Overcoming mental exhaustion: causes, symptoms, and how to cope - Deepstash
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What is mental exhaustion?

What is mental exhaustion?

Mental exhaustion is a feeling of extreme tiredness, characterized by other feelings including apathy, cynicism, and irritability. You may be mentally exhausted if you’ve recently undergone long-term stress, find it hard to focus on tasks or lack interest in activities you usually enjoy.

Mental exhaustion often happens as a result of overuse, like physical overuse injuries. Rather than overstressing a muscle group, mental and emotional exhaustion come from overstressing your mind.


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What causes mental exhaustion?

  • Chronic stress: It keeps your brain — and body — on high alert all the time. Over time, this begins to wear away at your well-being.
  • Uncertainty
  • Work stress: Left unchecked, workplace stress can even evolve into burnout. 
  • Family issues: Divorce, disagreements, a sick family member and estrangements have a way of following you into all areas of your life. 
  • Juggling multiple commitments
  • Emotional stress: Constant negative feelings, events, and circumstances can make it difficult to relax.
  • Poor self-care:  Over time this will affect your ability to be resilient in the face of stressful situations.


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The symptoms of mental exhaustion

The symptoms of mental exhaustion

  • Emotional symptoms: Feeling a lack of interest in normal activities, a lack of motivation at work and in your personal life, a sense of languishing or lack of purpose in life, moodiness and irritability, cynicism, doubt, and pessimism, constantly feeling overwhelmed or stressed, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.
  • Physical symptoms: Fatigue or exhaustion, even after a full night’s rest, sleep disturbances and changes in pattern, headaches, body aches, muscle tension, changes in appetite, stomach issues, digestive upset, unexplained or frequent colds, irregularities in heart rate.


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11 strategies for overcoming mental exhaustion

  1. Eliminate the stressor
  2. Work-life balance
  3. Clear your space
  4. Schedule (and take) regular breaks
  5. Get outside
  6. Do something new
  7. Reduce screen time
  8. Find positive ways to distract yourself
  9. Take care of yourself 
  10. Focus on what you can control
  11. Talk to a coach or therapist.


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