“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” ~ Dale Carnegie
We All Suffer from Mental Exhaustion
There are many seasons in life when we feel mentally tired. When this occurs, it can disrupt our inner state.
We can feel groggy, tired, exhausted, frustrated, worn-down, worn out, and not our whole selves.
It is essential to understand that when we are mentally exhausted, our emotions and body will also be influenced to a certain degree.
Knowing when we are mentally tired is the first step to victory.
Below, we will review thirteen ways to fix mental fatigue. They are as follows:
- Get More Sleep
- Avoid Alcohol
- Consider Supplements
- Take Time to Rest
- Establish a Circadian Rhythm
- Step Away from the Computer
- Monitor Your Stress
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Stay Organized
- Write in a Gratitude Journal
- Have Proper Nutrition
- Take Time Doing Hobbies
13 Ways to Fix Mental Fatigue
1. Get More Sleep
Lack of sleep will affect everything in our lives, making us feel emotionally, mentally, and physically tired.
Striving for 7-9 hours of sleep is crucial.
To get adequate sleep, as a general rule, plan to add an additional hour into your sleep routine. This will buffer the time spent in bed trying to fall asleep, potentially waking up in the middle of the night, and getting out of bed.
When we begin to take our sleep as the utmost priority, we will see a change in our demeanor, how we feel, and our energy levels.
2. Avoid Alcohol
According to Drinkaware, “Regular drinking can affect the quality of your sleep making you feel tired and sluggish.”
It is difficult, but eliminating alcohol will help you get quality Deep and REM Sleep.
If you drink, strive to do so in the late afternoon/early evening.
Drinking alcohol too close to bedtime disrupts sleep.
As the Sleep Foundation has noted, “Alcohol may aid with sleep onset due to its sedative properties, allowing you to fall asleep more quickly. However, people who drink before bed often experience disruptions later in their sleep cycle as liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and other issues the following day.”
When alcohol gets in the way of sleep, this could be a reason for us feeling mentally tired.
Take time to assess how much alcohol you are having and when. Cutting it out could substantially benefit your energy levels as your sleep becomes more balanced.
3. Consider Supplements
We must refrain from relying on supplements for proper sleep. However, having some on occasion can help us get the appropriate amount of sleep and quality. This, in turn, will help boost our mental awareness and energy. “Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brains. It plays a significant role in organizing our circadian rhythms, the 24-hour sleep-wake cycles that govern when we wake up, feel alert, feel tired, and sleep.”
4. Take Time to Rest
Without rest, we will reach burnout.
The person who works 60-80+ hours a week continually is not working smart.
Though there are cases where a person needs to work two jobs to provide for their family, it is essential to take rests in the general scheme of life.
We need to take periodic rests throughout the day, week, month, quarter, and year to reach a point of feeling mentally exhausted.
We need to have a rest day in our week, breaks throughout our day, and vacations/time to rest throughout our year, lest we be highly prone to feeling mentally exhausted and low on energy.
Prioritize rest into your day, week, month, quarter, and year.
5. Establish a Circadian Rhythm
Without a circadian rhythm established, our body and brain won’t know when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up.
Without this routine, we will become much more susceptible to feeling sluggish and tired throughout the day.
Think of it this way – imagine we have to work every day at different times:
- Monday (1-9 pm)
- Tuesday (11-7 pm)
- Wednesday (9 am - 5 pm)
- Thursday (Noon - 8 pm)
- Friday (7 am - 3 pm)
This schedule would make it extremely difficult to develop a rhythm, making it much more challenging to manage our day. This, in turn, can lead to us feeling mentally tired.
So too, is it with our sleep. If we are not going to bed and waking up simultaneously, our body won’t know when it is time to begin to rest or be alert.
Strive to pick a time to go to bed and wake up each day simultaneously. After a few weeks, your body will adjust to this rhythm, naturally begin to wind down at the appropriate time, and naturally wake up.
Aerobic exercise can help our brains recover from mental fatigue.
According to Runner’s World and recent research, “This may be because this type of exercise provides recovery for your cognitive processes and nervous system so they can function more effectively.”
7. Step Away from the Computer
Looking at screens for extended periods can cause fatigue.
To combat this, it is essential to do the following:
- Take regular breaks to stop digital fatigue.
- Take time to meditate and do diaphragmatic breathing.
- Dedicate time for offline activities.
- Set boundaries of when to work and when to turn off all electronic devices.
8. Monitor Your Stress
We can better understand why we are mentally tired by monitoring our stress levels.
If our Autonomic Nervous System is constantly in a Sympathetic Response (stress response), that’s going to put our body into overdrive, leading to fatigue.
Suppose we are suffering from lots of stress. Taking time to step back, rest, and have our Autonomic Nervous System balanced through a Parasympathetic Response (associated with rest, digestion, and recovery) is essential.
This can be accomplished, again, by diaphragmatic breathing (which we will discuss more below).
9. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing brings 2/3 more oxygen flow to the brain than breathing through our chest.
If you want to learn more about breathing correctly through your belly, see our article, Should I Breathe With My Chest or My Stomach?.
10. Stay Organized
A lack of organization can lead to feeling overwhelmed.
When we don’t have folders on our desks or our computers organized, we will become more mentally tired.
Take time to organize the most commonly used websites into a folder on your computer.
Organize your desk. Label folders to easily find papers. Have every location serve a purpose.
This takes some time upfront but will help to reduce mental fatigue.
11. Write in a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude is a great way to uplift our spirits.
If we are not focusing on what we do have, we will be downcast by what we don’t have.
As the Ancient Phiolospher Socrates once said, “If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.”
Likewise, is it with what we do and do not have.
We quickly forget in the United States how blessed we are – the freedoms we have, the ability to pursue our goals and dreams, and the easy accessibility to fresh water and food. Too many times, we take things for granted.
Writing down what we are grateful for can help rewire our brain through neuroplasticity.
The more we focus on our blessings, the less mental fatigue we will have (which can come from being angry, depressed, discouraged, or fearful of what we don’t have).
We have been given much. May we open our eyes to see how blessed we are.
12. Have Proper Nutrition
According to Sutter Health, “To boost your mental health, focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Dark green leafy vegetables in particular are brain protective. Nuts, seeds and legumes, such as beans and lentils, are also excellent brain foods.”
13. Take Time Doing Hobbies
Hobbies bring fun and freedom. We will be more energized and excited when we partake in what we enjoy.
According to Dr. Famina of Mercy Health, “Hobbies provide a break from the routine, an outlet which everyone needs and something to look forward to…They help us unwind from the stressful day and calm our minds, therefore decreasing anxiety. They also keep us in a good physical and mental shape, which improves body image and self-esteem…Being present in the moment is a great way to distract our minds from our busy lives. It helps fight mental and physical fatigue, which is crucial for our mental health.”
Next Steps to Eliminating Mental Exhaustion
Now that we have reviewed 13 ways to help fix mental fatigue, it is time to take the following steps to eliminate mental exhaustion.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your health and energy back.
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For further reading, view the following articles on our learning center: