You do take notice of the fact that you feel weary and drained post an intensive physical activity, right? 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 known as burnout or mental fatigue, is a state of chronic physical and emotional depletion caused by prolonged stress, overwork, or an imbalance between responsibilities and resources. Recognising the signs of mental exhaustion, understanding its underlying causes, and learning effective strategies to avoid it are crucial steps toward maintaining good mental health and overall well-being.
Health Shots reached out to 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.
What are the signs and symptoms of mental exhaustion?
Your body can tell you when you are mentally exhausted, and some of the common signs are listed below, as per the expert.
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 on energy almost all the time, and some days getting out of bed to perform daily chores feels like a task.
2. Reduced performance
Experiencing a decline in productivity, creativity and efficiency in tasks, both at work and in personal life, are some signs of mental exhaustion. Mental tiredness starts affecting all aspects of your life from personal relationships to falling behind on the professional front. There is reduced motivation and creativity to ace 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“A mentally exhausted person feels withdrawn from social interactions, feels emotionally numb and experiences a sense of detachment from loved ones and loses interest in activities once enjoyed,” says Jasleen Kaur.
4. Negative perception
There is a drastic shift in the attitude of a mentally exhausted person. That person adopts a pessimistic outlook, sees challenges as insurmountable obstacles, and dwells on failures.
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5. Avoidance of communication
“A person who feels weary mentally sees difficult conversations as challenges and avoids conversations. Alongside, he/she becomes unresponsive, and isolates himself/herself from friends, family, and colleagues.”
6. Cognitive difficulties
A mentally exhausted person feels difficulty in concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.
7. Physical symptoms
“Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal issues, and frequent illnesses are a result of a weakened immune system and hindered sleep patterns due to burnout,” says the expert.
What causes mental exhaustion?
Some of the common causes of mental exhaustion are:
1. Excessive workload
Juggling between multiple tasks and responsibilities without adequate time for relaxation leads to mental exhaustion.
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2. Lack of control
A person feeling powerless and unable to influence decisions or outcomes in personal or professional life feels burned out mentally.
3. Lack of recognition
A lack of acknowledgement 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 perpetual feelings of failure. Striving for flawlessness in all tasks leads to excessive self-criticism and dissatisfaction even with minor mistakes.
5. Poor communication
Failure to express feelings, needs, or concerns, leading to misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts can lead to emotional exhaustion.
6. Lack of social support
A person who feels isolated and unsupported, lacks a network of friends, family, or colleagues to rely on has a greater chance of feeling burned out mentally.
7. Job dissatisfaction
Being an active part of a toxic work environment or experiencing bullying or harassment and feeling undervalued at work gives rise to mental burnout.