Life can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming. One minute you’re on a high and the next you’re down in the gutters. However, when the lows begin to outnumber the highs, you may be mentally and emotionally exhausted.
A lot of people experience mental exhaustion at some point in their life due to work, family stress, or mental health problems. These symptoms can have an impact on your relationships, productivity, and wellbeing so it is important to be able to recognize when you are mentally and emotionally exhausted.
8 Signs of mental and emotional exhaustion
If you feel permanent fatigue, you may be suffering from burnout. Feeling tired can usually be fixed by rest however, mental exhaustion cannot be fixed by sleeping. It is persistent, never-ending tiredness that begins to affect your day to day life.
Lack of sleep
While you may feel exhausted, you may find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night. This is because mental exhaustion makes it impossible to silence your racing mind. You’re unable to stop these racing thoughts which only escalates your exhaustion.
Do you find yourself getting angry at your family and friends? Are the smallest things making you angry?
Being easily irritable is a sign of emotional exhaustion because you don’t have the mental strength to deal with others. Your mind will focus on the negative aspects of your life which will cause you to lose your temper easily.
When you’re mentally exhausted, your motivation is one of the first things to go. You cannot physically find the energy to do the simplest of tasks like washing up or making your morning coffee.
Feeling high levels of anxiety when you otherwise wouldn’t can be scary. If you are not used to feeling anxious, this may be very concerning. Increased anxiety can impact day to day life and make you more fearful.
If dropping a cup or burning your toast makes you want to cry, that’s not good. When we are mentally exhausted, even the smallest mistakes can feel like the end of the world. We loose all strength to deal with challenging situations and our regular day to day stresses can feel huge.
It is easy to become detached during a mentally tough period. This is similar to feelings of depression as nothing effects you anymore. You feel numb, emotionless. The problem you are dealing with has drained the life from within you and left you feeling empty.
It is easy to feel as if nothing will change. Like you’re going to feel this way forever. Feeling hopeless is a sign of emotional exhaustion as you loose all sense of self.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you are likely dealing with burnout.
How to overcome mental exhaustion
Burnout is exhausting and can feel endless however, there are ways in which you can overcome feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Making lifestyle changes and reaching out to loved ones will help you alleviate feelings of overwhelm.
Identify the problem
Often, there is a significant problem causing our turmoil. This could be issues at work, family problems, or even high levels of stress. Once you have identified the problem, you can take action towards eliminating or dealing with it.
For example, if you are experiencing high levels of stress which is causing burnout, try talking to your line manager and seeing if there is any changes they can make.
Share your feelings
A problem shared is a problem halved.
I’ve never truly understood this saying, but it is true that opening up to a trusted friend about how you are feeling makes the problem easier to deal with. As the saying goes, two minds are better than one. The person you open up to may be able to help you identify and deal with the problem.
They can also check in with you daily and encourage you to take care of your mental and physical health.
Practicing mindfulness every day is a great way to level with your feelings as it encourages you to focus on the present moment. Being mindful is about accepting your thoughts and feelings to understand them.
When you’re busy, practising mindfulness encourages you to slow down and take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.
More tips on how to practice mindfulness.
Take care of yourself
Putting yourself first is essential to overcoming burnout. Taking care of your mental health means you will have the energy to deal with any future stressors that arise.