Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (2023)

We can often feel tired and overwhelmed when we've done a lot or even when we haven't done much and still feel exhausted. Many different things can make us feel physically and mentally exhausted. Mental burnout occurs when we put too much stress on our brain and become too exhausted and unenthusiastic about things we would normally enjoy. Physical exhaustion occurs when our bodies are overworked and can start to feel tired and sore.

In our previous blog on the mental impact food has on us, we covered how a poor diet can affect us mentally and drain our energy.(How food can affect us mentally)

However, there are ways to manage your health if you suffer from mental and/or emotional exhaustion. This blog will cover; What is mental and emotional exhaustion, the process of recovering from mental exhaustion, and physical versus mental exhaustion.

Afterwards, proceed to look; What to do if you are always mentally exhausted, the causes of mental exhaustion and how to reduce mental exhaustion.

Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (1)

What is mental and emotional exhaustion?

Mental and emotional exhaustion will make you feel constantly tired and exhausted. After long periods of physical activity in which our bodies can start to feel tired and sometimes even immense tension in our bodies, where we feel physically like muscle pain, the comparison is the same for our brains when we mentally overload ourselves without the proper breaks. and free time.

A long period of mental stress will put a lot of pressure on our minds and emotions. Leaving us feeling mentally and emotionally drained.

What is 'Burnout'?

Burnout is a term that refers to a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress, either in your work life or at home.

Common signs of feeling exhausted would be feelings; tired or exhausted most of the time, helpless or stuck, isolated or alone, doubtful or feeling constantly overwhelmed.

It's not uncommon to experience mental fatigue from time to time and the same goes for mental fatigue. Probably everyone experiences mental breakdown at least once in their life.


Recovery from mental exhaustion

Unfortunately, for many people who need to recover from mental breakdown, this is only necessary when they reach that stage where it is essential. That's why it's so important that we all understand the signs in ourselves and our employees to help ensure it doesn't get to that stage. Having good mental health strategies and processes in place can help reduce the chance of mental burnout, particularly by ensuring you have enough free time to fully rest and time in your daily work life to ensure activities that rest your brain and enjoy it. are programmed in

Especially as Covid and so many have to take on additional tasks, facing the unknown and with the increasing stress that comes with it, many suffer from mental exhaustion.

It is critical that recovery begins as soon as possible to ensure the best outcome. It can take anywhere from 11 weeks to a year to recover.

Tips for recovering from mental exhaustion:

  • Identify what is creating this stress.

    (Video) The 5 Types of Tiredness

  • Build a support network

  • get enough exercise

  • talk to your manager

  • Learn stress management techniques.

  • Make time for yourself by doing something you find relaxing.

  • Write how you feel and recent events

  • Good self-care, whether it's a relaxing bath or a visit with friends.

  • We often find that when we take care of ourselves, we feel better about ourselves.

  • Our stay positive blog has great self-care tips(stay positive)

And the biggest one: remember that mental breakdown can happen to anyone, and don't dwell on it when you know you're struggling. It will just catch up with you and be more intense and take longer to recover.

Just because mental illnesses aren't visible, don't ignore them, as recovering from mental exhaustion is just as important as allowing your body to recover from a broken arm.


We should always treat our mental health as important as our physical health. As with anything, if it's too much, you shouldn't suffer alone and see a doctor. Although it is not a visible condition, mental exhaustion is still as serious as any physical condition.

Being mentally exhausted is nothing to be ashamed of as everyone goes through it at least once in their lifetime. The best we can do is be attentive and try to resolve it as soon as possible.


Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (2)
(Video) 6 Signs You Are Emotionally And Mentally Exhausted

physical exhaustion mental exhaustion

Physical and mental burnout are not the same and affect our bodies in completely different ways. Just as the causes that lead us to physical exhaustion will be completely different from the cause that leads us to mental exhaustion. Both psychic and mental exhaustion often go hand in hand, which means that one can lead to the other. However, the causes of each can differ.

physical exhaustion

A person who is physically exhausted may still be mentally alert just physically tired. However, physical exhaustion can still lead to mental exhaustion. For example, an athlete who has a strict training schedule may start to feel physically exhausted if there is too much stress on their body. It leads to you feeling mentally drained from the pressure of keeping up with your routine.

