Mental Exhaustion: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Anyone who is subjected to long-term stress might develop mental exhaustion. It might leave you feeling stressed and emotionally exhausted, making your commitments and concerns appear insurmountable.

Detachment and indifference may have a negative impact on many parts of your personal and professional life.

You may feel imprisoned in your circumstances and unable to change them, but with little assistance, you may overcome mental exhaustion.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mental Exhaustion?

Mental exhaustion creates both physical and emotional effects. It can also have an effect on your conduct, which others may notice before you do.

Mental exhaustion symptoms differ from person to person and can appear gradually, creeping up on you during times of high stress. If stress continues to weigh on you, you may feel as if you’re trapped in a black pit and can’t see your way out.

Many people refer to this as “burnout,” despite the fact that it is not a medical word.

Even if you don’t have all of the signs and symptoms, it’s vital to recognise them as warning indications that you’re on the verge of mental exhaustion or burnout.

Emotional Symptoms

Emotional symptoms of mental exhaustion include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cynicism or pessimism
  • Apathy (feeling of not caring)
  • Detachment
  • Anger
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling of dread
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decline in productivity
  • Difficulty concentrating

Physical Symptoms

Physical manifestations of mental exhaustion include:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Body aches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Increased illness, such as colds and flu

Behavioural Symptoms

Because of your mental exhaustion, you may react in ways that are out of character for you. Behavioural indicators may include:

  • Bad work performance
  • Inability to meet personal or work obligations due to social retreat or isolation
  • More often calling in sick to work or school

Difference Between Stress And Mental Exhaustion 

Everyone is subjected to stress at some point in their lives. It is our body’s natural reaction to new, exciting, or frightening experiences, both good and bad.

This biological reaction causes an increase in stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. This hormonal increase allows us to respond rapidly to perceived dangers and high-pressure circumstances that need quick thinking. Your body should return to normal once the stressor has been eliminated.

Long-term stress is frequently the cause of mental exhaustion. When you’re constantly dealing with situations that trigger your body’s stress reaction, your cortisol levels stay elevated. This eventually interferes with regular physiological processes such as digestion, sleep, and your immune system.

Difference Between Physical Exhaustion And Mental Exhaustion 

Physical exhaustion is a side effect that can be caused by mental exhaustion. It is an intense condition of relentless fatigue that leaves you physically spent. According to a 2017 assessment of 11 research, mental exhaustion hinders physical performance and can make even easy chores or exercise feel physically draining and demanding.

What Are The Causes of Mental Exhaustion?

Although the phrases mental exhaustion and burnout are frequently used to refer to being overworked or stressed in the office, mental exhaustion may be induced by a lengthy period of chronic stress in any aspect of your life.

While not all causes of mental exhaustion are the same, some are more frequent than others.

The following are some of the most common causes of mental exhaustion:

  • High-pressure occupations, such as emergency responders and teachers who work long hours are associated with financial stress and poverty.
  • Dissatisfaction with one’s job
  • Becoming a caretaker for a sick or elderly loved one
  • Having a chronic disease
  • Loved one’s death
  • Having a child
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Insufficient social support

How To Treat Mental Exhaustion?

There are lifestyle modifications and practices you may use at home to help you manage stress and relieve the symptoms of mental exhaustion.

Eliminate All The Sources of Stress

Although it is not always feasible to eliminate the source of your stress, it is the most effective strategy to alleviate stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your obligations at home or at work, try asking for assistance or outsourcing some of your duties to others.

Enlisting the assistance of professional services, such as respite care or a personal support worker if you are a caretaker for a loved one, is another approach to help lighten your burden. Other chores you may delegate include babysitting, cleaning, and running errands.

Take Break From Your Work

Rest and recharge time are critical components in treating mental exhaustion. This might be taking a long trip, clearing your schedule for a few days, or simply making time for yourself every day. Taking a stroll during your lunch break or seeing a movie with a buddy once a week will help reduce your stress levels significantly.

Do Regular Workout

Even on a good day, it might be difficult to find the desire to exercise, yet exercise offers several established advantages for your physical and mental health. To get the advantages, you do not need to engage in difficult or high-intensity activity. Moderate physical activity, such as a brisk stroll, is sufficient.

Cross-sectional research of 533 Swiss police and emergency response service corps conducted in 2010 discovered that exercise was connected with improved health and protection against stress-related health disorders.

The study’s participants also felt better prepared to deal with chronic stress. According to the findings, moderate exercise was more effective in reducing stress than strenuous exercise. Other proven benefits of exercise include:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Lower anxiety
  • Good mood
  • Stronger immune system

Practice Effective Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques have been clinically shown to reduce stress and anxiety. A 2013 study involving 30 medical students in Bangkok discovered that mediation decreases cortisol levels in the blood, potentially lowering the risk of stress-related disorders. Other relaxing techniques to consider include:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Deep breathing
  • Biofeedback
  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Progressive relaxation therapy

Get Enough Amount of Sleep

Sleep is essential for emotional well-being. Make an effort to obtain the required eight hours of sleep every night. One of the greatest methods to ensure a decent night’s sleep is to avoid spending too much time in bed throughout the day, which may be exacerbated by mental exhaustion.

Create and keep to a nighttime routine, such as doing some light reading for a few minutes before going to bed at the same time every night.

Try To Maintain a Gratitude Journal

When you’re mentally exhausted, negative thoughts and sensations might dominate you. Keeping a gratitude diary in which you write down things you’re grateful for every day might help you focus on the positive aspects of your life. A trio of research released in 2017 found that persons who practise gratitude and gratitude exercises benefit from:

  • Improved well-being
  • Lesser symptoms of physical illness
  • Reduced stress
  • Happiness
  • More relationship satisfaction
  • Improved sleep
  • Better physical health

Take Medical Treatment

It is critical to get expert care for mental exhaustion. A mental health expert, such as a therapist, can provide you with the tools you need to deal with stress and get through this challenging time.

Consult with a doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor may advise you to take medication to help control your symptoms while you work through your mental exhaustion with other approaches and counselling. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep aids are examples of pharmaceuticals that may be used to alleviate mental tiredness.

Wrapping It Up

Mental exhaustion can be treated. There are several services available to assist you in managing your symptoms and coping with stress. Speak with a mental health professional about methods to manage your stress and reclaim your sense of self.

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