How To Treat Mental Fatigue

In today's modern world, it's common for the average person to be busy for most of their waking hours. In addition to a forty-hour workweek, there's also commuting, shopping, taking care of household chores, and making time for friends and family. This often means individuals forget to take care of themselves and taking breaks may be left by the wayside. But failing to take care of oneself can lead to mental fatigue, which occurs when individuals go through periods of prolonged cognitive activity without giving their brain a rest. This can cause individuals to feel mentally and emotionally drained, not to mention overwhelmed. The typical symptoms of mental fatigue include stress eating, loss of appetite, insomnia, lack of motivation, and a feeling of being mentally blocked.

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Take More Breaks

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One of the most surefire ways to help treat mental exhaustion is to take more breaks. If individuals push themselves beyond their capacity to focus, all they'll do is make their brain more tired and fatigued. Individuals may think taking a fifteen-minute break is wasting time, but multiple studies have shown taking a fifteen or twenty-minute nap is an effective way for individuals to recharge their batteries so they can concentrate for longer. Individuals who take breaks during the day are more likely to end the day feeling both productive and awake instead of frazzled. If individuals feel like they're reaching the point of mental blockage, they should try stepping away from their work for a little while. They can stretch, walk around, or even close their eyes for a bit. When individuals give their brain a break from the work, it's much easier to return to. It's a similar principle to taking breaks between reps when getting physical exercise. By resting their body, individuals are giving themselves a chance to recover.

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Get Some Exercise

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Another one of the most common and easy ways to help mental fatigue is to get some exercise. Many Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle, which means they rarely get any exercise. They often wake up, drive to work, sit in an office all day, drive home, sit on the couch, and then go to bed. There's not enough walking or physical activity in this routine to meet the human body's needs. It's important to note not everyone will be able to exercise; for example, if individuals have a condition that causes exercise intolerance, they'll need to work with a doctor to find the activity levels that are most beneficial for them. However, if they can exercise, a little exercise is better than none at all. The average adult should get at least thirty minutes of exercise three times a week. But if someone is completely sedentary, working up to this can be hard, so they should start small. For instance, they can get up and take a walk around their office building. They should also consider taking small walks on weekends. Individuals shouldn't push themselves, but let their body move just enough to overcome the mental exhaustion.

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Ask For Help

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This solution may sound simple, but it's one many individuals struggle the most with: ask for help. If individuals feel like they're struggling with more than they can handle in their life, it's okay for them to reach out to others. Maybe they don't have time to do the housework when they get home from work. If that's the case, they can ask family members to pitch in more. Maybe they're taking on more than they can handle at work, in which case they should find out if they can delegate any tasks to coworkers or rearrange their schedule. Individuals should also make time for themselves. If they spend all their time helping others, and they aren't taking care of themselves, they'll end up strung-out and exhausted. Humans are social and adaptable creatures, so it's important to have a support network of family, friends, and helpful coworkers. No one can do everything alone. Even if someone can't help with a physical task, individuals can ask for emotional support where needed.

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Get More Sleep

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If individuals feeling exhausted and drained every day, even just mentally, one excellent remedy to help take away some of this fatigue is to get more sleep. Twenty percent of Americans say they get less than six hours of sleep a night. This is alarming, as chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to higher risks of cardiovascular disease and higher mortality rates. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. If individuals are averaging eight hours of sleep per night and still feeling fatigued during the day, including when it's mental fatigue, it might be time for them to talk to their doctor. They may have a sleep disorder or be suffering from depression or another physical condition that causes fatigue. Many individuals who work forty hours a week deprive themselves of sleep so they have more time to themselves. But making the time for sleep is the better choice for an individual's physical and mental health in the long run.

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Practice Yoga

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One tip for treating mental fatigue found in many self-help books and self-care blogs is to practice yoga. This pastime is meant to help individuals relax and get them in touch with their body and mind. Yoga can indeed be very helpful for mental fatigue, but individuals need to know where to begin. First, they should always make sure to take things slowly. Like with exercise, the body needs time to get used to yoga. If the stretches and positions cause pain, individuals should make them less intense. A variety of specific yoga stretches are meant to help alleviate fatigue in both the mind and body. Individuals can find yoga instructional videos online that will take them through different poses and explain how to do them. Adding ten minutes of yoga to their morning routine can be a great way for individuals to center themselves and prepare for the day ahead.

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    Katherine MacAulay