Top 3 tips to avoid mental fatigue
By Antonietta Marinelli | January 28, 2022
It has been difficult maintaining momentum across areas such as job performance, study productivity and the course of our daily routines over the last 24-months.
We’ve all experienced going strong, with the purpose and drive to follow a set routine which best suits our lifestyle. However, sometimes, maybe over the course of a week, a month, or even sooner – we lose momentum. This kind of mental tiredness takes over and knocks us back when the volume of tasks and activities we’ve taken on exceeds our capacity to comfortably handle the stress (even the positive kind) of it all (Mb, 2015). We lose focus, motivation to carry on with certain things in which may be important. We’re mentally fatigued.
This combination of exhaustion, boredom and inertia is called study fatigue (Samuels, 2019). Study fatigue includes difficulty focusing, loss in energy and urgency over a period. Not only do you potentially lose enthusiasm towards task like studying, but you may begin to doubt the point of what you’re doing, which can lead to an increase in procrastination and resulting in being burned out.
Feelings of mental fatigue include being overwhelmed, emotionally and mentally drained, brain fog and a potential re-occurrence of procrastination. Most common symptoms include mental block, lack of motivation, anxiety, stress eating or loss of appetite (Nazish, 2018). Sometimes it may be hard to differentiate tiredness from mental fatigue.
So, how do you know if you may be experiencing it?
Anger and impatience increase
You may begin to sense that your temper has shortened, and you become easily irritated by external factors including simple tasks, or even people. It is harder to control your emotions when you’re mentally tapped out.
Lack of sleep
This may also be due to lack of sleep. Your brain needs sleep like a car needs petrol; neither runs very well when empty. When you begin to sense your brain is becoming more and more fuzzy, this could be evident that you have become mentally and emotionally fatigued. “Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated facets of health,” says Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson, MD, medical director of Optavia (Barnes, 2021).
So, what are some ways in which we can ease mental fatigue?
Take a break
Whether it be for one hour, or one week, time off is essential to fighting off mental fatigue. You can even on your busiest days make sure that you are taking regular breaks.
Get more sleep.
This may be an obvious one, but sleep is the most powerful solution to fatigue. Lack of sleep is a common side-effect of mental fatigue, and if you’re not getting enough sleep, take steps reset your sleep clock and improve your sleep hygiene. Improving your sleep alleviates anxiety and stress, lessening the symptoms of mental fatigue (Waters, 2021). Lack of sleep can also result in difficulty finishing your work or tasks, and you may find it more difficult to make decisions, find the right words, or focus on one job at a time
Studies show that meditation not only improves focus and memory, but also changes the way your body responds to stress (Nazish, 2018). Spending as little as 15-20 minutes can go a long way in calming down your mind.
The most important thing to remember is to consciously take note of how you are feeling not only physically, but mentally. It is very easy to fall into the trap of putting yourself into over-drive to fulfil as much as possible, and to hold the belief that pushing through will keep the momentum going. Remember, to move forward we must be working at a 100% capability rate, and if that engine is running on low, it’s evitable that you will slow down. Breathe, take note, and move forward.
If you ever need help and you are finding your stress unmanageable, Mentor Education recommends the following services:
To speak with a mental health professional at: Lifeline - Beyond Blue -
● Barnes, Z. 2021. 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired). Daily Burn | Life. [Accessed 27 January 2022] dailyburn.com "
● Waters, S. Is your brain tired? Here are 6 ways to treat mental fatigue. BetterUp. [Accessed 27 January 2022] BetterUp
● Nazish, N. 2018. How To Overcome Mental Fatigue, According To An Expert. Forbes. [Accessed 27 January 2022] Forbes
● Samuels, S. 2019. How to prevent study fatigue. Cluey Learning. [Accessed 27 January 2022] Cluey Learning