In this article, we will discuss various ways to overcome mental exhaustion. Mental exhaustion is a condition that makes it difficult to get out of bed every night after a good night’s sleep. Mental exhaustion can cause you to feel exhausted and make it seem impossible to get up every day.
What is mental exhaustion?
Mental exhaustion refers to extreme tiredness that is accompanied by other emotions such as cynicism and irritability. If you have recently experienced long-term stress, are having trouble focusing on tasks, or if you lost interest in the activities that you enjoy, you might feel mentally exhausted.
Overuse can cause mental exhaustion, just like with physical injuries. Although you may not be able to see it, repetitive stress injuries such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel have more in common with mental exhaustion. Mental and emotional exhaustion are not caused by overstressing one muscle group.
5 Most Common Causes Of Mental Exhaustion
Although there are many stressors that can make you feel mentally exhausted, here are the top 5 causes.
1. Chronic stress
This is the leading cause of mental exhaustion. Chronic stress puts your brain and body on constant alert. This can eventually lead to a decline in your health and well-being. Chronic stress can lead to compassion fatigue or empathy fatigue. The constant stress can make it difficult to find an emotional response.
The human stress response was created to be efficient in situations of immediate stress (think: fight-or flight). It’s not a good response to constant, unsettling uncertainty. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, uncertainty has become a common feeling. Mental exhaustion has become more common than ever.
3. Work stress
There are many ways to stress at work. Stress at work can be caused by a mismatch in values, difficulty managing tasks or priorities, or high-demand, high-risk jobs. Certain jobs or programs of study require a lot more learning. These jobs may also require the processing and interpretation of large amounts of information. If workplace stress is not addressed, it can lead to burnout. Work stress can spread to your weekends, eventually leading to burnout.
4. Family issues
Worrying about a loved one is more stressful than any other thing. It can be stressful to care for elderly parents, sick relatives, or young children. Families can be stressful, even if everyone is healthy. Family problems, such as divorce, conflict, and estrangements, can easily creep into every area of your life. Family problems can lead to mental exhaustion.
5. Emotional stress
Emotional stress can be caused by many things. The experience doesn’t matter what the cause is. It can be difficult to relax when there are constant negative emotions, events, or circumstances. Mental fatigue can quickly develop from emotional exhaustion.
11 Ways To Overcome Mental Exhaustion
Mental exhaustion can make even the most enjoyable things seem like work. This can make managing stressors even more difficult. It takes effort and awareness in order to change the habits that cause mental fatigue. Here are some ways to overcome mental exhaustion.
1. Remove the stressor
Do whatever it takes to get rid of the root cause behind your mental tiredness. Sometimes, things we believe we should do can take up a lot of mental energy. Ask yourself: “Is this something I really want or need?” If so, is it something I want or need to do right now? Sometimes we can reduce stress by lowering our expectations. It doesn’t have to be perfect or done at all.
2. Work-life balance
You can fill your time that is not work-related with things that will make you happy. Your creativity, resilience, and mood can be improved by balancing your work-life. You can keep difficult situations in perspective until you are able to move on.
3. Clear your space
Mental clutter can often take up space in the physical world. Every item in disarray, broken, or waiting to be taken out is an unfinished task. You will feel more relaxed and calm if you can get rid of the clutter. You will feel accomplished and gain momentum toward the next item on your to-do list.
4. Take regular breaks
Focused effort can cause damage to your brain, eyes, and body. You can take a 5-minute break from your desk every hour and walk away for 5 minutes. You can set a timer so you are reminded and can prioritize your time, even when distractions may try to distract you.
5. Get outside
Spend some time outside while you are changing your environment. It can be a great way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You can also meet with your colleagues at the park or at an outdoor café if you are short on time. Sunlight is essential for regulating serotonin and vitamin D levels.
6. Create something new
Adults don’t have the time or inclination to try new things and play as often as they used to. Although you may not be able to imagine adding another thing to your plate right now, it is worth making the effort to step outside of your comfort zone.
If you are passionate about something, it can give you an extra boost of energy. You may find yourself in flow if the activity is difficult or complicated. This state is well-known as the antidote for burnout.
7. Reduce screen time
You can quickly become exhausted by endless video calls, emails, notifications, and other communication. Your mind is constantly alerted to your phone and email via your smartphone. Even a short digital detox can help you get away from being constantly on call. Give your brain and eyes a break in order to overcome mental exhaustion.
8. Distract yourself
It’s easy to feel affected when you are having difficulty relaxing. However, this can quickly turn into a bad habit that won’t make your life easier in the long term.
Instead of resorting to self-medicating drugs, try positive distractions. You can help yourself with mental exhaustion symptoms, such as by talking to a friend, cuddling with your pet, or exercising. Relaxation techniques and breathing exercises are also options.
9. Take Care of Yourself
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is not actually a cause of stress. Cortisol helps your body to respond to stress by increasing glucose availability, which gives you an instant boost of energy. Stress is very demanding on the body because of this. This can be avoided by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods.
10. Concentrate on what you can control
Sometimes the challenges you face can seem overwhelming. When we are stressed, we lose sight of the options available to us. No matter how unlikely or outlandish the problem may seem, you can make a list. It may surprise you to find out that there is more help than you think. It is easy to become mentally exhausted if you try to do it all yourself.
11. Talk with a coach or therapist
A second perspective can help you if you feel drained. Dr. Neha Mehta can help you identify areas where you can reduce stress. You can also get tips and tricks to improve your work-life balance and self-care. They may be able, if necessary, to assist you in changing your career.
When Is It A Good Idea To See A Therapist?
It is always a good idea to talk to a counselor, coach, or therapist. Mental exhaustion can make it difficult to seek help.
Contact a specialist immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Plans and thoughts of harming others
- Uncontrollable crying
- There were several absences from work
- Being in danger of losing your job
- Unable to care for your children or loved ones
- Inattention to personal hygiene
These signs are indicators that your mental condition could be more severe than mental exhaustion. Professional help may be necessary to feel better. Although it can feel overwhelming, mental exhaustion does not last forever. Mental fatigue does not happen overnight, and it is unlikely that you will recover from it overnight. You can overcome mental exhaustion with self-awareness and support.