Why Am I Always So Tired And Have No Energy – Everyone knows the feeling of exhaustion after a long day’s work. Heavy eyebrows, a foggy mind, and a longing for the warmth and comfort of our home. But what happens when each passing week leaves you feeling more exhausted than the next? Maybe you’re facing a to-do list you can’t seem to keep up with, high-pressure deadlines that keep piling on, or even a few personal life curveballs to top it all off.
If you’re struggling to shake the stress, and you feel perpetually drained every day – chances are you’re experiencing mental exhaustion.
- 1 Why Am I Always So Tired And Have No Energy
- 2 Symptom Normalization And The Harm That It Brings. Debilitating Fatigue Is Not
Why Am I Always So Tired And Have No Energy
High-stress periods kill you mentally and emotionally, and an exhausted brain can make everyday life much more challenging. You may have difficulty concentrating on simple tasks, feel moody and irritable, or suddenly see your day-to-day responsibilities as massive undertakings.
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Unfortunately, mental fatigue is not an uncommon side effect of today’s demanding hustle culture. Nearly half of US workers feel mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day, and 41% feel burned out by their work. As of October 2022, the average burnout rate is 60.2% across departments—that’s over half of the workforce burned out. The numbers are highest among the millennials and Gen Z generations, who seem to be struggling the most to balance both the increasing workloads and overwhelming societal expectations on them.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to overcome these mental health symptoms—and to develop habits to prevent this type of burnout in the future. In this post, we will explain what mental exhaustion is, the main causes and symptoms, and share 9 useful tips for preventing and overcoming it in your personal and work life.
Mental exhaustion, or mental fatigue, is a chronic state of brain stress due to intense cognitive activity. This can leave you feeling extremely physically tired, as your brain has undergone severe mental energy and strain.
How is mental exhaustion different from everyday stress or job burnout? While stress, job burnout and mental exhaustion often overlap and contribute to one another – mental fatigue, also known as cognitive dulling, is characterized as a general and chronic mental health condition. To put it simply, stress is generally temporary, and burnout is a state of mental exhaustion that is specific to work. Mental exhaustion has many similar symptoms to the burnout workplace phenomenon, although it can be caused by both work and non-work stressors.
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Mental exertion (and exhaustion) is not the same as physical fatigue. We can eventually wear out our brains when we push ourselves too hard and too long with cognitively and emotionally demanding tasks. A mentally exhausted brain will try to stay in survival mode, but without recovery, will become overwhelmed beyond its cognitive capacity. This can lead to our simplest daily functions becoming unmanageable. Just as you will rest sore legs and depleted energy stores after running a marathon, you also need to let your brain recover after prolonged exposure to intense mental stress.
Starting to recover as you are experiencing mental exhaustion? Let’s go through the common symptoms of mental and emotional exhaustion, and the key factors that may be contributing to your brain fatigue.
Mental exhaustion is typically caused by prolonged exposure to stress. This can result from both personal or professional stressors including an increased cognitive load (such as more work responsibilities due to the big resignation), dealing with a profound personal experience (such as losing a loved one) or decreased resources (such as lack of sleep or personal time). ). The brain becomes overworked from constantly having to be attentive and can shut down – leaving you feeling drained and overwhelmed.
Although these are the main causes of mental fatigue, this is not an exhaustive list. In fact, anything that causes consistent emotional or mental stress can lead to an exhausted brain.
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If you think you have mental fatigue, look back at recent changes in your life that may be contributing to your stress. Some questions to ask yourself – Have I gone through any major life changes in the last three months? How many responsibilities and commitments did I fit on my plate? Is my current routine sustainable long term, or am I overworked? Have I neglected any healthy habits or do I need to prioritize them?
As mental fatigue starts to creep in after extended exposure to chronic stress or emotional overwhelm, your brain eventually becomes too tired to function properly – affecting your well-being, productivity, memory and decision-making skills in all areas of your life.
In your professional life, mental exhaustion makes it much more challenging to stay motivated at work, focused on tasks, and able to achieve your team’s goals – leading to even more work-related stress.
In your personal life, mental fatigue can cause strain in your relationships due to irritability and mood instability, health problems from unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking or drugs, and increased feelings of anxiety and depression. Of course, this only creates more emotional stress in a vicious cycle – leaving you feeling lost or numb about your life and withdrawn from friends and family, further worsening the situation.
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Mental exhaustion can be different in everyone, but here are the 10 most common symptoms to look for:
Mental exhaustion symptoms can dramatically affect both your professional and personal life, which is why you need to recognize changes in your feelings and behavior – especially in times of stress. At the first sign of the symptoms, assess your situation and apply the necessary treatment to help your tired brain. Mental fatigue is no joke – if you are in the depths right now, you know
If you have a lot of the red-flat symptoms, it’s time to take a look at how to overcome your mental fatigue.
In order to make real improvements to your well-being, you need permanent healthy lifestyle changes – not a quick fix. While taking a short vacation may buy you a few more weeks, it’s only a matter of time before you end up in the same position if you don’t make real healthy changes to your weekly routine. Overcoming mental exhaustion requires adopting long-term positive habits.
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Rest is critical – so don’t wait until you’re already stressed and overrun! If you can, use your vacation time to schedule some R&R, or be intentional about making time to (really!) relax on your days off, nights, and weekends. In a world that is go-go-go all the time, it can be hard to just relax.
Relax by doing a digital detox, practice mindfulness, or take a well-deserved afternoon on the couch to watch TV, start a new book, or do nothing.
Just like rest, all sleep is not created equal! Getting in your 7+ hours a night is a great start, but implementing better sleep hygiene into your routine allows you to make the most of your sleep and maximize brain restoration.
Adopting a consistent bedtime and wake time, unplugging from electronics 30 minutes before bed, and using a comfortable mattress and pillow will allow you to enjoy healthier sleep and regenerate your body and mind to perform at their best.
Why Am I So Tired On My Days Off?
While stress can make us reach for unhealthy snacks to comfort ourselves, eating for your brain health is key to maintaining a happy and healthy cognitive function. Incorporating foods specifically rich in omega-3s and flavonoids has actually been proven to reduce brain fog!
So instead of grabbing a bag of greasy potato chips, try some dark leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, or healthy snacks like salmon, walnuts, dark chocolate, fresh berries or citrus fruit.
Feeling overwhelmed by the clutter? A neat, organized environment reduces anxiety, improves your self-esteem and makes you feel more in control.
Take some time to clean up your home and work spaces – especially if you spend the majority of your day working remotely or in a hybrid work setup. Clean your most frequented areas like your desk, bedroom and kitchen (even a little) to improve your overall mindset.
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While regular rest is important, don’t let that be your excuse for avoiding physical movement. Exercise reduces your stress-induced fight or flight response, regulates your emotions, lowers anxiety and depression, improves memory, and boosts your mood.
And it doesn’t have to be an intense workout (unless you want to!) – just 10 minutes a day can positively affect your mental health. For example, getting outside for a brisk walk on your lunch break will get your endorphins flowing and also give you a serotonin-boosting dose of vitamin D from the sun. Bonus – if there are trees or animals to look at, both can lift your mood and reduce stress!
What is the best way to get something done? Give it to a busy person. Except, in all likelihood, that busy person is you, and you don’t have the time! But without defending your time on the calendar, there’s nothing to stop people from stealing it from you
So how do you set boundaries in your calendar? Start time blocking your own priorities. Create time blocks for all the tasks you want to accomplish this week, your regular habits like lunch, planning or exercise, and even
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