Mental fatigue is a common experience that can impact your ability to concentrate, make decisions, and even carry out simple tasks. It’s a feeling of exhaustion that affects your brain’s ability to function at its optimal level. Mental fatigue can be caused by a variety of factors, such as stress, lack of sleep, or overstimulation. But the good news is that there are effective ways to overcome mental fatigue and get back to feeling focused and energized!
In this blog post, we’ll explore what causes mental fatigue and some strategies to help you overcome it and regain your mental sharpness.
What Causes Mental Fatigue?
There are many factors that can contribute to mental fatigue. As we move through our daily lives, we are impacted by the demands surrounding our personal and professional routines. Here are some of the most common ways mental fatigue is caused:
- Constant decision-making exhausts your executive function, leading to mental fatigue.
- Clutter triggers the production of cortisol, causing stress and prolonged stress can manifest into brain fatigue.
- Overcommitting to tasks can be mentally draining, counterproductive, and may cause burnout.
- Procrastination and avoidance increase anxiety, depleting your mental energy.
- Perfectionism can lead to decision paralysis, excessive rumination, and worry.
- Lack of sleep affects brain rejuvenation, causing weariness, and adversely affecting mood, focus, alertness, and productivity.
How to Combat Mental Fatigue:
- Prioritize Rest and Sleep
One of the primary reasons for mental fatigue is lack of sleep. Adequate rest and sleep are crucial for the brain to function optimally. Make sure to get enough sleep (but not too much) every night, aiming for at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Also, take breaks throughout the day, and give your brain some rest. Go for a walk, stretch or take a short nap to recharge your mind.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive function. It’s an excellent tool to train your mind to focus on the present moment and calm down any anxious thoughts. Practice mindfulness for a few minutes every day, and gradually increase the duration. You can also incorporate mindfulness practices in your daily life, such as mindful eating or taking mindful walks.
- Get Moving
Exercise is a great way to reduce mental fatigue and improve your overall health. Physical activity releases endorphins that can boost your mood, reduce stress, and increase your energy levels. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout, even light exercise, such as a brisk walk, can help to clear your mind and enhance your mental clarity.
- Simplify Your Life
Mental fatigue can be caused by feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Simplify your life by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones, setting realistic goals, and creating a daily schedule that prioritizes the most important tasks. It’s also important to learn to say “no” to additional responsibilities or commitments when you’re already feeling overwhelmed.
- Connect with Others
Social support can help reduce stress and fatigue. Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues for emotional support. Talk about your struggles with mental fatigue, and you might find that you’re not alone. It’s never the wrong time to ask for help.
- Prioritize Organization
Keeping both your physical and mental space tidy can help you stay focused and motivated. Assign everything a proper place and clear up after each task to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Clear your desk of any unnecessary stationery and put them in their designated drawers or declutter your phone and computer by deleting unused apps, old files, and emails that are no longer needed.
- Be Realistic with Your Goals
Make a to-do list of achievable tasks for the day and set realistic personal and professional goals. This will help you avoid overcommitting and reduce stress. Make a list of three important tasks you need to accomplish the next day, such as finishing a work project or going to the gym. Be sure to schedule time for breaks and relaxation in between tasks to avoid burnout.
- Batch Similar Tasks Together
Doing repetitive tasks in bulk can save you time and reduce decision-making fatigue. Do all your grocery shopping for the week in one trip, instead of going to the store multiple times or schedule all your meetings and appointments for one day, to avoid having to constantly switch between different types of tasks.
- Reduce Stress And Decision Making
Work on systems that will permanently reduce stress and make your life easier. Have backups in place for things like charging cords or emergency money to reduce stress and decision-making. When traveling make a packing checklist for travel and save it on your phone, so you don’t have to create a new one every time.
- Tackle Rumination and Avoidance
Rumination and avoidance can be self-sabotaging, so it’s important to recognize when you’re doing it and try to overcome it. Practice techniques to overcome rumination and use practical tips to beat procrastination and avoidance. When you find yourself ruminating, try a relaxation technique such as deep breathing or meditation to help calm your mind.
At Clear Behavioral Health, our mental health treatment program teaches our clients how to manage stress, anxiety, and other underlying mental health conditions so they can recover from mental fatigue. We walk each individual through the steps necessary to deal with anxiety and stress.
Our experienced clinical team employs evidence-based practices, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, and provides life skills and coping tools for managing stress to deliver wraparound clinical care for each of our clients. Remember stress is natural, it is when it becomes unmanageable that professional intervention is advised.