People who feel physically tired may want to see how they can reduce the stress placed on their bodies.

mental exhaustion

Some examples that can lead to mental exhaustion:

  • Overwork without adequate breaks

  • Caring for your own family and having to care for other extended family members

  • Divorce

  • financial stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • personality disorder

  • couple problems

People who are struggling mentally should always try to see how they can alleviate some mental stress.

Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (3)

Why am I always mentally exhausted?

Mental fatigue is a state of tiredness that appears when the brain's energy levels are depleted. Mental burnout can be caused by many different things, for example, not taking enough time for yourself.

We can often be our own worst enemy, trying too hard to be perfect all the time and do everything right.

(Video) Signs You're Mentally Tired, Not Lazy

Sleep is also vital to feeling mentally well rested. However, when we already feel mentally exhausted, sleep becomes extremely difficult. In our free eBook, we have lots of tips on how to get a good night's sleep. If you want our free eBook and the many tips we suggest for preventing burnout, you can get it here.Register here.

Causes of mental exhaustion

  • The most common cause of mental exhaustion is chronic stress. Chronic stress keeps your body and brain in overdrive, constantly having something on your mind. This leads you to feel overly alert and constantly worried. Over time, this can affect your well-being and make you feel tired.

  • Working life often causes mental stress and burnout. It can become difficult to manage tasks and prioritize them, causing you to put pressure on yourself to get things done.

  • Juggling multiple commitments. Besides taking care of a family man, people have more commitments than just family. For example, work too, studies, clubs, sometimes a second job and much more. Constantly remind yourself of what you must do; What you need to do first to make sure everything gets done as well as trying to meet all the necessary needs in your family can drive your brain crazy.


Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (4)

Signs of mental exhaustion

It is not only important to know how to treat and prevent mental exhaustion, it is essential to know how to recognize it. The sooner we can recognize it in ourselves, the sooner we can start treating mental burnout, making it more manageable.

6 Signs You're Mentally Exhausted:

  1. Feeling a lack of interest in activities you would normally enjoy

  2. Lack of motivation at work and in personal life.

  3. Bad mood or irritability

  4. Easily get angry with others

  5. Feeling constantly overwhelmed and stressed

  6. Cynicism, doubt and pessimism

You don't have to experience all of the above to be mentally exhausted, these are just some of the more common symptoms, not everyone will feel things the same way.


How to stop mental breakdown?

The best way to prevent mental burnout is to establish a well-structured routine and healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries can be extremely difficult to implement, so if you need some advice, we have a blog on healthy boundaries here.(How to Set Boundaries to Maintain Positive Mental Health).

(Video) 8 Things That Lead To Emotional Exhaustion

However, it is important to remember that these tips and techniques will not always work for everyone, as we are all different and different things affect and help each other.

Way to prevent mental exhaustion:

  • Be kind to your eyes: too much screen time can be mentally exhausting.

  • Learn to do nothing once in a while. Taking time for ourselves and doing something we enjoy or even lying around doing nothing when necessary.

  • Prioritize a healthy sleep routine.

  • Stop low-performing activities. Try to get the most out of what you are doing by trying to define your goals as realistically and productively as possible.

Did you know that mental exhaustion and physical exhaustion are different? (5)

If you feel you would like to learn more about current mental health issues, we offer an online Mental Health First Aid course.

Taught by a qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor in England, enabling you to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider.

For more information Email: reservas@yourhealthcareacademy.com

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(Video) How To Treat And Prevent Mental Exhaustion



How can you tell the difference between mental and physical exhaustion? ›

What Is Mental Exhaustion? It's kind of like physical tiredness, except it's your mind instead of your muscles. It tends to show up when you focus on a mentally tough task for a while. You might also feel this kind of brain drain if you're always on alert or stressed out.

Why does mental exhaustion cause physical exhaustion? ›

Blood oxygen lowers in that area, and we get tired much faster than we would without the mental exertion. It's about dividing resources, researchers say. Physical fatigue develops more quickly when the brain has to devote resources to highly cognitive tasks.

How do you know if you are mentally exhausted? ›

Feeling a sense of detachment

You don't feel good or bad. It's like you are just a body without any emotion. You've gone numb. Whatever it is that you're dealing with has drained you to the point where you literally can't feel the emotions you'd normally feel when you encounter a situation or subject.

