4. You’re not sleeping enough
Not getting enough sleep is one of the more obvious causes of fatigue. Your body does many things while you sleep, including store memory and release hormones that regulate your metabolism and energy levels.
After a night of high-quality sleep, you typically wake up feeling refreshed, alert and energized. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, adults need an average of seven hours of sleep per night for optimal health (Trusted Source)
Importantly, sleep should be restful and uninterrupted to allow your brain to go through all five stages of each sleep cycle.
Make sure you get all the sleep your body needs so you are better equipped for the day ahead.
5. Medical conditions
Many medical conditions might directly affect energy levels. Hypothyroidism, allergies, anaemia, almost any medical condition can have a component of tiredness, and sometimes traditional energizing solutions won’t work when you suffer a certain condition. If you feel that your fatigue may be due to a physical condition, give your Family Doctor a call.
6. Mental exhaustion
As much as physical exhaustion can be frustrating to deal with, in most cases, it is easily fixed by a good night’s sleep and good nutrition.
Sure, it sucks to be sleepy all day but it’s really easy to make it better by simply being active during the day to encourage better sleep.
On the other hand, mental exhaustion is something that’s not so easily fixed. The causes for lack of energy that go beyond the physical can turn out to be a chronic struggle.
During our lives, we go through so much stress, boredom, frustration, and anger that at some point it seems impossible to feel excited or happy. You’re just too emotionally and mentally exhausted.
Your mind is occupied with negativity, your spirit is low as well as your energy. Things you used to love doing become a burden and drain you.
If this sounds familiar, you may be mentally exhausted and your tiredness can not be put into just physical boundaries. That’s when you start looking for other ways to recharge.
Sleep and food alone won’t help but a happy song or an inspiring book might and if you feel unable to lift this feeling always seek professional help- such as your Family Doctor.
As our bodies need care, so do our minds. That’s why together we’re going to cover some of the reasons you feel so mentally drained all the time and how to fix it.
Exhaustion is often the body’s way of telling us something is off balance. When you might be trying to establish the root of your tiredness, be it physically related or mentally, the best way to do that is by looking at the symptoms.
While physical and mental exhaustion can have overlapping signs and symptoms such as poor concentration, aches and pains often mental exhaustion is more about behavioural and mood changes. Some of these symptoms include- depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Often there is a trigger for this such as a stressful event, with this new world
What to do about it?
There are lifestyle changes and techniques you can use at home to help you cope with stress and alleviate the symptoms of mental exhaustion.
1. Remove the stressor
We know that it’s not always possible to remove the source of your stress, but the best way to treat stress is to tackle its cause.
If you’re overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home or work, speak to your manager or take some time off. Many people are ashamed to ask for help but the truth is it’s human and all need a helping hand at some point.
Enlisting the help of professional services is another way to help lighten your load, such as a personal support worker if you’re a caregiver for a loved one or a therapist. Babysitting, cleaning, and running errands are other responsibilities you can outsource.
2. Take a break
Sparing time to rest and recharge is an important part of treating mental exhaustion. This can be done by taking a holiday, clearing your schedule for a couple of days, or even just taking a bit of time for yourself each day. Anything that will give you some respite.
Talk to a friend, watch your favourite movie, listen to music, do something inspiring that will occupy your mind. Inspiration is key to happiness and therefore energy.
If you want to learn more ways to recharge check out our article (link to the “20 simple steps to recharge your energy”)
It’s not easy to find the motivation to exercise even on a good day, but exercise has many proven benefits for your physical and emotional health. You don’t need to do a high-intensity workout. Some moderate exercises, such as a brisk walk, is good enough.
A 2010 cross-sectional study of 533 Swiss police and emergency response service corps found that exercise was associated with good health and often used against stress-related health problems.
The participants of the study also felt better prepared to cope with chronic stress. The outcome was, moderate exercise was better suited to reduce stress than vigorous exercise.
Other proven benefits of exercise include:
- lowered stress levels
- reduced anxiety
- improved mood
- a stronger immune system
4. Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are recognized to lower stress and anxiety. A 2013 study with 30 medical students in Bangkok participating, showed that meditation lowers cortisol levels in the blood, which may lower stress levels. So try yoga or some breathing exercises. You will feel calmer and energized in no time.
Examples of other relaxation techniques include:
- tai chi
- deep breathing
- progressive relaxation therapy
5. Get some sleep
Sleep is necessary for your emotional well-being. Aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep each night.
One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to avoid spending too much time in bed throughout the day — something to which mental exhaustion may contribute.
Think of a bedtime routine and stick to it, such as doing some light reading for a few minutes before turning in at the same time every night.
Habits are usually created within 21 days so it might take you a bit of time to get used to them but in the end, it’s the healthiest option for you.
6. Keep a journal
Negative thoughts and feelings can consume you when you’re mentally exhausted. Keeping a journal to write down things that make you happy every day can help you focus on the good in your life. Write about the cute dog you saw today or the nice cashier at the store. Everything that made you smile during the day counts.
A set of three studies published in 2017 showed that people who practice journaling enjoy:
- higher well-being
- fewer symptoms of physical illness
- reduced stress
- higher relationship satisfaction
- improved sleep
- better physical health
7. Medical treatment
If you find that the options you’ve tried haven’t helped then it’s time to discuss with your Doctor. Medications may be what you need
Seeking professional help for mental exhaustion is important. A therapist can give you the tools you need to cope with stress and work through this difficult period.
Speak to a doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest medications such as antidepressants to help manage your symptoms often in conjunction with other techniques and therapy like cognitive behavioural therapy.
A few final words
Mental and physical exhaustion are very common in today’s fast-paced world. Often simple measures like better sleep can help you start getting back to your usual self.
The important thing to remember is that exhaustion doesn’t only affect the body, it can and often will also affect the mind if left untreated or it can occur on its own entirely.
Mental exhaustion requires more patience, realise it’s a journey and that each small step you take brings you closer to your happier more content self.
Knowing these causes of exhaustion that go beyond the physical allows you to broaden your approach to your recovery.
Throughout this I want you to know that you do not have to do it alone. The answer to your fatigue may not be obvious and that’s ok, it’s important to discuss your worries with someone else and this can be family or friends. There is nothing weak in asking for help and getting some support or even direction.
Should you be struggling with coping with stress or life in general
Good Samaritan 116 123 or speak to your GP
I hope these tips will help you stay physically and mentally healthy. Learn more about mental health.
Have any questions?