Mental exhaustion is a common occurrence and is a result of brain over-activity. Feelings of being overwhelmed by tasks at work or responsibilities to children and family members can leave you with feelings of frustration and mental unrest. You may also find yourself becoming envious of others you perceive as being more relaxed or laid back, as your level of mental stress can make you detest those who seem to have it easier.
When you spend a lot of mental effort on a task, you become mentally exhausted. Though manageable at first, over time, your ability to maintain your focus becomes hampered. This may leave you with an inability to concentrate, performing more mistakes than normal. Feelings of being stressed, irritated, and even depressed can lead you into a downward spiral, potentially affecting your health and the people around you.
Mental exhaustion can be easily recognized as feelings of being “burnt out” from excess, long-term stress—it is something we have all experienced before. Symptoms may initially present subtly, but over time, they become worse. It is important to note that mental exhaustion may eventually manifest as physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, as all these attributes are connected to the organ receiving the blunt of the mental stressors: the brain.
Mental exhaustion does not necessarily occur in one fell swoop, but instead, it slowly accumulates over time. Being overworked, having too many responsibilities, or simply having too much going on in your life can cause you to reach an eventual boiling point, where your mind and body cannot cope anymore. This is when symptoms start to manifest.
When our capacity for dealing with stress becomes depleted, it may knock us back into a state of perpetual mental fatigue. This can even lead to potentially serious health issues such as depression, heart disease, chronic illness, and autoimmune disorders.
Mental exhaustion can take a toll on virtually every aspect of a person’s life. Poor work performance due to decreased productivity can lead to negative consequences at your job, such as demotion or termination. Your irritability and poor mood could affect the people around you, leading to conflict with friends and loved ones. Your level of mental exhaustion may also affect how you perform during physical tasks, as the brain may perceive simple tasks as being arduous and tiring due to your lack of motivation.
The mind and body are quite resilient and are capable of making a full recovery from the most harmful of physical injuries, and this holds true for mental exhaustion as well. The biggest challenge is to admit a change needs to be made in order to recharge mentally and not feel guilty about it. The following are some simple tips that don’t require much energy but will set you on a path toward mental rejuvenation.