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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

6 Things You Can Do When You’re Mentally Exhausted

6 Things You Can Do When You’re Mentally Exhausted

At one point or another, we all burn out or start feeling drained. It wouldn’t be wrong to think that plopping yourself down on the couch for a few days would leave you feeling recharged. You may not know this, but physical fatigue can have more to do with feeling mentally exhausted than the exercise you’re getting that day.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to once in a while take a day, maybe even two, and give your body some time to rest away from your work life. However, it isn’t always the most effective approach when you’re feeling mentally exhausted. In fact, being a couch potato could actually result in you feeling more mentally drained.

Below I’ve listed some effective ways to recharge your mind when your emotional health starts feeling drained.

1. Change up Your Routine

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.” -Paulo Coelho

It really can be hard to not fall into a routine. Every day you’re doing the same thing over and over, but breaking up that routine can be a really good way to stop feeling mentally exhausted. Make a point to challenge yourself to do something totally new once a week.

If you’re feeling really enthusiastic, try doing something new once a day. It can be something simple. For example, instead of taking your usual way to work, take a different one that may be more scenic.

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Think about activities that make you feel good and feed your soul, and start doing them. When your mind is opened to new ways of thinking and perceiving, you tend to be much happier overall.

2. Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal is a great way to relieve stress and get it all out on paper.[1] It can be helpful down the road because it gives you the opportunity to look back and reflect on the progress you’ve made in your life, even when you were feeling mentally exhausted.

Journaling also jolts your creativity, builds confidence, boosts comprehension, and encourages you to follow through with goals. It shouldn’t be something that makes you put pressure on yourself; you don’t need to have an entry for every day either.

Write down what comes to mind, and you’ll feel such a release when you’ve finished. Make it a priority to write in your journal a few times a week. Eventually, you’ll find writing to be an outlet for recharging your brain and avoiding feeling drained.

Here’re some tips for you to kickstart journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

3. Meditate

You may have seen this one coming. There are so many articles and people out there who rant and rave about the benefits of meditation, but it truly works. Roughly 80 percent of doctor visits are for stress-related issues.

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A lot of money and time can be saved if you learn to practice self-care through meditation. It can reduce stress, boost immunity, improve sleep, and can quite possibly increase happiness.

Five minutes a day is really all you need. Over time you may find meditating more than once a day for longer periods of time is even more beneficial for your mental well-being[2].

Benefits of daily meditation when you're mentally exhausted

    As a side note, people who consistently meditate are usually more rational and feel less anxiety when they are confronted with challenges.[3] Obviously, this means it’s a great technique to avoid feeling mentally exhausted.

    If you’ve never meditated before, this article is for you: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    4. Re-evaluate Your Relationships

    Having relationships is very important, but it’s even more important to really be mindful of how healthy they are to avoid feeling mentally exhausted.

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    You may find that you have a few toxic relationships in your life. It may seem difficult to end these relationships because oftentimes you grow to be comfortable in them. Sadly, dysfunctional relationships may become a normal part of life, and you may not realize how mentally exhausting they can be.

    Take time to be mindful of all your relationships. It’s crucial to reassess and decide whether they are adding value to your life and well-being. In toxic romantic relationships, you can become mentally drained when you’re putting energy into something that just may not be right.

    People who are mindful of their relationships typically tend to be more confident in their own judgment.

    5. Get Some Exercise

    Exercise isn’t just beneficial for your overall well-being and weight loss; it’s helpful for when you’re feeling mentally drained as well. You don’t need to get a gym membership to get activity in.

    We’re all busy, but setting aside just 30 minutes a day for physical activity can really make all the difference. Multiple studies have shown the value of exercise in boosting your concentration and mental focus.[4]

    With a daily 30-minute workout, blood flow to the brain increases, you improve your mood, creativity, and memory, and falling asleep gets significantly easier. Here are 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise when you’re busy.

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    6. Ditch Your Ego

    Be mindful of your soul and do what makes you happy. This can get confused with doing something that brings you a sense of achievement. That feeling of achievement won’t always necessarily bring you joy.

    Spending a few extra hours at work to get things done can be productive, but powering through can ultimately cause you to feel mentally exhausted. Allow yourself to buy the shoes you’ve been wanting to buy for weeks, or take a spontaneous weekend trip with friends or your significant other.

    In the grand scheme of things, our time on earth really is short. Whatever it may be that you choose to do, do it because it truly brings genuine joy to your soul.

    The Bottom Line

    While lying in bed for days on end can feel like the perfect solution when you’re feeling tired and mentally exhausted, it may not be the most effective way to get back on your feet and improve your mental health. Try some of the above solutions and find what works best for you and your unique situation.

    More Tips for Energizing Your Mind

    Featured photo credit: ZACHARY STAINES via unsplash.com

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    Erica Wagner

    Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Published on June 8, 2021

    What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

    What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

    We all understand “energy” in the physical sense, and we mostly experience the feeling of having a lot or a lack of physical energy. But physical energy is very different from mental energy. So, what is mental energy?

    Mental energy is a mood and a measure of the willingness to undertake cognitive tasks. When you are experiencing an abundance of mental energy, you will feel motivated, efficient, and focused when dealing with tasks. You may feel like you can take on more and have the capacity to throw yourself into a situation without feeling stress or anxiety.

