How many times have you found yourself thinking “I didn’t get anything done yesterday, and today I’m finishing what I didn’t do yesterday”?
Hopefully not too many to count. But for myself, I know there have been a few times I have had this thought as I found myself taking a large deep breath and letting out a noticeable, loud sigh.
As much as we try our best to stay on top of things, there is always going to be something new or something we forgot to do that makes our To-Do-List continuously grow.
It’s important to set aside a few moments, if not a few hours, to take care of ourselves. We very often put ourselves on autopilot without realizing how important it is to take a mindful moment. We need to recognize that we may be needlessly challenging ourselves by overextending our capabilities and resources to support a laundry list of things to do. The ongoing pressure and high levels of stress that comes from us compounding responsibilities at work and at home can contribute to developing emotional fatigue.
Anyone can be at-risk of experiencing emotional or mental fatigue.
Emotional and mental fatigue is most common among those:
- Who have demanding jobs
- Individuals going through major life changes
- Individuals living with a chronic illness and/or financial stress
Emotional or mental fatigue happens when an individual is unable to enjoy aspects of living, which can progress to include physical manifestations of mental and emotional issues.
Some of the signs in which you may be experiencing emotional or mental fatigue include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of creativity
- Mood changes that may manifest as increased anger, pessimism, panic attacks, or apathy
- There are also physical symptoms of feeling weak, headaches, dizziness, or appetite changes as well as sleep disturbances.
As a result of these symptoms, you may experience:
- A decline in work performance
- Less enthusiasm for work
- Feeling overwhelmed with work tasks
- Withdrawing socially
- Having a negative attitude about the future
- Finding it harder to connect and interact with others
So how do we manage emotional or mental fatigue? Keep reading for some helpful tips below!
How to manage mental or emotional fatigue:
1. Acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge!
Most individuals pretend that everything is going okay. But as we know, denial does not help the situation. Acknowledging that we are emotionally or mentally fatigued or are even experiencing a higher-than-normal level of stress, puts us in a better position to manage it.
2. Pick a high frequency behavior
A high frequency behavior is a behavior we do multiple times in a day. This could be looking at our phones, the clock, emails, etc. Pair a deep breathing exercise with the high frequency behavior you are choosing to focus on. This way you are taking a mindful moment to put your mind and body in a more relaxing state.
3. Focus on living a healthier lifestyle
Listen to your body. Get rest when you feel tired, do activities that increase your mood, and eat when you feel hungry. It is also okay to spoil yourself occasionally with a trip (or two) to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks or to binge watch your favorite television series (hint: mine are Ozarks, Breaking Bad, and The Sinner).
4. Change how you think about what you are doing
Our current thought patterns contribute to our emotional and mental fatigue. Learn to identify those unhelpful thoughts that cause unnecessary stress that put you in a bad mood. Then begin to replace them with more helpful narratives. To reduce stress, work on being kinder to yourself, letting go of any perfectionist tendencies, and being less critical of yourself and others.
5. Take time to find something new for you to do that will give you a renewed sense of emotional well-being and give your phone a break
A few ideas that might give you that jump start you are needing or looking for:
- Yoga class
- Origami class
- Chunky blanket knitting
- Terrarium workshop
- Deskercise class (Yes, this is an actual thing)
Bottom line, please take care of you! Be kind to yourself and remember to enjoy life to its fullest. The only way we can do this is to take care of ourselves and learn how to manage mental or emotional fatigue. We are here to help. Call Family Counseling Service at 630-844-2662 or contact us online to schedule individual therapy and give yourself permission to take care of yourself.