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What Emotional Labor Really is and How it Saps your Mental Health

Date Published: September 07, 2021 |
Author: Emily DiNuzzo

What is emotional labor?

Emotional labor is what it sounds like—extra work. But in this case, it has to do with carrying a heavier load in terms of a psychological burden.

The term was first defined in the early 1980s, and over the years, has often been used to mean the extra mental work a person—usually a woman—does in managing a household.

For example, some people think it includes all of the forethought and planning that goes into everyday life, including coordinating schedules, remembering birthdays and doctor’s appointments, and coordinating children’s activities and schoolwork.

However, that’s not exactly right. Emotional labor is actually more-so a process in which people have to regulate and manage their emotions to interact with other people, whether it’s on the job or in a relationship.