Hidden signs of mental exhaustion:

Your body and mind need time to rest in order to function at their peak levels, but many people forget to make this part of their daily routine. They’re not always obvious, so make sure you know the hidden signs of mental exhaustion.

When you’re exhausted, it’s easy to look for physical signs like weight loss, decreased energy, sleep problems, and more. But there are other signs of mental exhaustion that aren’t as easy to spot at first glance, which can make them all the more dangerous if they go unaddressed.

This article takes you through 10 hidden signs of mental exhaustion you shouldn’t ignore.

What is mental exhaustion?

Mental exhaustion is an acute state of tiredness caused by stress, anxiety, pressure, and fear over an extended period. Symptoms of mental exhaustion include apathy, physical fatigue, loss of energy, and feeling overwhelmed. Too much of this can lead to burnout.

According to experts, mental exhaustion occurs when physical, emotional, and psychological stressors increase to the point where they overwhelm your ability to cope. It often begins with low motivation and poor concentration but can lead to feelings of apathy, depression, and anxiety in severe cases.

What causes mental exhaustion?

Mental exhaustion happens when you put in too much effort without enough breaks or rewards to counterbalance that effort. You can experience mental exhaustion as burnout, stress, depression, or even physical exhaustion when your body reacts to your level of mental and emotional stress. Mental exhaustion happens when you physically and emotionally ask too much of yourself. It often results from long work hours, poor sleep habits, poor nutrition, and not taking enough days off from work to recover from the physical and emotional stress of your job and responsibilities outside of work.

Mental exhaustion symptoms:

So now that you know what mental exhaustion is and why it is bad for you, now learn the signs that show you may have a problem:

1. Headaches

The most common manifestation of mental exhaustion is a headache. Not just any headache, but one that seems to come from nowhere. Research has shown that mental exhaustion can cause an increase in pressure inside your skull by up to 30%. Other than being downright painful, headaches can make it impossible to concentrate or focus on anything. While these headaches are typically short-lived, ignoring them could lead to more serious conditions down the road. A tension headache maybe your body’s way of saying it needs rest; don’t ignore it!

2. Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is one of those early warning signs that mental exhaustion is setting in. When you’re mentally exhausted, minor tasks become tougher, and your brain requires a lot more energy to remember simple things. While it’s normal to experience some forgetfulness at times, chronic forgetfulness could signify that something’s wrong. People experiencing mental exhaustion may often lose items around their home or office—their keys are somewhere in their home, but they can’t remember where exactly.

They might also have trouble remembering details from meetings or events, even though they attended them just hours before. A person who’s not feeling mentally exhausted might still struggle with these kinds of tasks occasionally, but for someone who’s chronically fatigued and stressed out, forgetting common details like these happens all too frequently.

3. Feeling irritable

If you feel like snapping at every person in sight, your mental energy might be running low. Irritability can signal a number of different things: stress at work, grief over a loved one’s death—but if it comes on suddenly and remains ongoing, there’s a good chance that you’re feeling mentally exhausted.

Take time to consider what could be causing your exhaustion and how to handle stress better going forward; then seek professional guidance for longer-term fatigue or severe distress. There are many types of therapy available, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques. Speaking with a trained therapist who specializes in your particular area of concern can offer valuable insight into where these feelings come from and help you develop coping mechanisms for dealing with them when they arise.

4. Difficulty concentrating

Many people experience difficulty concentrating in times of mental exhaustion. During these periods, it can be difficult to focus on a single task for an extended period of time. This lack of concentration can lead to mistakes and other work performance issues.

Unfortunately, many workers try to push through their difficulties rather than seek help. By working with your supervisor or taking short breaks during long work sessions, you can learn how to prevent attention-related problems from hurting your job performance.

By knowing what types of physical ailments and cognitive difficulties typically occur as a result of mental exhaustion, you’ll be better equipped to handle your work responsibilities when things become stressful. Of course, even seasoned employees will admit there are days when nothing seems to go right—and it’s OK if some problems are beyond your control.

5. Low energy levels

When you’re mentally exhausted, it’s easy to ignore tiredness and push through with little food or rest. But as your body gets pushed past its limits, you can expect to feel lethargic, low on energy, and increasingly susceptible to illness. Get enough sleep every night and eat well to keep yourself feeling energized. When you take care of your body, it’ll take care of you too!

6. Being disorganized

People who feel mentally exhausted often struggle to complete even simple tasks. If you feel like you can’t get anything done, it might signify that your mental reserves are running low. If you think your disorganization is due to mental exhaustion, it might be time to reevaluate how you’re managing your time and taking care of yourself. Identifying these signs will help motivate yourself and others to address any issues before they spiral out of control.

tired student asleep at desk

7. Needing more sleep than usual

One of our biggest significant signs that you’re exhausted is needing more sleep than usual. If you’re a naturally light sleeper who doesn’t typically stay up late but now can’t seem to wake up without an alarm clock in your hand, you might be doing too much at work.

Take some time off or adjust your schedule—but don’t ignore it altogether: Chronic lack of sleep can increase your risk for many serious health problems, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Plus, research shows getting adequate shut-eye boosts productivity and helps us feel happier overall.

