Written by: Sophia Ali



“The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water and not get wet.”

– Rachel Naomi Remen, MD 1996


Exhaustion consumed my mind, body, and soul.


I was paralyzed, but it didn’t matter because I was already detached and unmotivated. Honestly, deep down, I was just masking the truth about me and my devastating emotional state. I just wasn’t ready to face the truth head-on; it was too raw, too painful. It was easier to shove it down and ignore the whirlwind of harsh issues drowning me.


I already was overwhelmed with my daily responsibilities of being a wife, mother of three kids (2 of which have special needs), President of the PTA, and a teacher. I barely had time to get dressed properly and brush my teeth on a daily basis, let alone worry about my emotional state of emergency!


It’s not always easy to accept the truth of our reality. Many times the pain is coming from toxic people, relationships, and negative thinking that we let invade our life. We don’t realize our God-given right and power to protect ourselves and put our needs first. Many of us get used to putting others first whether it be our kids, family, neighbors, or friends and in doing so we destroy our own well-being and health.


In addition to emotional exhaustion, you may be dealing with other compounding, critical socio-economic issues, abuse, or other health problems. Various problems divorcees and widows are faced with are: homelessness, addiction, job loss, physical/learning/mental disabilities, kids’ school responsibilities, lack of funds for basic needs, funeral arrangements & costs, discrimination, and so much more.


Does this scenario sound familiar? Relatable? Do you know anyone who sounds like this?


What is emotional exhaustion?


Emotional Exhaustion is a chronic state of stress that leads to:  physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.


Signs of Burnout


Some signs of emotional & physical exhaustion include: Chronic fatigue, forgetfulness/ impaired concentration and attention, insomnia, increased illness, loss of appetite, anxiety, depression, and anger.


Cynicism & Detachment often show through loss of enjoyment, pessimism, isolation, and detachment.


A feeling of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment is recognized by feelings of hopelessness and lack of enthusiasm, increased irritability and a lack of productivity, and poor performance.


If you are experiencing a couple of these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Assess your life and the stressors in it. See how you can reduce and remove stress from your life and do it! It will be so empowering and healthy. Currently, the few signs you may have are just “flashing yellow lights” that are warning you to slow down and balance out your life appropriately.


If you are experiencing a multitude of these signs or all of these signs, then I implore you to get professional help as soon as possible. Please don’t allow yourself to continue down this slippery slope that may end up in serious mental/ physical illness. Burnout isn’t like the common cold.


If you ignore your burnout for a long time it will NOT go away on it’s own. YOU HAVE to take active steps to help yourself and even see the doctor if you feel it’s appropriate. As hard as it may seem right now, this is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and those who are dependent on you.


Taking care of your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health is a religious obligation; and this health takes precedence over making other people happy. Personally, I have to remind myself of this daily. Don’t brush it under the rug any longer – face it and deal with it no matter how scary it may feel. Remember Allah swt is the best of Helpers and is the Responder to our duas. Allahu akbar! That alone is encouraging and a comforting promise of our Creator.



For ideas on De-stressing yourself and removing stress from your life, please check out the following links below:

Food that helps reduce stress http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/27/10-stress-relieving-superfoods.aspx

Doctors who can work with you to make a plan https://www.zocdoc.com/

Support groups for women https://groups.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php?utm_source=PT_Psych_Today&utm_medium=House_Link&utm_campaign=PT_TopNavF_Therapygroup

Overcoming burnout https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201104/overcoming-burnout

When you are too stressed to manage your stress article https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/too-stressed-manage-your-stress-the-solution-may-be-staggering



Sophia Ali is an American Muslim revert who was born and raised in the proverbial Midwest and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. Inspired by her larger-than-life journey in this dunya she hopes to inform and inspire people of all walks of life with her passion for writing and continual thirst for knowledge. She loves traveling, adventure, fashion, art, food that her husband cooks, and philanthropy. She is an advocate for building bridges within the Muslim Community, along with interfaith initiatives. 



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