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Last Updated on February 19, 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. 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 mental exhaustion 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. 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 drained. Below I’ve listed some effective ways to recharge your mind when it starts feeling burned out.

1. Change up Your Routine

    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 kick that mental exhaustion. Make a point to challenge yourself to do something totally new once a week.

    I mean, if you’re feeling really enthusiastic, try doing something new once a day. It can be something really simple. 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 you enjoy that really 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 really helpful down the road because it gives you the opportunity to look back and reflect on the progress you’ve made in your life.

    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, 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.

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

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    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. 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.

    As a side note, people who consistently meditate are usually more rational and feel less anxiety when they are confronted with challenges.[2]

    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.

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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 often times 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 once in a while reassess and decide whether they are adding value to your life and well-being. In toxic romantic relationships, you can become extremely 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, 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, I get it, but setting aside just 20 minutes a day can really make all the difference. Multiple studies have shown the value of exercise in boosting your concentration and mental focus.[3]

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    With a daily 20-minute intense workout, blood flow to the brain increases and you improve your mood, creativity, and memory. Here’re also 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

    6. Ditch Your Ego, Be Mindful of Your Soul

      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 really burn you out. 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.

      More About Mental Health

      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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      Last Updated on May 22, 2020

      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

      The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

      But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

      Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

      So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

      Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

      The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

      1. A Positive Attitude

      Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

      Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

      Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

      Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

      The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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      Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

      2. Confidence

      All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

      Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

      If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

      Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

      • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
      • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

      3. A Sense of Humor

      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

      As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

      Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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      Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

      4. Ability to Embrace Failure

      No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

      Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

      Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

      Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

      Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

      By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

      You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

      5. Careful Listening and Feedback

      This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

      The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

      The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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      Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

      Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

      6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

      No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

      Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

      Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

      To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

      • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
      • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

      Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

      7. Growth Mindset

      Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

      Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

      Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

      It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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      Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

      8. Responsibility

      Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

      The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

      Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

      Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

      9. A Desire to Learn

      It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

      Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

      You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

      Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

      To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

      The Bottom Line

      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

      Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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      Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

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