Life can get so hectic and overwhelming, there is no getting away from it. However it can sometimes feel a little too much to handle.
Those feelings are valid, justified and true – whether you or anyone else tells you otherwise.
Here are some signs to look out for which could imply mental exhaustion, as well as some tips on how to cope.
Signs to look out for:
You’re irritable or have a short fuse.
When you become less tolerable towards things that don’t usually faze you, that tends to be an inkling that things are getting on top of you.
You lose interest in things you usually enjoy.
Another hint is losing interest in hobbies and socialising. What used to be your solace or how you blow off steam after a long week suddenly sounds like a chore.
You’re tired no matter how much sleep you get.
Whether you’re over sleeping or barely getting any, you’ll still feel fatigued. When you aren’t rested then it can throw everything else out of balance too.
You feel negative emotions more strongly.
When you’re mentally exhausted your anxiety, depression, or stress levels will rise. You become unable to cope in the same way that you can when you’re feeling positive. You might also experience apathy and detachment.
You also can experience physical symptoms as well as emotional ones. These can include: headaches, body aches, upset stomachs, change in weight and increased illnesses such as cold and flu symptoms.
Dealing with mental exhaustion:
There are so many things that can cause mental exhaustion, and it can be different for everyone. Some include financial issues, relationship problems, work stress/long hours, education, or family issues.
Here are a couple of ways you can help to deal with it:
Remove the cause of stress.
It’s not always possible to remove the thing that’s causing you to feel the way you do, however if you can even distance yourself from it then it is best to do so. (E.g. take some space from toxic friends, reduce your working hours if you can do so).
Complete removal, or even a slight change, will give you the ability to focus the issue into ways that you are able to deal with it.
Take time out.
Everyone needs a different amount of time to recover from stress and exhaustion but it’s best to take time away regularly in order to not become overwhelmed.
Have a day in bed watching comfort films, speak to someone who can help you cope with the cause (friend, family, doctor etc), spend time with loved ones, or do whatever it is that you love that brings you relaxation.
Not everyone wants to exercise when they feel low, and I am one of those people. However, a lot of people have brought exercises such as tai chi, yoga and Pilates into their routine as a way to destress. Others prefer a higher intensity (fast paced, get the sweat flowing) such as running, cycling, or a high intensity work out class.
There is no harm in speaking to a doctor, counsellor or therapist when you’re struggling. Samaritans also offer a lovely free email service to speak to someone.
Having someone to help you break down, rationalise and understand your worries will allow you to relieve some of the stress and help you work through it.
Many also choose to journal their concerns. (E.g. Gratitude journal, worry journal, or even writing it down then ripping it up).
Others allow 15 minutes a day to think of their worries before taking the time to set out a plan to solve them.
Whatever you choose to do, putting your yourself and your health first is so important.