Do you find yourself feeling easily overwhelmed and mentally drained most of the time? If so, chances are you might be suffering from mental fatigue.
What is mental fatigue?
Mental fatigue is a condition where your brain cells become exhausted (much like our bodies do when we've been physically over-active) due to accumulated stress from your personal or work lives or a combination of both to the point that you become less capable of keeping up with the demands of the day.
Mental fatigue symptoms can manifest in many different ways. Some of the most common symptoms include
low emotional resilience
irritability with other people
chronic feelings of being overwhelmed
feeling physically fatigued
sleep issues, such as sleeping too much or too little
unexplained aches and pains, such as headaches or muscle pain
feeling distracted or on edge when spending time with loved ones
using substances, such as alcohol, as a coping mechanism
If left unchecked, mental fatigue can lead to serious health problems, including persisting anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disease.
Ways to Ease Mental Fatigue and Boost your Energy
It’s not always possible to eliminate the source of your stress; however, incorporating a self-care and relaxation practice into your day to day is an effective way to mitigate and relieve mental exhaustion and rejuvenate your body and mind.
You’re probably thinking, “How am I going to do that?” Well, it’s easy. Here are some tips to help you get started ...
Take frequent breaks: New Body of research suggests that taking 2-3 intermittent microbreaks during each hour to consciously relax, stretch, meditate, or do something pleasurable–even for 10 seconds–will reduce stress, enhance your awareness, and significantly boost your concentration and productivity.
Get plenty of sleep. Mental fatigue can exist no matter how much sleep you get, but sleep does help refresh your body and mind. Getting adequate sleep will eliminate a lot of your day-to-day stress. After all, the body will have a chance to repair itself and recharge.
Free your mind from the problems that swirl around you. Take your mind off of those things that cause you to be strained by engaging in activities such as working on a puzzle, helping others, engaging in pleasurable hobbies, or spending time with friends and family.
Exercise regularly. Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, which are known to make you feel happy. It’s like the body’s natural “high.” Even if all you can do is take a 15-minute walk, take it. That can be great alone time for you.
Take a few hours or a day in which you can do things by yourself. Time by yourself can benefit you in so many ways, including having a much more enjoyable time with others as we will be more at ease and in tune with yourself. Use the silence to read, paint, knit, watch your favorite show, or learn how to cook. This is your time to try new things without any distractions!
Try breathing exercises. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. When things get rough, take deep breaths in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then release. You’ll notice feeling more at ease in your body.
Weather permitting, try to get outside at least once a day. Go out, even if it’s just a walk around your block, or spending some time sitting on your front steps. If that is impossible, try opening the windows. Fresh air always feels nice, in whatever form it comes!
Ask for help: If you’re overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home or work, consider asking for help with tasks or delegating some of your duties to others. Enlisting the help of professional services such as respite care if you’re a full-time caregiver for a loved one is another way to lp lighten your load. Babysitting, cleaning, and running errands maybe some of the responsibilities you m,ay be able to outsource.
Learn to say no: When your calendar gets filled up and a friend or family calls … and they want to add [another] thing to your already busy schedule, It’s OK to say no and not take on more than we can handle.When we give too much of ourselves to others (without respecting our own needs ), we cause harm to our wellbeing.
Implementing Your Strategies
These are just some of the strategies to help mange mental fatigue. You may have some other methods that help you relax and find peace in your life. Once you begin integrating these simple exercises into your day, you will start to feel the weight lifted off your shoulder and before you know it, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Netsanet Tegegn, LCSW Is a Psychotherapist in Virginia Beach who provides individualized counseling services for those who wish to create long-lasting and positive changes in their lives...