Anxiety & Stress, General, How to's, Self-Care

How to notice mental exhaustion

Mental health problems can occur to any of us who experience long-term stress. It can make you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and of the responsibilities and challenges as it seems impossible to overcome. 

Feelings of detachment and apathy may result in all of the aspects of your personal and professional life. 

You may feel trapped in any current situation, and as if forced to do something about it, it is out of your hands, but you can overcome the mental exhaustion and with a little bit of help. 

Mental exhaustion symptoms

Mental exhaustion caused a depletion of both the physical and emotional symptoms. It can also affect your behavior that others will be aware of before you do it. 

The symptoms of mental exhaustion can vary from one person to another and will often start gradually, creeping up on you during times of extreme stress. As the pressure continues to weigh on you, and you may reach a point where you feel like you’re in a black hole, no way out of insight. 

Many people say it’s a “burn-out,” even though the medical term does not officially recognize it. 

Even if you’re not experiencing signs and symptoms, it is essential to recognize that these symptoms may indicate that you are on the path to mental exhaustion or burn-out.

Emotional signs:

Emotional signs of mental exhaustion include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cynicism or pessimism
  • Apathy (feeling of not caring)
  • Detachment
  • Feeling of dread
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decline in productivity
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anger
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Physical signs:

  • Physical signs of mental exhaustion may include:
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Increased illness, such as colds and flu
  • Body aches
  • Chronic fatigue

Behavioral signs:

Your mental exhaustion could cause you to behave in ways that are out of character for you. Behavioral signs may include:

  • Shouting in sick to work or school more often
  • Poor performance at work
  • Inability to keep personal or work commitments
  • Social withdrawal or isolation

Stress vs. mental exhaustion:

Stress is something very panic that everyone experiences at different phases of life. This is our body’s natural response to positive and negative situations that are new and interesting or a problem. 

This organic reaction, leading to an increase in stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This increase of hormones helps us respond quickly to threats and high-pressure situations requiring quick thinking. So the next time the power is turned off, your body will return to normal. 

Mental illness is often the result of long-term stress. If you constantly have to deal with the things that make your body respond to stress, your cortisol levels remain high. In the end, it begins to interfere with normal body functions such as sleep, digestion, and the immune system.

Physical exhaustion vs. mental exhaustion

The signs of physical exhaustion are shown with your body’s tired look. When mental tiredness is mostly associated with headache and procrastination or the opposite – with overworking yourself.

At the same time, mental problems can deliver physical sickness and it works both ways.

Exhaustion, that is, is an extreme state of absolute fatigue, allowing you to be physically tired. It is a side effect that can be caused by mental exhaustion. A 2017 review of 11 studies found that mental exhaustion reduces physical performance and can even perform simple tasks or exercises that are much more physically strenuous and challenging.

Mental exhaustion causes

The terms “inner” and “burn-out” refer to excessive strain and stress in the workplace. Mental well-being may be associated with a more extended period of constant pressure in every area of your life. 

While the cause of mental exhaustion is not the same for everyone, some are more common than others. You could also check your case of why you’re mentally and emotionally or physically exhausted.

Typical causes of mental exhaustion are following:

  • Highly pressured occupations, such as emergency responders or teachers
  • Working long hours.
  • Job dissatisfaction.
  • Living with a chronic illness.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Financial stress and poverty.
  • Having a baby.
  • Poor work-life balance.
  • Lack of social support.
  • Being a caregiver for an ill and aging loved-one

Treating and coping with mental exhaustion

There are lifestyle changes plus techniques you can use at home to assist you to cope with stress which alleviates the other symptoms of psychic exhaustion.

Remove the stressors:

It is not always possible to eliminate the source of stress, but it is the best way to deal with it. 

If you are overwhelmed by your responsibilities at home and work, consider asking for help in the tasks to delegate some of your duties to others. 

With the collection and the help of a professional, you will find another way to ease the pressure of work, such as delayed care or personal support to the employee and to care for a loved one. Babysitting/child services, laundry, and carrying out other responsibilities that may be provided. 

Take a break:

Time to rest and restore is an essential part of the treatment of mental exhaustion. This may indicate an extended stay, an increase in your schedule for a few days, or even just lending yourself to a little bit of time every day. 


It’s hard to find the motivation to exercise, even on a good day, but exercise has many proven health benefits for physical and emotional health. Moreover, you don’t have to engage in complex or high-intensity activities to reap the benefits. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, is more than enough. 

In 2010, a cross-sectional study of 533 Swiss police officers and first responders found that exercise has been linked to the development of health promotion and protection and stress-related health problems. 

Study participants will also feel better equipped to deal with chronic stress. According to the results, light exercise will be better for reducing stress than an intense workout.

Other proven benefits of exercise include:

  • Lowered stress levels.
  • Improved mood.
  • A more robust immune system.
  • Reduced anxiety.

Dealing with it may be exhausting itself and if you’re not satisfied with the results it’s highly recommended to find professional help online or offline. Taking care of your mental health is one of your top life priorities. Remember to stay true to yourself!