8. Poor memory

Poor memory skills can be signs of early mental exhaustion. If you’re having trouble remembering things that used to come easily to you, take it as a warning sign and try to get more sleep. Your brain will thank you for it.

9. Not looking forward to things anymore

Even making small decisions can feel like a big deal when you’re mentally exhausted. If you’re getting annoyed at little things that wouldn’t bother you otherwise, that could be a sign that it’s time to take care of yourself. This is especially important for those in high-pressure professions like lawyers and doctors. While long hours are often part of these jobs, they can also lead to exhaustion, which may increase medical errors and compromise patient safety. It’s worth noting that mental exhaustion isn’t just bad news, it’s also preventable!

Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and maintaining positive relationships will all help keep your energy levels up (and maybe even get you looking forward to activities again). Remember: if something seems off and persists for longer than a week or two, don’t ignore it. Get in touch with your doctor about what they think might be happening.

How to prevent mental exhaustion?

Mental exhaustion can be inevitable, but with the right tools and techniques, you can prevent it from ever happening in the first place! If you want to make sure your brain stays fresh and energetic, follow these tips to prevent mental exhaustion.

1. Take time off

If you’re experiencing mental exhaustion, it may be because you’re not taking enough time off. Your brain needs downtime to process and recharge. Additionally, if you don’t take proper breaks throughout your day, your brain won’t have time to complete crucial tasks like memory consolidation.

2. Take naps when necessary

One of the most effective ways to combat mental exhaustion is taking an occasional nap. Studies have shown that naps increase alertness and productivity throughout a workday and can boost memory retention, problem-solving ability, and creativity. A 20-minute power nap can offer you all of these benefits! The trick is to keep your nap under 20 minutes. Anything longer than that may leave you feeling sluggish instead of refreshed.

3. Move more throughout the day

Movement provides an overall boost to your energy level. It’s not always easy to find time for it, but you can sneak in a few minutes of activity throughout your day. For example, stand up and stretch every 20 minutes or walk around while you’re on the phone. In addition to preventing mental exhaustion, the movement also boosts creativity and memory.

4. Learn how to say no

Many of us have trouble saying no when we need to. We feel obliged to say yes and end up over-extending ourselves.

Saying no to requests is an essential skill in preventing mental exhaustion. Learn how to say no politely, tactfully, and professionally with confidence. Remember that saying no doesn’t mean you have to provide an explanation—you can give it if asked, but be clear that you are simply saying no.

5. Eat healthily

Eating a healthy diet helps your body function at its best. Poor nutrition can lead to mental exhaustion, so it’s important to eat a balanced diet full of complex carbohydrates, plant proteins, and high-quality fats while avoiding processed foods loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy trans fats. Research also suggests increasing your vitamins C and E consumption may help prevent mental exhaustion by keeping stress hormones in check.

working woman asleep at computer

6. Have a morning routine

One of the easiest ways to prevent mental exhaustion is by making sure your morning is productive. If you wake up at 6 a.m., don’t make it a point to check social media or read emails right away, as these habits will suck your energy before you even get started. Instead, make it a point to start each day with a routine; doing so will help keep your mind clear and more apt for focus throughout the day.

7. Stop comparing yourself

Comparisons are pointless. Chances are, you will never be as good as that person at what they do. And if you ever do reach their level of skill, it’s unlikely that you’ll stay there for long. Our society is addicted to comparison: on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, we constantly scroll through pictures of others’ successes, whether those people are friends or celebrities—and we find ourselves endlessly trying to keep up. This can put too much pressure on you to match up with the other person, leading to stress and exhaustion.

8. Declutter your life

Make a list of everything that drains your mental and emotional energy, and then figure out what you can do to eliminate these things from your life. For example, if an important goal is not making time for social activities because you’re too busy working, ask yourself if there are ways you can change your work schedule so that you have more free time for socializing.

If it’s simply feeling overwhelmed by everything going on in your life, take some steps to slow down by planning one day each week (or each month) as downtime.

Some questions you can ask yourself include; what are my main stressors? How am I currently coping with them? What else can I do to cope with them better? What steps am I taking toward reaching my goals? Am I enjoying any of those moments? Why or why not? If not, what would it take for me to enjoy them again?

Final thoughts on the signs of mental exhaustion:

The problem with mental exhaustion isn’t just that it makes it hard to focus and finish up your tasks – it can also lead to longer-term health consequences, like high blood pressure and heart disease.

What’s even scary is that some mental exhaustion symptoms, such as headache, forgetfulness, poor memory, disorganization, and difficulty concentrating can be difficult to notice and classify as signs of mental exhaustion.

That’s why leading a lifestyle that improves mental exhaustion is essential for good health.

A few things you can do include eating healthy, taking occasional naps, engaging in physical exercise, having a morning routine, and saying nowhere necessary.

Other related articles:

  1. Why Is Stress Management Important?
  2. Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Metabolism
  3. 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System
  4. How To Stay Healthy In Winter?
  5. How To Stay Healthy When Traveling
  6. Vegan Brain Booster Foods

If you enjoyed this post about the Signs of Mental Exhaustion and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the Ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families