    However, unfortunately in the busyness of modern society, you may relate more to the feeling of having a lack of mental energy. Take yourself back to a situation where you are juggling lots of tasks, work is hard, and home life is emotionally exhausting. This is the feeling of a lack of mental energy. You may have felt like being on the verge of burnout, found yourself procrastinating, and had the feeling of just not having the capacity to take on any more emotional or cognitive tasks.

    You must deal with a lack of mental energy before it develops into mental exhaustion. Let us take a look at the symptoms of mental exhaustion and the toll that it can take on you as a person and your life.

    Signs of Mental Exhaustion

    Here are the mental, physical, and behavioral signs of exhaustion.

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    Mental Signs

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Lack of motivation
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Anger

    Physical Signs

    • Headache
    • Body aches
    • Change in appetite
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Increased illness

    Behavioral Signs

    • Poor performance at work
    • Social withdrawal
    • Inability to keep to commitments
    • Increased time off sick at work

    The signs of mental exhaustion are less than desirable, and you should reiterate the importance of maintaining your mental energy and do not let it be an afterthought.[1]

    How to Maintain a High Level of Mental Energy

    The maintenance of mental energy is all in the approach. We can not always control our situation or the number of tasks that we have on at a particular moment in time. However, we can control how we manage and maintain our mental health and mental energy at these times. Just as our physical energy can be maintained through various methods, so can our mental energy.

    Now, let us take a look at some of the useful methods that can help us to maintain a high level of mental energy starting from today.

    1. Get Adequate Sleep

    Sleep may sound like the most obvious method to help maintain a high level of mental energy, however, it is very important.

    There are two stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) which is the stage of sleep when you dream, and Non-REM. Non-REM can be divided into three stages, the final stage being deep sleep. The deep sleep stage is where scientists believe that your body renews and repairs itself and also the stage that is most important in terms of energy maintenance.

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    There are many ways in which you can create good sleep hygiene. These include having time away from devices before sleep, stopping caffeine intake a few hours before you plan to go to sleep, and going to sleep at the same time each evening.

    2. Structure Your Day

    Structuring your day can apply to either your home or your work life. The key is to prioritize the important tasks so that if you run out of time, you are safe in the knowledge that these have been completed. If you don’t do this, then you are at risk of overworking yourself, staying at work late, or doing household tasks into the evening.

    At home, this may be washing first or tidying the house before you sit down to have a relax. At work, you can write down a list of your tasks for the day and then, list them from the highest priority to the lowest. You can tick off each task as you go along. Any uncompleted tasks can then be transferred to the next day. Furthermore, if you are running out of time, you’ll know in advance and can delegate the priority work to ensure that this is completed on time.

    3. Eat Well

    Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating a well-balanced diet and certain foods can aid memory, concentration, and focus and thus, helping you maintain mental energy.

    Let us take a look at some foods that can do this:

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    • Wholegrains – can improve concentration and focus as it provides a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
    • Blueberries – can boost short-term memory as they contain protective compounds called anthocyanins.
    • Blackcurrants – can reduce anxiety and stress as they contain Vitamin C which is widely thought to increase mental agility.
    • Pumpkin seeds – can enhance memory and boost mood as they are rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan, which are believed to be important in serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that has a positive impact on mood.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    Going outdoors can have a restorative effect on mental health. You do not have to undertake a ten-mile walk to reap the benefits. Simply being out in the garden, going for a stroll in the countryside, or doing a brisk walk to the shop can have a positive effect on mental energy. Research has shown that spending time outdoors can relieve anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it promotes relaxation and can improve confidence and self-esteem.[2]

    5. Take a Break

    Taking a break every so often whether at work or when doing any task can maintain a high level of mental energy and focus when needed. A break can involve something as simple as walking away from your computer and changing your environment for a few minutes by going to make a cup of tea to strolling around the block on your lunch rather than staying in the office.

    This change of environment takes your mind off the task at hand, rejuvenates, and reenergizes you. Focus can then be maintained and the task at hand can be done to the best of your abilities without mental fatigue.

    6. Exercise Your Brain

    Challenging your brain does for your mind what exercise does for your body. Physical exercise can stimulate your physical energy just as exercising your brain can stimulate your mental energy.

    There are many ways to exercise your brain including:

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    • Brain training exercises can stimulate the mind and also boost intelligence.
    • Learn something new to create new challenges for your brain.
    • Socializing can stimulate multiple areas of the brain. The array of activities involved in socializing engages different areas of the brain with each activity.

    7. Meditate

    Studies of meditation have shown to have many benefits to the brain. Such benefits include an improvement in brain function and energy levels.

    One such study found that practicing meditation for just 25 minutes a day can provide this boost. This is because meditation has been found to release endorphins and increase blood flow to the brain. When meditating, you focus your attention on your breathing and the aim is to eliminate the busyness of the brain and your thoughts. This provides a much-needed rest for your brain thus increasing your mental energy levels.[3]

    Final Thoughts

    Unfortunately, a lack of mental energy is experienced by many and potentially, it is more commonly felt than the feeling of having a high level of energy. Once you spot the signs of a lack of mental energy, it is time to take action before those feelings worsen and develop into mental exhaustion.

    However, the good news is that there are basic steps that you can take to maintain a high level of mental energy, and it is just as important as maintaining a high level of physical energy. These steps can be incorporated into your daily life with minimal effort. Eat well, sleep well, get some fresh air, take a break, challenge your brain, structure your day and meditate—it is as simple as that.

    More Tips on Boosting Mental Energy

    Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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