Be Mindful of These 7 Signs of Mental Fatigue

If you feel “something,” honor it. Self-awareness is the best thing you can have for yourself when mental fatigue enters your daily life. Mental burnout from long periods of mentally taxing activities, or simply going from one activity to the next without much time to yourself, can overwhelm anyone and seriously impact your physical and mental health.

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Mental fatigue can cause a decline in your emotional and mental health, and you may often find yourself lacking motivation to complete simple tasks or even the things that once brought you joy. Mental fatigue can show up as decreased productivity, difficulty concentrating, impatience, and irritability, and simply, you’ll even feel it physically, leading you to experience complete and utter exhaustion.

Here are 9 signs of mental fatigue that signal it may be time to tap in with self for a bit of self-care and R&R.

01. Poor Quality of Sleep

Tired when you wake up in the morning? Can you even make it through to the morning without waking up throughout the night? It’s not surprising the lack of proper quality sleep can make mental fatigue even worse. Whenever possible, prioritize a good night’s rest because when your body gets adequate rest, it can support healthy brain functioning, alleviate anxiety, and reduce stress.

02. Lacking the motivation to do the things you used to enjoy

A common symptom of depression, and surprise surprise – adulting.

Whenever you feel yourself lacking the desire and willingness to work, try to avoid burnout by having too many things on your plate at once. With mental fatigue, motivating yourself to do anything can be challenging.

Try to be gentle with yourself, make a to-do list that prioritizes the most important tasks first, and say no when you want to. As you make progress through your tasks, reward yourself.

03. Your eating habits are changing

Are most of your meals created out of a place convenience? Are you mindlessly snacking? Mental fatigue and stress can cause changes in your appetite that affect you differently. Try to stick to nutrient-rich whole foods and ditch processed foods. As within, so without.

stressed young woman, upset, irritable, tired, overwhelmed

04. Mental Fatigue causes Irritability

More short-tempered than usual? This might be the most obvious sign of mental fatigue. A low mood and the inability to regulate your emotions may cause a more intense reaction or impatience to what would otherwise be considered insignificant. Take a beat. Recognize this as an opportunity to take time for yourself. Breathe deeply, or go for a walk to help reduce stress, relieve negative thoughts, and energize your spirit.

05. Increased use of substances to cope

Do you need a glass of wine or two just to relax? It’s a behavioral change indicating that you may be mentally overwhelmed and experiencing burnout. Perhaps you’re working too much or experiencing increased responsibilities with no sense of respite in sight.

06. A feeling of helplessness

Having feelings that you’re incapable of doing anything to help yourself, let alone anyone else? Or maybe you feel that having control over a particular situation is nearly impossible. A feeling of helplessness can be a sign to reflect on your awareness of stressful triggers and focus on any negative self-talk.

07. Mental Fatigue can lead to Depression

Extended bouts of mental fatigue can lead to depression. If mental fatigue continues beyond two weeks, after identifying symptoms of mental fatigue and working to address them, it may be time to seek out the advice of a professional. Working with a therapist can help you develop essential tools that help you cope when challenges present themselves in the future.

If you notice any of these signs of mental exhaustion, take note, be gracious with yourself, and take the time to resolve them as best as possible. If left unaddressed, mental fatigue can slowly decrease mind and body wellness. It can also have a negative impact on your relationships and, ultimately your quality of life. Of course, extend yourself some grace in the process with the understanding that it did not happen overnight and to resolve likely won’t happen overnight either. Be good to yourself!

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