Are You Mentally Exhausted? Signs To Look Out For

You might have heard rest days are an important part of any fitness routine. But did you know the same goes for your mental health as well? Just like your muscles need time to rest and repair, so does your hardworking brain. If you don't give yourself a break every now and then to refill your mental tank, you're eventually going to run out of gas and sputter to a stop.

This occurrence of mentally running on empty is also known as mental exhaustion. It crops up when your brain is constantly stimulated without any breaks or rest periods (via Healthline). Psychologist Sheva Assar, Ph.D., told MindBodyGreen that mental exhaustion can result from chronic stress and that "[it's] often accompanied by negative changes in our thinking styles, concentration, and memory, as well as different forms of emotional and physical distress."

According to Healthline, mental exhaustion can be caused by many factors including financial problems, having a baby, not liking your job or working long hours without breaks, the death of a loved one, caring for someone who is chronically ill, or living with a chronic condition yourself. If you think you may be experiencing mental exhaustion, here are some signs to look out for.

Symptoms of mental exhaustion

We live in a world that is always on the go and places a lot of importance on the hustle and grind of keeping busy to achieve success. But by not prioritizing rest, you're only going to overextend yourself, which may cause you to become mentally exhausted. This is not going to do any favors for your health or productivity, which is why it's important to keep an eye out for the signs that your mind is in need of a break.

Mental exhaustion can rear its ugly head in your physical health, mental health, and in your behavior as well (via MindBodyGreen). Physically speaking, you might be experiencing mental exhaustion if you find yourself frequently coming down with colds, if you are having trouble sleeping or constantly feel tired, or if you have unexplained weight changes, per Healthline. You may also feel constant aches or tension in your head or body or if you are noticing that routine tasks begin to feel much more difficult (via MindBodyGreen).

As far as your mental and emotional health is concerned, you may have trouble focusing, you may find yourself regularly zoning out, and you may also be feeling negative about work, relationships, and your life in general, per MindBodyGreen. Behaviorally speaking, mental exhaustion may manifest as canceling plans or skipping out on work responsibilities, putting off items on your to-do list, avoiding socializing with loved ones, or using drugs and alcohol as an escape (via Healthline).

How to treat mental exhaustion

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to combat mental exhaustion and give your mind a break. You don't necessarily need to escape to relaxing yoga retreats or take week-long spa getaways, as there are a few simple things you can do throughout your day to avoid running out of gas. According to MindBodyGreen, taking breaks is an essential piece of the puzzle. Schedule rest periods for yourself throughout the day just like you would any other task. It can feel tempting to skip these breaks if you're feeling overloaded with other to-dos but challenge yourself to prioritize rest just as you would any other item on your list. Taking five minutes to meditate or going for a 10-minute walk around the block can help you recharge and feel ready to tackle the next thing on your list, per MindBodyGreen.

Diligently taking care of your basic needs is another seemingly simple practice that can go a long way. Healthline suggests maintaining some simple self-care practices like staying hydrated, fueling your body with nutritious meals, getting enough exercise, and staying connected with your loved ones. Tending to your basic needs may seem like an obvious remedy, but self-care is often the first thing to ignore when you are mentally exhausted. Taking care of yourself makes a huge difference in keeping your mind and body healthy and balanced.