Mental tiredness or mental fatigue is a concept that can be confused with physical fatigue, although they are different. Mental fatigue is related to the prolonged symptoms of stress (whether or not it is work related), anxiety, depression or the excess of tasks and the lack of resources.
This type of fatigue is different from drowsiness (need for sleep), although the person feels a loss of energy, demotivation and apathy . It appears, for example, when a person suffers a burnout and the moment arrives when he feels that he cannot go on any longer, that his resources are not sufficient to cope with the situation and he reaches his mental ceiling.
Causes of mental fatigue
Mental fatigue is usually associated with work , since many phenomena related to this field can cause it. The most common causes of mental fatigue are
- Excessive mental workload : excessive tasks requiring too high a level of attention and concentration can cause this phenomenon to appear. The main problem lies in the duration of this situation, which ends up exhausting the person’s resources.
- Organizational factors : the business climate and culture, colleagues or the leadership styles of superiors can also cause mental fatigue.
- Each person’s resources : some individuals tolerate stressful situations better than others.
- Stress and anxiety : mental fatigue can also appear in situations of stress (for example, post-traumatic stress or work stress) or prolonged anxiety.
- Very mental jobs : those jobs with little physical involvement are more likely to cause mental fatigue.
- Depression -Symptoms of this disorder include this form of fatigue.
Combating Mental Fatigue
Mental fatigue, that feeling that you have reached your limit and are mentally and emotionally exhausted, can be avoided and overcome.
Below you can find natural ways to combat this phenomenon without having to resort to drugs.
1. Eat well
Many people experience mental fatigue because they do not get the nutrition they should. This can cause a person to lose concentration and feel tired and mentally exhausted, because their body does not have the nutrients needed to function properly .
Therefore, it is important to eat several times a day, preferably 5 times (i.e. spread the necessary calories over 5 meals). Food is especially important in times when we have a lot of work to do. It is also important to take in carbohydrates , as glucose is the brain’s source of energy. Eating well keeps the mind active and reduces mental fatigue.
2. Take a natural supplement
There are different supplements that are ideal for times when we have to make an extra mental effort. Some examples are: royal jelly, ginseng or ginkgo biloba … This can help us to be more concentrated and to overcome those extra demands of some moments of our life.
3. Sleep well
Sleeping well has many benefits, and when we don’t, our body and mind notice it. Therefore, there is nothing better than a good rest to prevent mental fatigue and be more lucid and alert during the day.
Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep, but some people need less to perform well. Taking a 20-minute nap a day is not bad either , because according to science it makes us more concentrated and active.
Meditation is an ancient practice that is very fashionable, as it helps to cope with the pace of life in Western societies. It helps us to stop, to connect with ourselves, to be in the present and to have a calm mind . There are different types of meditation and all of them are very beneficial.
- If you want to know what they are, you can read this article: “The 8 types of meditation and their characteristics”
5. Drink water
If eating well is good for maintaining good levels of attention and concentration, it is just as necessary to consume enough water for the body to be served. Dehydration is one of the main causes of mental fatigue , so it is necessary to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, distributed throughout the day.
6. A good working environment
We spend many hours at work and therefore a bad working environment can end up causing us excessive mental fatigue. The fact is that when you are comfortable in your work and calm, you feel good and are more productive. When this is not the case, it is easy to feel mentally exhausted and stressed.
7. Practice physical exercise
Physical exercise is one of the healthiest habits a person can enjoy, as it helps us feel better, improves our self-esteem and makes us feel happier because when we practice it we release different neurochemicals such as endorphins or serotonin.
Scientific studies show that physical exercise improves both our physical and mental health , so we should spend at least 30 minutes a day practicing it.
8. Practice yoga
Yoga, like meditation, is also an ancient practice that helps us connect our body with our mind. Some may think it is the same as physical exercise, but it is not. It consists of postures (asanas), relaxation (savasana), meditation (dhyana), breathing (pranayama), kriyas (cleansings), mudras (energetic seals), kirtan (chants), mantra or rituals.
In addition, the practice of yoga can include a lifestyle that is committed to ethical guidelines and values based on well-being, as well as proper and healthy eating.
If you’re at work and you notice that you’re not getting any more mentally, then you may need to take a break and, for example, rest your eyes by moving away from the screen . If you are working at a computer and have been in the same position for 3 hours, you might feel mentally tired.
Don’t feel guilty and disconnect for 20 minutes, I’m sure when you come back you’ll feel better. The ideal is to disconnect 10 minutes every 45 minutes.
10. Take a vacation
If you see that your mental fatigue has turned into exhaustion, then it’s time to take a long breath , because you may be suffering from stress or burnout syndrome. It might be a good idea to take a weekend vacation in the mountains or spend the day in the country or at the beach. The goal is to relax, let your mind rest, and get your strength back.