An extended period of mental activity or performing daily tasks without any break and rest can hinder a person’s cognitive ability. The condition is also known as mental fatigue, which can last from days to years, even depending on the injury to the brain.
Mental fatigue can also happen if a person is experiencing some brain disorders such as stress, depression, or anxiety. People with mental fatigue often find it difficult to perform their daily tasks and not cope with the routine. The feeling of exhaustion further leads to damage to the personality of the person.
According to research published in the journal of Sports Medicine, mental fatigue also affects a person's physical performance. A total of eleven participants were under study, and they showed a decline in performance and greater exertion to perform a specific task.
Mental fatigue can take over the person's cognitive ability and can induce some negative feelings in them. Some of the common conditions faced by people are:
- Feeling of detachment
- Feeling trapped in a situation
- Motivational decline
Mental fatigue can also be referred to as a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion of mind. It is different from physical tiredness, but taking a break and giving rest to yourself can help overcome the condition.
Our brains require energy to think and work properly. The diet of a person can have an important role here. If your brain is not receiving adequate energy, then there are higher chances of developing mental fatigue.
Causes of Mental Fatigue
Mental fatigue can result because of several reasons. Many health conditions can become a reason for developing mental fatigue. Commonly, it is seen that a variety of factors work to develop the symptoms of mental fatigue, and so it is a combination of multiple factors and reasons.
Some of the common causes are:
1. Prolonged Working Hours
One of the most common triggers of mental fatigue is working in a stressed environment or working for longer hours. Many people take it as an achievement if they are overworking and are spending more time in their office. Prolonged working hours have become a major stressor in mental fatigue and should be avoided.
2. Long Episodes of Stress
Stress can lead to disturbing feelings in person. It can also result in mental fatigue. During episodes of stress, one cannot think properly, and most often, they rely on or emphasize one problem only, which is beyond their control. Stress can become another major reason for developing mental fatigue.
3. A Disturbed Sleeping Pattern
A good and healthy sleep makes sure that the body is working at an optimal and steady rate. If a person has some sleeping problems, it becomes difficult to concentrate and focus as per research. Eventually, the lack of concentration develops a feeling of tiredness, leading to developmental fatigue in sleep-deprived populations.
4. Lack of Motivation
Lack of motivation and not desire to accomplish a certain task is a common cause of mental fatigue. People who do not have any ambitions find themselves in a state of denial. So they are most likely to experience symptoms of mental fatigue such as hopelessness and depressive thoughts.
5. Associated Mental Disorders
According to research, it is evident that fatigue directly correlates with many mental disorders such as depression. These mental disorders have a high impact on a person and can cause mental fatigue. A combination of these two factors can result in some problems and should be dealt with effectively.
6. Food Choices
Eating junk or unhealthy food can affect the body in several ways. Using excessive alcohol and not adding enough good food to your diet can result in the symptoms of mental fatigue. Diet has an important role in giving energy to a person. An inadequate diet and lifestyle factors can affect the cognitive ability of a person.
7. Lack of Support
Receiving positive feedback and quality support sends happy signals to the brain, which helps in elevating mood and inducing good thoughts. On the contrary, if a person is unable to receive sufficient support, it can induce feelings of hopelessness which can affect the working capacity of a person.
How to Reduce Mental Fatigue?
Mental fatigue is a medical condition that can be reduced and eliminated with simple and practical therapies and techniques. Practicing good thoughts and having an active and healthy lifestyle can help you overcome this particular mental state with much ease. Some of the common effective solutions are as follows:
1. Organize Your Daily Tasks
Before starting a day, make sure to add all your tasks and to-do list in a diary. Organizing things will help you to achieve maximum productivity and work with much attention. It also helps you to keep track of your daily routine. Completing all these tasks will give you confidence which can work to eliminate mental fatigue.
2. Set Meaningful Goals
Staying hard on yourself and overworking yourself can result in mental fatigue. It is important to set realistic and meaningful goals for yourself that you can achieve with ease. Taking small steps towards success and working on each task with attention will help achieve goals and, more importantly, eliminate mental fatigue.
3. Give Yourself a Break
If you are stressing overwork and have an immediate desire to leave everything and focus on yourself, the best approach would be to go for it. Taking a break from your monotonous routine can help you to become more productive, more diligent, and a good team player in your working environment.
4. Organize Your Meals
Sometimes the problem might be the lifestyle and eating patterns you are following. It is important to take all your meals at the designated time so that your body has enough energy to work for daily tasks. Starving yourself will deprive your brain of daily energy, which can cause stress and mental fatigue.
5. Set a Working Window
Do not get overwhelmed by the work you are doing. It is important that you identify your limits and set a routine for your work. Make sure that you complete all your tasks within that particular window and do not bring any work to your home. Avoid working late at night and give yourself enough rest.
6. Take a Walk
Mental fatigue has a role in impacting the willingness to perform physical exercises, according to research. Make sure that you do not try to avoid working out and continuously make an effort to perform exercises. Taking a regular walk can fill your brain with happy thoughts and will reduce mental fatigue intensity.
7. Acquire Support
Things are better when you have some support by your side. It is better to have some people around you who can help you overcome your problem. You can deal with mental fatigue by relying on some support. Make sure to seek immediate help if symptoms persist.
8. Manage Your Sleep Cycle
A good and healthy sleep routine has shown positive associations with mental fatigue. It is necessary to manage your sleep cycle and having a quality sleep of at least eight hours. Improving your sleep cycle will positively impact your body and help in adjusting various problems and diseases.
9. Use Supplements
Our brain needs a constant supply of energy for normal and smooth functioning. Consuming supplements such as multivitamins have shown a positive result in improving brain function, according to research. Make sure to have quality supplements to fulfill the needs and requirements of your body.
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Mental fatigue is a medical condition, and if not dealt with correctly, it can turn into some major brain conditions. It is necessary to identify the symptoms of exhaustion and tiredness and then adopt a suitable treatment to work at your normal pace.
Mental fatigue is curable, and you can get yourself out of this situation with much ease. You can adopt many solutions to treat the condition, such as managing your diet and sleep cycle or taking a break from work. However, if the situation persists, it is best to consult and talk to a doctor to assess any underlying disease.
- Van Cutsem, Jeroen, et al. “The Effects of Mental Fatigue on Physical Performance: A Systematic Review.” Sports Medicine, vol. 47, no. 8, Aug. 2017, pp. 1569–88. Springer Link, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0672-0.
- Åkerstedt, T., et al. “Mental Fatigue, Work and Sleep.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 57, no. 5, Nov. 2004, pp. 427–33. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2003.12.001.
- McCallum, Sonia M., et al. “Associations of Fatigue and Sleep Disturbance with Nine Common Mental Disorders.” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 123, Aug. 2019, p. 109727. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.05.005.
- Brown, Denver M. Y., and Steven R. Bray. “Effects of Mental Fatigue on Exercise Intentions and Behavior.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 53, no. 5, Mar. 2019, pp. 405–14. Silverchair, https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay052.
- Lavidor, Michal, et al. “How Sleep Is Related to Fatigue.” British Journal of Health Psychology, vol. 8, no. 1, 2003, pp. 95–105. Wiley Online Library, https://doi.org/10.1348/135910703762879237.
- Meeusen, Romain, and Lieselot Decroix. “Nutritional Supplements and the Brain.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, vol. 28, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 200–11. humankinetics.com, https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0314.