Mental Exhaustion: What Is It And How To Overcome It?

Mental Exhaustion tired

If you struggle to get out of bed after a solid night’s sleep and dread your basic everyday tasks, you may be dealing with mental exhaustion. Perhaps work has been more challenging than usual, you've been caring for a sick relative, or you have simply neglected self-care. However, there is some good news: you can take simple steps to overcome mental exhaustion and return to your old, energetic self.

What Does Being Mentally Exhausted Mean?

Mental exhaustion occurs when you experience extreme fatigue and display signs of apathy, cynicism, and irritability. After dealing with long-term stress, you can find it hard to focus on your tasks or enjoy your favorite activities. These changes may indicate that you are mentally or emotionally exhausted.

It is common to experience fatigue, both physically and mentally. However, prolonged and unaddressed mental exhaustion can affect cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and emotional control. This can result in significant challenges in your daily routine and relationships.

Symptoms Of Mental Exhaustion

Mental and physical exhaustion are both common occurrences, especially in our fast-paced modern lifestyle. Still, recognizing the early symptoms of mental exhaustion is crucial in overcoming this issue and getting back to your usual productivity levels. Without further ado, let’s delve into the physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of mental fatigue.

stressful woman

Physical Symptoms

The most noticeable symptoms of mental exhaustion are physical ones, such as:

  • Physical exhaustion and fatigue, despite getting a quality night’s sleep
  • Headaches, muscle tension, and body aches
  • Sleep disturbances and changes in sleep pattern
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache and digestive discomfort
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent colds


Emotional Symptoms

Mental exhaustion is also characterized by notable emotional changes, including:

  • Loss of interest in everyday activities and beloved hobbies
  • Lack of motivation in your professional life
  • Lack of purpose in your personal life
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Pessimism, cynicism, and self-doubt
  • Persistent stress
  • A lingering feeling that something bad is going to happen

Mental Exhaustion

Behavioral Symptoms

Finally, mental exhaustion causes a wide range of behavioral changes, such as:

  • Restlessness and inability to relax
  • Self-isolation and withdrawal from social activities
  • Trouble focusing on tasks, forgetfulness, procrastination
  • Lashing out at family members, friends, or coworkers
  • Increased tendency toward risk-taking behaviors
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol or drug abuse

How To Fix Mental Fatigue?

There are numerous ways to reduce mental exhaustion. Changing your lifestyle can help you tackle it from the root, while coping strategies can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated when dealing with stressful situations. Here are some essential steps to take in case of mental exhaustion.

Try Getting More Sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is vital for your physical well-being and overall health, including mental and emotional health. Getting the optimal 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night helps reduce both mental and physical fatigue.

Eliminate Stressors

When the stress of everyday life overwhelms you, take action immediately and don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. We all feel overwhelmed by work responsibilities from time to time, but if the stress is becoming unbearable, you should ask your supervisor or a coworker for help. 

Similarly, if you experience fatigue related to caregiving or household chores, consider relying on your family members or friends. Sometimes, it's hard to eliminate stress triggers from your life, but doing so is the best way to avoid mental fatigue and burnout.

Take A Break 

Taking a pause and giving yourself time to relax and regain energy can significantly help reduce mental exhaustion. A break can refer to any of the following things:

  • Going on a prolonged vacation
  • Spending an hour of time on self-care activities every day
  • Removing non-essential tasks from your to-do list
  • Getting the best out of your lunch break (for example, leaving the office for a full hour and taking a delicious meal, a walk, or another relaxing activity outside of work)
  • Spending quality time with friends at least once a week (such as having dinner or watching movies together)

self-care activities

Final Thoughts

Although mental exhaustion is an overwhelming experience that interferes with our daily lives, it is not permanent. With adequate self-care strategies and support from your loved ones, you can overcome mental fatigue and thrive in every aspect of your life again.

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