“I’m Mentally Exhausted” 11 Signs Of Mental Fatigue And How To Overcome It
Have you ever found yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Has this gotten to the point where you just wished the day to be over before it even began? Did you know this can happen when you’re extremely mentally exhausted?
Mental exhaustion, also commonly known as mental fatigue, is when you’re experiencing prolonged stress either through work, lifestyle changes, relationships, or a combination of them. Mental exhaustion can be understood with a simple analogy:
A cup can be filled with water to a limited amount and if you keep pouring water in the cup without emptying it first, the water is bound to spill, right? The mind is just like that! When you keep adding stressors into your life, your mind is bound to flood beyond its limit. At this point, it becomes a mental struggle to hold everything in your life together.
Here is what mental exhaustion looks like…
Signs Of Mental Exhaustion
1. You’re Angrier These Days
Being mentally exhausted can put you in angry mode. If you’re angrier than normal, irritated more, and frustrated at every little thing, then it’s a sign you’re mentally exhausted.
2. Your Productivity Has Been Affected
Productivity can go up and down and that’s fine but when you’re experiencing mental exhaustion, then it can make it harder for you to focus on your tasks. Mental exhaustion can also affect your motivation and every little thing can become too overwhelming.
3. You Zone Out More
Zoning out means not being present in the moment. When your mind wanders away from the present moment, it can make it challenging for you to pay attention to the current tasks at hand. Mental fatigue can cause zoning out and that can be dangerous when you’re driving.
4. Your Sleep Quality Has Been Affected
Mental fatigue might make one think that sleep is all they need to fix things but it doesn’t work that way. People struggling with mental exhaustion can struggle with sleep and can even show signs of insomnia. Not getting the right amount of sleep can worsen mental fatigue.
5. You’re Engaging In Unhealthy Behavior
Unhealthy behavior can include engaging in impulsive behavior, taking recreational drugs, drinking alcohol, etc. Mental exhaustion can worsen the symptoms of people already struggling with substance use disorder.
6. You Experience Signs Of Depression
Signs of depression include sluggish movements, low feelings, and feelings of hopelessness, and irritability that last longer than 2 weeks. If these symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day tasks then you might be struggling with mental fatigue or depression. It is recommended that you speak to a professional for a diagnosis.
7. You Worry More These Days
Mental exhaustion can trigger a stress response or the “fight or flight” mode. When anxiety arises, it can be a wake-up call that something is wrong. If you’re extremely fatigued then you may begin to worry more than usual and panic at little things. If this happens, it’s a sure sign you’re mentally exhausted.
8. Your Physical Health Has Declined
Your mental health and physical health are connected more than you might think. So when you’re mentally fatigued, your physical health may decline. While you may still try to exercise and keep yourself physically active, it will feel like you’re putting more effort into it.
9. Your Appetite Has Been Affected
Mental exhaustion can also affect your appetite and make you either overeat or eat less than what your body needs. You may also find yourself eating without paying much attention to what you’re eating. During mental exhaustion, it’s common to crave salty, sugary, and fatty foods.
10. You’re Making More Mistakes
Mental exhaustion means low mental capacity so when you’re mentally fatigued, you may notice that you’re making more mistakes than normal. This can be because your quick thinking and problem-solving skills are affected by your mental exhaustion.
11. You Experience Body Aches and Pain
While your symptoms of mental exhaustion may differ from mine, one thing remains common and that is experiencing random pain and aches. A sign of mental exhaustion can be experiencing headaches, stomach aches, tensed muscles, back pain, and other random pains and aches.
What Causes Mental Exhaustion?
The causes of mental exhaustion can be associated with emotional and mental distress. When you’re spending all your emotional and mental energy in dealing with little things that are out of your capacity then your brain may slow down to process the extra work. This can eventually lead you to feel mentally drained.
Some factors that may cause chronic mental exhaustion can include:
- Pandemic/health anxiety
- A lack of work-life balance
- Financial stress
- Domestic work
- Poor life satisfaction
- Major lifestyle changes
- Chronic stress
How To Overcome Mental Fatigue?
To cope with mental exhaustion, you can try to:
1. Limit Social Media Use
When your mind is constantly taking over-stimulating content, it can have little to no time to rest. To avoid overburdening your mind, take a break from social media and limit your use. If you’re doomscrolling, then these tips may be helpful.
2. Keep And Maintain A Routine
Our sleep quality, diet, and little lifestyle changes can have a great impact on our brain functioning and processing. Take some time to keep and maintain your routine. Try to wake up and sleep at the same time every day, keep your electronics away before bedtime, or get into a habit of journaling every morning.
3. Take Regular Breaks Throughout The Day
Taking breaks now and then can be great for your mind and can even count as a mindfulness practice. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, go for a short walk, do some light stretching, or indulge in some desk yoga. Give yourself some time away from your responsibilities.
4. Dedicate Time To Self-Care
To overcome mental exhaustion, you can try to add a self-care routine to your day. Small things like exercising regularly, talking to at least one support person, expressing gratitude, or just being present in the moment can be counted. It’s important to take care of your needs – mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual and that can be achieved through self-care.
5. Reduce Your Stressors
When you’re mentally drained, everything around you can stress you out. To avoid your mental exhaustion from taking over your health, make sure you identify and eliminate activities that keep draining you. You can try to replace those activities with activities that energize you such as dancing, singing, cooking, or listening to music.
6. Seek Professional Help
If your mental exhaustion symptoms prolong more than a few days, then it is recommended that you seek professional support. A therapist or counselor can help you understand the causes of your distress and how you can work through them. They can also help you come up with new tools to increase your day-to-day functioning.
It’s easy to sweep away mental exhaustion symptoms as just being overworked or too tired but if not addressed timely, mental exhaustion can have long-term effects and can worsen your stress and anxiety.
You can manage and overcome mental exhaustion by following the above-mentioned ways. If you’re not able to do so on your own, you can seek help from a professional counselor.
Mental exhaustion can be draining and can make doing little things difficult. With some help, you can fight mental fatigue and come back stronger than ever. If you need to connect with a licensed professional, you can click below.
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