Preventing Mental Exhaustion
Mental exhaustion affects many people daily, but it can be not easy to recognize it. In this article, we tell how to detect and prevent it.
Signs of Mental Exhaustion and How to Prevent It
What is mental exhaustion?
It is the result of when a person indulges their brain in too much activity with no time to rest and recover. The person thus starts having difficulty with normal tasks or responsibilities and views them as challenges to overcome.
It’s also known as mental fatigue, brain fog, and burnout. It can affect anyone who has a demanding life or occupation and has various adverse effects on a person’s life.
Some of the effects include worrying, overthinking, and feeling irritated and stressed. The main culprits behind feeling mentally exhausted are prolonged stress or physical fatigue.
This article provides the main symptoms of mental fatigue and some tips on how to overcome them.
Causes of Mental Exhaustion
Mental fatigue is not something that just suddenly occurs in someone. Instead, it builds up gradually. It can reach the boiling point that a person’s mind can’t cope with anymore.
Some mental exhaustion causes include:
- Work pressure
- Financial problems
- Chronic illness
- A poor balance between work and life
- Lack of social support
- Dealing with loss
- Having a child
Symptoms of Mental Exhaustion
Identifying the signs of mental fatigue early is an essential step to managing the problem, for example, through text therapy.
The symptoms can be divided into emotional, physical, and behavioral.
Your body might react in various ways to mental exhaustion. Here are the signs to note:
- Physical fatigue
- Changes in sleep patterns, for example, sleeping less or more
- Body ache, e.g., muscle pains or back pains
- Weight gain or loss
- Increased illnesses, e.g., flu or colds
- Appetite changes
Emotional signs also manifest when you experience mental exhaustion. They include:
- Feeling helpless and trapped
- Stress and anxiety
- Easily irritated by other people
- Low motivation
- Feeling overwhelmed most of the time
- Suicidal thoughts
Mental exhaustion symptoms are also showcased through behaviors. The most notable ones include:
- Social withdrawal and embracing solitude
- Inability to keep commitments both personal and working
- Substance abuse as a coping mechanism
- Memory difficulties
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling on edge when spending time with family
Mental Exhaustion vs. Physical Exhaustion: The Difference
Mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different but often coexist. Mental fatigue involves the feeling of being mentally drained from overindulging the mind without rest. On the other hand, physical exhaustion consists of the body feeling exhausted after engaging in a high-intense activity.
Physical and mental activity can exist separately. For example, when an athlete is physically exhausted from an activity, they will struggle physically, but they might still feel refreshed mentally. On the other hand, when a person is exhausted mentally, their physical performance can remain intact.
However, mental fatigue can influence physical exhaustion as a side effect such that a person’s physical performance becomes impaired. Routine tasks will seem to be more taxing than they used to be.
Coping with Mental Exhaustion: 7 Tips
Our tips on how to overcome mental exhaustion consist of lifestyle changes that you can make at home to cope with it.
So here are ways to get started on recovery:
Schedule Time for Relaxation
No matter how busy your schedule is, you should find time to rest to prevent mental exhaustion from work or home responsibilities. Take a break from your routine or jobs from time to time.
Start by finding time to rest during a lunch break. Use this time to collect your thoughts and destress yourself. When your job becomes too demanding, try taking a short vacation and clear your schedule for a few days.
Exercising is challenging for most people. Many don’t believe they have the time, while others find it difficult to motivate themselves to exercise daily. However, daily exercise is rewarding for your mental health.
You don’t have to engage in high-intensity exercises to reap the rewards of exercising. Start from small, for example, walking.
Note that light exercises are more effective at lowering a person’s stress levels than intense activities, thus better for countering mental exhaustion.
Eliminate the Stressor
Removing a source of stress might not always be easy, but it is the most straightforward way of dealing with the problem. For example, some people are overwhelmed by their responsibilities at work. One way of reducing stress is delegating some of the duties or seeking help from others.
The same applies to those whose stressors are home responsibilities. You can decide to share roles with your partner at home or even hire professionals to lighten the burdens. Babysitters and cleaning people can help reduce the workload at home.
Take Things at Your Own Pace
People experience mental exhaustion because they take on too much too quickly in terms of work or responsibilities. Learn to say no when things become too much or delegate if you have to.
Furthermore, don’t carry the burden of guilt when you can’t perform all the tasks presented to you. Be kind to yourself.
The journey to recovery from mental exhaustion will require some time. Don’t rush the process by trying to find a quick fix. Some people will spend hours searching the internet for easy ways to handle this challenge, resulting in overthinking.
Go easy on yourself and give your mind time to recover.
Get More Sleep
When experiencing mental exhaustion, one area you need to check on is the amount of sleep you are getting each night. Most people who experience mental fatigue don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is important for a person’s emotional and mental well-being.
Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. If you are having trouble getting sleep at night, you can try the following:
- Read a book before you sleep
- Avoid spending a lot of time on your bed during the day
- Set a consistent sleeping schedule
- Avoid large meals before bedtime
- Limit the use of electronic devices with screens before you sleep
Try Relaxing Activities
There are various relaxation activities known to reduce anxiety and lower a person’s stress levels. They include:
- Tai chi
- Deep breathing
Find time to try one or a few of these activities, preferably with a professional and it should help you clear your mind and release stress in a healthy way.
When to Seek Professional Help
Sometimes a person’s mental exhaustion symptoms can be the result of an underlying condition. In such a case, the best solution is to visit your doctor and mental health professional to identify any other problems you might have.
Here is when you should see a healthcare professional:
- When the chronic pain and irregular heartbeats don’t stop after treatment for mental fatigue
- Still feeling exhausted even after applying strategies to deal with the exhaustion
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Feeling exhaustion after taking a new medication
Ketamine and psychedelic therapies are also excellent solutions for mental exhaustion. For example, talking to a professional from Healing Maps can help you identify and manage the aspects in your life contributing to mental fatigue and how to treat them adequately.
Mental fatigue is treatable and sometimes simply requires a person to give their brain a break from time to time. Cut down on stress, overthinking, and worry and learn to trust your gut and body needs.
Do what feels right to you. By giving your brain some downtime, you should start seeing positive results and feeling like yourself again.
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