Other people's energy during burnout

Emotions are contagious. They are designed by nature to be like that. Our body pose, the way our face changes with emotions like fear, anger, surprise or joy, the way our eyes convey information and even our tone of voice communicates what we feel. This is all there so that other people can read our emotions and know what's up. This makes us social animals, ready to pick up and mirror emotional states to heighten our combined chances of survival. And because you are feeling negative emotions right now, let's go back to basics.

It is very likely that people around you pick up on your burnout emotions. The reactions will be wildly different. Some people will immediately want to jump in and help you. Others will be defensive and try to stay away from your emotional state, lest they themselves will start to feel the same way. Some will even become angry at you, usually because they feel helpless and powerless - they want to help but don't know how and get frustrated.

My point is of course, the more people you meet, the more variations in reactions you will get. You however are experiencing more or less the same emotional state during the burnout. You'll feel exhausted, anxious... the lot. And being on the receiving end of all of these different reactions is not nice because you yourself are an emotional animal who picks up on stuff, just like them. And in a burnout, you don't want to really deal with other people's emotions too.

So don't. The one key thing I missed the most during my darker period was people just acknowledging the emotion I felt. You just want something to agree with you that it sucks. Nothing more. Feeling bad in a burnout is not about trying to resolve the negative emotions, it's about embracing them, making them part of you, giving them the space they deserve and treat them as the very necessary warning signals that they are.

So, embrace that it sucks. And work from there. You'll find that working through your emotions from the bottom up will help you slowly rise back up to those positive emotions. Going top-down however and just wishing you'd feel better, goes against the grain. After all, that's what the burnout is for: making sure you feel it all right now, so that in the future you can deal with it much better. And of course that is hard. But that's kind of the whole point: you learn the most from your toughest moments.

So the tougher your emotions are, the better teaching tools they become. That vague concept of 'energy' that people emit is actually very real and perfectly natural. Just your awareness of this already means you are connecting to the world again. You may feel isolated but in fact you are the opposite. You're just connecting to and picking up their negative stuff.

So, shake other people's emotions off for the time being. They are what they are, you cannot change them. Be happy you can feel them at all and them try to brush them off. And connect with the people that just know it sucks. People who give you space to express your emotions instead of theirs. Like me.

Try to be forgiving to those who don't understand though. Often they just feel helpless. Yet helpless my friend, you yourself are definitely not.

Take it easy as always. And love.