How to Recognize (and Recover from) Mental Exhaustion

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. Now that we are on the downhill slide for February, spring break will be here before you know it. It’s never a bad time to plan a trip for spring break—or, you can wait until then to plan a getaway for later in the year. However you decide to do it, I hope you’ll get to take a terrific vacation. But for now, enjoy the weekend!

Quote of the week: “We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” –Jesse Owens

Joke of the week: Knock, knock! Who’s there? Snow. Snow who? It’s snow telling; I can’t remember!

Nugget of Wisdom of the week: I guess we have given up any hope for snow presently and are stuck with rainy weather. Weather is an important factor in my topic today: mental exhaustion. We have hit that time in winter that makes us all groan in one way or another.

Mental exhaustion is defined as a feeling of general tiredness that could be laced with apathy, irritability, and a belief that people are more focused on themselves than on others.

You might be thinking that you know what mental exhaustion is already, but how does it sneak up on you and stay a while? I’m glad you asked. Mental exhaustion results from experiencing long periods of stress, finding it difficult to focus on tasks, and lacking interest in activities you normally enjoy. Just like the physical exhaustion you get from overexerting your muscles, mental exhaustion is a result of overworking your mind.

The strange thing about mental exhaustion is that it bleeds over to your body. In addition to apathy, moodiness, irritability, a sense of doom, and other symptoms, your body feels tired even after a full night’s rest. You might also experience headaches, appetite changes, and even elevated blood pressure. But wait, there’s more! It even affects your behavior. You may be more forgetful…thus having less focus, staying away from friends or family members, or making decisions that are out of character for you.

So, how do we treat mental exhaustion? The cures are things we have been told numerous times, but execution of them can be tricky. If it weren’t, we could all be happy and well-rested, right?

Eliminating stressors and creating a work-life balance is a start. Reducing screen time and finding a new, positive way to distract yourself is also helpful. Next, clear your physical space (funny how we talked about that last week), take regular breaks, and get outside when you can. Do something new! Take care of yourself and focus on what YOU can control. Trying to fight losing battles can do more harm than good. And finally, know when you need to seek professional help. Your exhaustion may have turned into depression, and you need to get heavy-hitting assistance. As I always say, the world needs the best you you can be.

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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