Mental exhaustion: symptoms, signs and causes

Don’t you notice that you feel tired and exhausted after intense physical activity? Well, the same rule of exhaustion works when we go through long periods of intense mental activity. Prolonged mental activity without rest can rob you of your mental peace and sanity. Mental exhaustion, also called burnout or mental fatigue, is a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion caused by long-term stress, overwork, or an imbalance of responsibilities and resources. Recognizing the signs of mental exhaustion, understanding its underlying causes, and learning effective strategies to prevent it are crucial steps toward maintaining good mental health and overall well-being.

Health Shots contacted Jaisleen Kaur, Image Consultant, Soft Skills Trainer and life Coach, Dehradun, to understand the signs and symptoms of mental exhaustion and the reasons behind it.

Watch out for these signs of mental exhaustion. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the signs and symptoms of mental exhaustion?

Your body can tell you when you’re mentally exhausted, and according to the expert, some common symptoms are listed below.

1. Persistent fatigue

“Feeling tired despite getting enough rest, leading to a constant lack of energy and motivation,” says the expert. You feel tired and low energy almost all the time, and some days it feels like a chore to get out of bed to do daily chores.

2. Decreased performance

Experiencing a decrease in productivity, creativity and efficiency in tasks, both at work and in personal life, are some signs of mental exhaustion. Mental fatigue begins to affect all aspects of your life, from personal relationships to falling behind professionally. There is reduced motivation and creativity to perform at work or in life.

3. Emotional detachment

“A mentally exhausted person feels withdrawn from social interactions, feels emotionally numb and experiences a sense of detachment from loved ones and loses interest in activities he once enjoyed,” says Jasleen Kaur.

4. Negative perception

There is a drastic change in the attitude of a mentally exhausted person. That person has a pessimistic outlook, views challenges as insurmountable obstacles and dwells on failures.

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5. Avoidance of communication

“Someone who feels mentally fatigued sees difficult conversations as challenges and avoids conversations. In addition, he/she becomes unresponsive and isolates himself/herself from friends, family and colleagues.”

6. Cognitive problems

A mentally exhausted person has difficulty concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.

7. Physical symptoms

“Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems and frequent illnesses are the result of a weakened immune system and disturbed sleep patterns due to burnout,” says the expert.

signs of mental exhaustion
Recognize burnout and solve it! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What causes mental exhaustion?

Some common causes of mental exhaustion include:

1. Excessive workload

Juggling between multiple tasks and responsibilities without enough time for relaxation leads to mental exhaustion.

Also read: Do you feel the burnout of a working mother? Know the warning signs and how to fix them

2. Lack of control

A person who feels powerless and unable to influence decisions or outcomes in personal or professional life feels mentally burned out.

3. Lack of recognition

A lack of recognition or appreciation for one’s efforts and contributions leads to a lack of motivation in the person.

4. Unrealistic expectations

Setting impossibly high standards for oneself and the inability to achieve them leads to constant feelings of failure. The pursuit of impeccability in all tasks leads to excessive self-criticism and dissatisfaction, even with minor mistakes.

5. Poor communication

Failure to express feelings, needs, or concerns, which leads to misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts, can lead to emotional exhaustion.

6. Lack of social support

Someone who feels isolated and unsupported, without a network of friends, family or colleagues to rely on, is more likely to feel mentally burned out.

7. Job dissatisfaction

Being an active part of a toxic work environment, experiencing bullying or harassment, and feeling undervalued at work leads to mental burnout.

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