Mental fatigue is characterised by severe mental tiredness. It manifests itself differently in each person but side effects such as an inability to concentrate, difficulty in solving problems, irritability, anxiety, frustration, a decline in passion and sleeplessness are quite common.
Highly stressful jobs, family conflict or relationship issues often contribute to mental exhaustion, but there are many reasons why people find themselves emotionally fatigued. If a person is put under an immense amount of stress for an extended period of time, they are certainly more susceptible to experiencing mental fatigue. Left unaddressed, mental fatigue can lead to more serious issues such as depression, a lowered immune system, strained relationships, impaired physical function and poor job performance.
Mental fatigue takes its toll on your overall wellbeing and the negative impact of it can be significantly worse than that of physical fatigue. Physical fatigue can be easier to recognise and be treated simply with rest and the proper nourishment. Mental fatigue however, may be difficult to identify, and can reduce your capacity to think clearly and express yourself effectively. Long term, chronic mental fatigue has the ability to negatively affect your health and will also leave you feeling physically fatigued and prone to illness.
Combating mental fatigue is important in keeping our minds and bodies healthy. Here are a few simple techniques you can implement to avoid letting mental exhaustion get the better of you.
Getting enough quality sleep is key when trying to keep your stress levels in check. Sleep allows our minds and bodies to switch off, rest and rejuvenate which reduces the chance of physical and emotional fatigue.
Spend a few minutes relaxing before bed to increase your quality of sleep. This might include taking a warm bath, reading a book or meditating, whatever works best for you.
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to battle mental fatigue. Aside from the release of endorphins during physical activity that make us feel good, regular exercise gives your mind a chance to take a break which is great for stress relief.
Better yet, head outside to exercise when you can, the fresh air, sunshine, change of scenery and contact with nature will give your mood an immediate boost.
When we're stressed or anxious, our breathing becomes faster and more shallow. By slowing down our breaths and breathing more deeply, we can effectively reduce our stress and anxiety levels, and encourage relaxation.
Try breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six. Breathe deeply and slowly, in and out of your nose and you'll notice the tension start to slowly melt away.
Spend some time alone for self-reflection to help you to overcome mental fatigue. Find a quiet place where you're not likely to be interrupted and practice whichever style of self-reflection suits you best.
Some people find journaling or writing in a diary useful, while others prefer to simply be alone with their thoughts and focus on letting go of the negativities and worries.
By releasing some of your worries into the empty space around you or jotting them onto paper, you'll be left with less of them whirring around in your head. If you practice this regularly, you'll feel less and less mentally drained each time.
Disengaging yourself from stress is an important element in maintaining your emotional wellbeing. Step away from your stressors for a while to give yourself a break. If your stress is work, consider taking a day or two off. If your marital problems are a constant source of your stress you might think about taking a weekend away without your other half. Whatever it is, remove yourself from the stressful situation for a while to allow your mind to rest from the constant overdrive its been in.
If you can't completely remove yourself from the things that are causing your stress, be sure to show yourself a little kindness by treating yourself to the things you enjoy. Do something that relaxes you and makes you feel good, and schedule time for it regularly, especially while your stress levels are high.
Everyone is different, you might prefer getting a massage, visiting the salon or hitting the gym, while others may prefer going to a movie, taking a yoga class or going for a swim at the beach.
These are just a few ways to help combat mental fatigue, each of us has our own techniques that work best for us. If you're feeling emotionally drained and don't know where to start, try a few of these and see what's most effective for you. The most important thing is that you use these sorts of techniques on a regular basis, not just as a way of managing mental exhaustion, but also as a way of preventing it.