If you frequently feel overwhelmed, burned out, and like you just can’t catch a break, you’re probably experiencing mental fatigue. Mental fatigue sets in when your brain's energy levels are tapped out. Sometimes it comes and goes. But other times it lingers, affecting your emotions, concentration, and your overall quality of life.
It’s not uncommon to experience mental fatigue. It seems that demanding lifestyles and ongoing stress are all part of the norm these days. And while it can be tempting to grab another cup of coffee and try to power through, ignoring mental fatigue can have consequences that affect your personal and professional life.
Here’s how to tell if you’re mentally fatigued and what you can do about it.
8 signs you’re mentally fatigued
- You’re impatient and irritable. Mental fatigue can wreak havoc on your mood, making you short-tempered and snappy. As a result, your personal and professional relationships can suffer.
- You feel overwhelmed. When you’re mentally fatigued, even the smallest of demands can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This triggers a fight or flight response, which means using up even more mental energy.
- You lack motivation. Lacking motivation is far more complex than simply feeling lazy. When you’re mentally fatigued, it’s very difficult to motivate yourself to do even simple things.
- You zone out. If you find yourself zoning out regularly, it could be a sign that your brain is in overload. And while occasionally zoning out is harmless, it can also slow your reaction time. This can make certain situations — like driving a vehicle — dangerous.
- You snack more. Your brain requires a high amount of energy to function. And a fatigued brain could try to get a quick burst of energy by causing cravings. And those cravings are usually salty, sweet, or fatty foods.
- You neglect yourself. When mental fatigue becomes ongoing, you can easily slip into a pattern of self-neglect. While this can manifest in different ways, you could find yourself unable or unwilling to take care of your own needs.
- You struggle with decisions. Making decisions, day in and day out, can feel exhausting as it is. But when you’re mentally fatigued, it can impede your ability to make good decisions — or even any decision at all.
- You lack focus. When you’re mentally fatigued, you are far less alert than usual. Staying focused becomes a challenge, even when it comes to simple routines and everyday tasks.
How to beat mental fatigue
If more than a few of those signs rang true for you, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with mental fatigue. Here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to beat mental fatigue.
Be true to yourself and learn to say “no”
It’s so hard to say no. But when you say yes to everything, you end up filling your day with obligations that don’t match your true priorities. And nothing causes mental fatigue faster than being stretched too thin because you don’t feel comfortable saying “no” to requests and obligations.
Take your power back by picking and choosing what you need and want to do. Start small and practice saying “no” firmly and with love. One of the best ways to take care of your mental health and reverse mental fatigue is by setting boundaries and being true to yourself.
Bring joy back into your life
When you’re feeling mentally fatigued and overwhelmed, one of the first things to suffer is your own joy. But focusing on yourself and bringing the joy back into your life is key to bringing your life back into balance.
Carve out a little me-time each day. Make a plan to spend an hour or more just doing whatever you need to nourish your soul. And then stick to it. Whether that’s taking a steamy bath with candles and oils or meeting up for coffee with a close friend. Joy is different for everyone. Commit to finding yours.
Get mentally fit
When it comes to mental fitness, there’s a clear mind/body connection. How you care for your body affects your mental fitness, which means it’s time to prioritize sleep and movement.
First, don’t cut back on sleep trying to fit in everything that needs to be done in the day. Studies suggest that not getting enough sleep is linked to frequent mental distress. Commit to getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to stay mentally fit.
Second, reboot your brain with exercise. It’s important to move your body with intention every day. If you’re suffering from brain fog at work, take a break and go for a walk outside. Not only will this relieve your stress but also provide a little mental clarity.
Eat a brain-boosting diet
While it’s common to crave sugary, processed foods when you’re feeling mentally fatigued, it’s important to feed yourself foods that actually nourish the brain. A brain-boosting diet supports both short- and long-term brain functions.
One of the best nutrients for brain health are omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseed oil, walnuts, and chia seeds. Omega-3s are shown to increase blood flow to the brain. Better blood flow means that your brain is getting more oxygen. And more oxygen creates a sharper brain.
Treat your brain dark chocolate
Everyone knows chocolate is incredibly delicious. But when it’s sourced correctly, it is also incredibly healthy for your brain. One study on dark chocolate found that eating 70 percent organic cacao was best for boosting brain health.
Cacao contains flavonoids, which are a type of antioxidant that helps combat the oxidative stress that can lead to age-related decline and disease. But the key is to choose your chocolate wisely.
Focus Chocolate Bliss Bites
Focus Chocolate Bliss Bites are 72-percent organic, fair-trade cacao, and can help support your cognitive function.*
Plus, each delicious bite has been infused with:
- MCT oil
- Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
This special Ayurvedic blend helps to support brain function by enhancing concentration and mental clarity.*
By implementing healthy boundaries, taking time for self care, and enjoying a delicious square of Focus Chocolate Bliss Bites, you’ll be able to banish mental fatigue in no time! *
Click below to try Focus Chocolate Bliss Bites for yourself!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.