You can often alleviate physical exhaustion with rest. However, only lifestyle changes and easing stress will help when you’re mentally exhausted. You might experience mental fatigue when you’ve been strong for way too long.

Your mind can only handle so much stress and pressure before it cracks. The brain was created with the ability to know when enough is enough, and it will go into shutdown mode to protect itself. Have you ever got a virus on your computer?

The computer will go into safe mode when something isn’t right. It does this to protect itself from further damage, and your brain does the same thing. It’s trying to minimize the damage brought on by the constant mental exhaustion.

According to Harvard Health, stress most impacts your brain’s prefrontal cortex. Additionally, experts here have found that those with prolonged periods of stress have a greater risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ten Things That Cause Mental Fatigue

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you might experience a loss of focus and overwhelming exhaustion. Here are ten things that cause your mind to be tired and ways you can fix these issues.

mental fatigue

1. Prolonged Periods of Stress Cause Exhaustion

Your brain is hard-wired to react with an internal system to protect you from danger. When your body senses a threat, it goes into fight or flight mode. Inside, your body releases stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. The burst of these chemicals helps people do things they usually couldn’t accomplish.

One such instance happened to Zac Clark in 2019. According to CNN, the teen was at home in Butler, Ohio, when he heard a woman call for help. Upon further examination, Clark realized that a Volkswagen Passat had fallen on the woman’s husband.

The car weighed about 3,500 pounds and rested on the man’s head and ribs. Clark went into superhero mode and lifted the front of the vehicle enough so that the lady could help her husband slide to safety. There’s no way this teenager could have done that without the surge of adrenaline running through his body.

The same surging hormones might be helpful, but when there’s no imminent danger, they can be harmful. What happens if you’re driving up mountains and must constantly be accelerating? You’re going to use more gas than if you’re using the cruise or coasting.

Your body does the same thing. When you’re using the “accelerator” and going through life in high gear, you will burn more energy, which makes it easy to become fatigued.

How to Fix It:

There’s no easy fix for stress, but finding coping mechanisms is the best way to combat this issue. Knowing your limits is an excellent place to start. Learning to say no and setting healthy boundaries will help you from reaching the burnout point.

2. Chronic Health Issues Can Cause Mental Fatigue

Dealing with chronic health issues is a significant struggle. You don’t feel well, and your questions about tomorrow keep you from living as you want. Mental fatigue can come because of a physical problem too. It’s not your fault you’re sick or have ongoing health issues, but you must cope with the exhaustion and loss of focus these problems bring.

How to Fix It:

Join a support group of people going through common issues. Hearing the story of others and how they overcome can be uplifting. Developing a solid support unit gives you people to call when your illness affects your ability to thrive.

3. Sleep Loss Contributes to Mental Fatigue and Physical Exhaustion

You know that you need to get six to eight hours of sleep, but it’s often challenging to get rest when you’re busy or stressed. Did you know that you will perish quicker from a lack of sleep than from food deprivation? According to Fatigue Science, your body’s immunity is threatened when you go for long periods without rest.

After 36 hours of no sleep, you will experience a loss of focus, hallucination, and delusions, and your organs will be impacted. Ironically the CDC did a study that found that one-third of the American population doesn’t get at least seven hours of nightly sleep.

How to Fix It:

Mental fatigue from lack of sleep needs to be investigated. You may have an underlying issue causing insomnia. Things like sleep apnea can affect your ability to get quality rest.

4. Relationships Struggles May Increase Exhaustion

Negative interactions within your relationships can weigh on your mind if you’re having trouble getting along with others. It can cause you not to get sufficient rest and keep you in high anxiety.

How to Fix It:

People often hang onto unhealthy relationships because they’re scared to leave. The exhaustion that toxic people cause in your life can be detrimental. Try to get counseling to help heal the rifts in your relationship, and if counseling doesn’t work, know when to cut your losses and leave.

5. Poor Work and Life Balance Creates Mental Fatigue

Americans work way too much. According to a study conducted at The University of Texas at Austin, thirty percent of Americans work 45 or more hours weekly. Considering that France’s citizens average only thirty hours, it seems like the people in this country need to work less and enjoy life more.

A poor work/life balance can significantly affect your ability to thrive. Not only does your body feel the exhaustion from being overworked, but your mind feels it too.


How to Fix It:

Working fewer hours is hard when you have bills and responsibilities. However, do you need that luxury car and a large home? Scaling back your priorities and living rather than working all the time can change your life.

6. Not Eating Properly

Food is fuel. If you put the cheapest gas in your car, you’re not going to get nearly the performance you would if you run on high octane. The same things happen in your body. When you fill up on junk food, fast food burgers, and processed products, you cause great distress to your body.

How to Fix It:

Switching to a healthy whole food diet can make all the difference in the world. You’ll notice a huge difference when you eat simple carbs instead of complex ones. You’ll have more energy, improving your loss of focus, and your exhaustion will decrease.

7. Depression and Anxiety

When it comes to mental fatigue, depression and anxiety are significant issues. When you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, you cannot control the amount of stress and sadness you feel. Some situations can be circumstantial, but others require a more hands-on approach.

How to Fix It:

Stress is a part of life, but you can help to ease some of the anxiety you feel by doing meditation. One of the best ways to help with mental fatigue and life cares is to have a healthy outlet. Meditation and yoga can help you purge the stress you pick up from the day. Many herbs, like St. John’s Wart and chamomile, can also be beneficial.

8. Mental Fatigue Can Stem From Financial Distress

Everyone has bills, and financial struggles are a significant component of mental fatigue. Not having enough to cover your accounts is a great struggle.

How to Fix It:

Don’t be afraid to take risks and find another job. Just because you’ve been at a place of employment for many years doesn’t mean anything if it’s not making enough to cover your expenses. Scale back your costs and if that doesn’t help, then look for a new job or second source of revenue.

9. Lack of Social Support

Mental fatigue is inevitable if you don’t have proper social support. Life is lonely when you don’t have a perfect inner circle that you can call on in times of trouble. The exhaustion you feel may be due to having the proper support in your life.

How to Fix It:

If the friends you currently have are dragging you down, it’s time to make some new ones. Relatives are a part of your life you can’t change, but no one says you need to be around people who don’t support you. Find some quality folks that are your cheerleaders as it makes going through life more manageable.

10. Job Dissatisfaction

According to a study cited by the Los Angeles Times, 70 percent of Americans aren’t happy in their jobs. Job dissatisfaction can be a big part of your mental fatigue and overall exhaustion. If you struggle to drag yourself out of bed to go to a job you can’t stand, it’s no wonder you have a loss of focus when you’re at work.

How to Fix It:

Find something to do that you love, and you will never feel like you’re working. Life is way too short to be in a career field that doesn’t make you happy. If you need to go back to school to further your education, make sacrifices to better yourself. Your happiness affects your overall well-being, so it’s time to make some hard choices.

mental fatigue

Final Thoughts on Reducing Mental Fatigue and the Physical Exhaustion It Causes

Do you suffer from exhaustion, a loss of focus, chronic depression, and anxiety? It could be that your mental fatigue is overwhelming you to the point where your brain is overloaded. The ten most common reasons for exhaustion are listed above, but it’s the fixes that you need to focus on.

Start living your best life possible by fixing your work-to-life balance, getting sufficient rest, eating right, and surrounding yourself with people who cheer you on to win. You will find that when you use coping mechanisms, it will improve your mental and physical well-being.