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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

    Reference

    More by this author

    Erica Wagner

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

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It

    Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It

    “Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. However, when tiredness is persistent—when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get—it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

    While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here are some of the most common causes of fatigue.

    1. Dehydration

    If you’re asking “Why am I so tired?” and want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and it needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions[1].

    Signs of dehydration

      If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit[2]. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energizing oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

      You cannot cure this crash with caffeine; the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

      2. Lack of Exercise

      A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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      Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of your everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

      3. A Poor Diet

      The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats.

      The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

      An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by a frozen pizza or cheese sticks.

      Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

      4. Skipping Breakfast

      Eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

      Ingesting food signals to your brain that there are enough calories available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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      Some great ideas for healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

      If meal-prepping isn’t your thing, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit.

      5. Poor Quality of Sleep

      We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed, but did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is if you want to stop asking “Why am I so tired?”

      To feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

      Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time, and before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to fall asleep.

      6. Sleep Apnea

      Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while sleeping[3]. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

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      Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea

        Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels[4]. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing can be used to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

        If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

        7. Depression

        Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world, as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating that leave them asking “Why am I so tired?”

        Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling, and lifestyle changes, like stress management to help manage this condition.

        Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

        8. Hypothyroidism

        If a person has hypothyroidism, they have an underactive thyroid gland that does not produce adequate levels of important hormones, and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain, and feeling cold all the time.

        Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem, and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills. Check here for signs of a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

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        9. Anemia

        People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract, or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

        However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements, or B-12 shots. A simple blood test can tell you if you have anemia, so check in with your doctor if you suspect this.

        10. Cancer

        While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surrounding tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

        Diagnosis is usually by biopsy, and treatment often focuses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery—and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

        Final Thoughts

        If you find yourself constantly asking, “Why am I so tired?” it may be time to see your doctor to find out if any of the problems above apply to you. All of them have treatments that can help improve your quality of life and get you back to normal energy levels.

        More on Overcoming Fatigue

        Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Health Publishing: Fight fatigue with fluids
        [2] NuCara: Are You Dehydrated?
        [3] Sleep Foundation: Sleep Apnea
        [4] Very Well Health: What Is Sleep Apnea?

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