Mental exhaustion: What are the signs?

Mental Wellbeing Zainab Sulaimon
Mental exhaustion
Photo : Pexels

Mental exhaustion, also known as Mental fatigue, is a state that an individual falls into due to an extended brain task. The individual’s intellectual faculty of thinking, reasoning, and learning becomes impaired, leaving an overwhelming and mentally drained feeling.

Mental exhaustion can be caused, majorly, by these- Poor emotional health and emotional stress; Lack of sleep; Family life; Workplace stress; and General life stress.

Cues to mental exhaustion

Bad mood:

If you notice that you are always in a sore mood, you get angry easily or you become impatient over the littlest of things, then it’s time to realize that you are mentally exhausted and you need to give yourself some space.

Little or no productivity:

When you constantly stare blankly (without achieving anything) at your computer screen, paperwork or you are constantly diverted from your train of thoughts and you lose focus on what is supposed to be done, it’s a huge sign that you need to get a lot of things off your mind.

No concentration:

Is your mind always here and there at the same time? Do you lose concentration easily? Does your mind wander far? These are pointers that your brain is exhausted and needs a break to reorganize itself.

Inability to sleep:

Insomnia is one of the easiest signs that signifies that an individual is mentally fatigued. It’s so bad that, often, some victims lose 2 or more days of sleep. This poses great harm to one’s health and help needs to be sought as soon as possible.

Develop unhealthy habits:

A mentally fatigued person tends to succumb to unhealthy habits(all of which are haram) like smoking, drinking, and some forms of addictions. If care isn’t taken, it becomes really hard to drop these habits, especially without the help of a support group.


When an individual constantly feels dejected, miserable, or in low spirits, then they have fallen into a state of depression and this is as a result of mental exhaustion. Most times, depression arises as a result of an illness or accident(whether intrapersonal or interpersonal), loss of a loved one, or a traumatizing experience. The feeling of guilt, caused by mental fatigue, hovers around the individual and they begin to harbor different thoughts. Many people fall into depression after a major life-changing event occurs.

Worry too much:

Mental exhaustion always causes your anxiety level to get heightened. You worry over the littlest of things because you constantly feel something is wrong.

Exercise begins to feel strenuous:

If exercises, which you usually do on a daily routine, begin to feel like a huge hurdle to cross and you just don’t feel like venturing on anything, then you are most likely mentally exhausted.

Unhealthy eating habits:

A person who is mentally fatigued tends to snack a lot and consume so much junk food without caring to take note of their diet. It also happens the other way around, whereby they lose their appetite completely.

Erring becomes a daily routine:

Making a lot of mistakes in your daily tasks whether at school or at home or at your workplace shows that you are fatigued mentally and you need to have a look into the situation.

Body Pain:

Mental exhaustion sometimes causes pain to the body physically and it could manifest in different forms such as headaches, stomach pain, muscle pains, and so on. If you notice this often, then you need to take more rest or try to sleep better.

What to do

  • Take breaks. If you notice any of the symptoms above, stop whatever you are doing and try to relax.
  • Take walks. Walking always clears the mind and provides you with scenery other than the four walls of your home/workplace.
  • Get active. Do other things that could sharpen your mental alertness. Play games that can heighten your mood or watch a football match.
  • Find ways to relax. Stay around things or people that make you happy. Visit family, friends or relatives. Visit hospitals or orphanages, look on the brighter side of life and be thankful for what you have.
  • Declutter your mind. Write about whatever that is bothering you or better still, keep a diary.
  • Speak to someone about what is troubling you or join a support group. This allows you to also help other people heal.
Enjoy Ali Huda! Exclusive for your kids.