Emotional Labor

Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings, expressions, and actions to produce or maintain a certain emotional tone or feeling during interpersonal interactions. Many jobs require a great deal of emotional labor, such as a restaurant server or airline attendant being expected to always be smiling, pleasant, and accommodating—even if customers are rude or belligerent—or doctors being expected to have empathetic interactions with patients. In friendships and family groups, the work of ensuring individuals are feeling emotionally fulfilled—such as at holiday gatherings, on birthdays, or even while doing chores—is often designated as a role for women to manage. Preventing emotional burnout in ourselves and those we care about is not only about finding effective coping strategies when operating under a high emotional labor load, it’s about re-evaluating and clarifying the emotional labor distribution within our own relationships.

We’ve started gathering valuable information on this topic, but haven’t yet curated the findings.


Emotional Labour Is a Heavier Burden for Some of Us | Leah Cowan | TEDxRoyalCentralSchool

Leah is the Politics Editor for gal-dem, a magazine written by women of colour and non-binary people of colour. She also works at Imkaan, a black feminist organisation which is dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls.

Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward

Day in, day out, women anticipate and manage the needs of others. In relationships, we initiate the hard conversations. At home, we shoulder the mental load required to keep our households running. At work, we moderate our tone, explaining patiently and speaking softly.

Women Aren't Nags—We're Just Fed Up

Emotional labor is the unpaid job men still don't understand.


Detecting and Managing Emotional Labour

Many don't realize that they're suffering from emotional labour - and also are unaware that there is a way to deal with it. Parenting & Relationship Expert Dr. Karyn Gordon explains the condition and shares tips on how to manage these feelings.

The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling

In private life, we try to induce or suppress love, envy, and anger through deep acting or "emotion work," just as we manage our outer expressions of feeling through surface acting.

How ‘Service With a Smile’ Takes a Toll on Women

When workers’ emotions deviate from what’s expected of their gender, they are often left to process the backlash on their own.

It’s Time to Talk About the Cost of Emotional Labor at Work

Much like the struggle to recognize the economic contributions of childcare for stay-at-home parents, there could be a similar gap in the working world. The definition of emotional labor being used here is that of unpaid, invisible work.

4 Signs You’re Carrying the Emotional Labor in Relationships

Being in any type of relationship involves some level of emotional commitment, which can, at times, feel draining. But, if you carry a disproportionately large load of the emotional labor in relationships, that level of drain is likely high and potentially unsustainable.


Melissa Lozada-Oliva - If I Got Paid For All My Emotional Labor

The Mental Cost of Emotional Labor

“The research is pretty clear that surface acting is almost always bad for you.”


Work Challenges