 850-0363.