Since COVID-19 started, I have been working over 40 hours a week to get my work done due to bigger workloads, and tighter deadlines. During one point, I felt myself losing control of my work-life balance and caused a two-week funk. The reason? I was suffering from mental exhaustion.
Before starting WFH, I would only be busy during the first week of the month and the last week of the financial quarter. But I never feel lost or overwhelmed to the point of a mental breakdown.
While I have learned about dealing with mental health when working from home, I still find myself dealing with mental exhaustion. And unfortunately, I am not the only one. According to an article by Gallup, “nearly three in 10 millennials are very often or always burned out at work” and “about seven in 10 experience at least some burnout.”
A few reasons that workers get mentally exhausted is due to five reasons, according to another Gallup article. The five reasons are:
- Not being treated properly at work.
- Having an unachievable workload.
- Lack of work expectations.
- No communication or support from the employer.
- Extremely tight deadlines.
Personally, what causes my mental exhaustion is extremely tight deadlines. I am pretty blessed that I am treated well at work and that my expectations are reasonable. But sometimes, things just get too out of hand that I overwhelm myself to the point that I tell myself this:
I can’t do this anymore.
That is when I know I hit my breaking point.
Can you tell if you are suffering from mental exhaustion?
My work persona thinks they can do everything and achieve it. And it was why I truly thought I couldn’t be suffering from mental exhaustion because I was still functioning at max capacity.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, but I didn’t pay attention.
I slept in every single morning and found any excuse to take naps. My stomach was giving me issues. And I won’t even mention how snappy I became.
I used to blame everything on lack of sleep. I constantly suffered from insomnia, so it had to be it, right?
I had other symptoms that were telling me that there was a bigger issue at hand. Listening to my body was essential to understand what it needed so that I can start taking care of myself and getting the break I needed.
If you don’t take care of your mental exhaustion, it can turn dangerous. Listen to those early signs to help you slow down and evaluate your lifestyle. By ignoring those signs, it will not get better.
What are the symptoms?
Before I share my list of symptoms, just know that there are many others that I didn’t list. The reason is that our bodies communicate with us in different ways. We know ourselves the best so I cannot tell you what I think your body is telling you.
Lose Patience or Find Yourself Easily Irritated
I am not a patient person. I hate waiting, but I understand that being patient is part of life. Another thing is finding yourself easily irritated over small things. Both of these are important signals that you should notice. When you are suffering from mental exhaustion, you will find yourself snapping at your loved ones or colleagues over little things that usually wouldn’t have mattered otherwise.
Forgetfulness and Inability to Focus
Have you ever found yourself feeling like you can’t think anymore? When I am mentally exhausted, I find myself forgetting the tasks I need to do. Another big warning is not being able to find my words or make a complete sentence.
I suffer from insomnia. As I mentioned previously in my blog, I already suffer from the ability to sleep. But if you are usually a good sleeper, and suddenly find yourself having issues, that is a BIG SIGN. If it is taking you hours to fall asleep or you keep frequently waking up in the middle of the night, I would look to see what is causing it.
Lack of Motivation
When I am deep into my mental exhaustion, I find myself being completely unmotivated. I feel like I don’t have the drive to do the work I do and find myself just lying in bed. Another symptom that goes into this is crying. You can find yourself crying over nothing or telling yourself all these negative things. I also tend to lose my grip on reality and detached from the world.
Other symptoms that you should look forward to include anxiety or panic attacks, indigestion and stomach problems.
If you find yourself suffering from mental exhaustion, please take care of yourself and seek help when necessary. But the first step is to recognize that you are suffering.