Is mental exhaustion worse than physical exhaustion? ›

In fact, most research concludes that physical activity has either a positive effect or more often, little or no impact on mental performance. However, when a person's mentally exhausted due to sleep deprivation, their alertness will suffer while most aspects critical for physical performance will be preserved.

What does being physically exhausted feel like? ›

Fatigue is feeling severely overtired. Fatigue makes it hard to get up in the morning, go to work, do your usual activities and make it through your day. You might have an overwhelming urge to sleep, and you may not feel refreshed after you rest or sleep.

What does physical exhaustion look like? ›

Inability to stay awake or alert. Accidentally falling asleep, such as when driving or operating heavy machinery. Inability to maintain or complete an activity. Tiring easily.

What happens when your mentally exhausted? ›

Long-lasting emotional fatigue can shorten your attention span and concentration. And you may feel sad, hopeless, anxious or irritable. You may have trouble sleeping. Over time, emotional exhaustion can lead to psychiatric problems such as depression or anxiety.

Can emotional stress cause physical exhaustion? ›

During stressful periods of life, it can be challenging to maintain a regular sleeping pattern. People with emotional exhaustion also feel physically fatigued and may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night.

Can physical exhaustion cause anxiety? ›

Summary: Researchers have found that a lack of sleep, which is common in anxiety disorders, may play a key role in ramping up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying.

How do you bounce back from mental exhaustion? ›

14 tips on how to recover from burnout
  1. Track your stress levels. ...
  2. Identify your stressors. ...
  3. Create a habit of journaling. ...
  4. Seek professional help from a coach or therapist. ...
  5. Build a support network. ...
  6. Get enough exercise. ...
  7. Speak up for yourself. ...
  8. Learn stress management techniques.
Oct 25, 2021

Which one is more tiring physical or mental work? ›

Both can be equally tiring, but to fight off the long-term effects of stress, you need to do something physical if you are more mentally stressed. If you are more physically tired, then you need to do a light stretch to loosen sore muscles and relax.

Why is mental work more tiring than physical? ›

Presence of glutamate in the prefrontal cortex

As per researchers, glutamate accumulation makes further activation of this part of the brain costly, such that cognitive control is more difficult post a heavy workday.

What's worse mental or physical? ›

We tend to react to physical pain much more proactively than we do to emotional pain. Yet, short of catastrophic injuries or illnesses, emotional pain often impacts our lives far more than physical pain does.

Can physical exhaustion make you feel sick? ›

What to know about fatigue and nausea. Fatigue and nausea are common symptoms that often occur together. In some cases, these symptoms may develop as a result of lifestyle factors, such as poor sleep or diet, or lack of exercise. In other cases, they may signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.

Can you get sick from exhaustion? ›

Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

How long can physical exhaustion last? ›

We all go through periods of low energy. Even a week of feeling more tired than usual is not uncommon. Yet most people can tell when their fatigue feels like something more serious. If that's the case, or your fatigue gets worse or lasts longer than a week or two, it's time to see your doctor.

What are examples of exhaustion? ›

exhaustion Add to list Share. Exhaustion is a state of being incredibly tired. Running a marathon on a hot day often results in exhaustion. Your exhaustion might be due to physical fatigue, after shoveling snow for hours or chasing after your runaway dog, or mental tiredness.

How long does it take to recover from mental exhaustion? ›

It takes an average time of three months to a year to recover from burnout. How long your burnout lasts will depend on your level of emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue, as well as if you experience any relapses or periods of stagnant recovery.

What is a nervous breakdown? ›

The term "nervous breakdown" is sometimes used by people to describe a stressful situation in which they're temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. It's commonly understood to occur when life's demands become physically and emotionally overwhelming.

Why do I get mentally exhausted so easily? ›

Mental fatigue is a state of tiredness that sets in when your brain's energy levels are depleted. Mental fatigue is usually the result of prolonged stress. Long-term stress can be brought on by a variety of factors, including a challenging life event, a demanding job, or procrastination.

How can I relax my mind and body from anxiety? ›

How can you relax your mind and body?
  1. Take slow, deep breaths. Or try other breathing exercises for relaxation. ...
  2. Soak in a warm bath.
  3. Listen to soothing music.
  4. Practice mindful meditation. ...
  5. Write. ...
  6. Use guided imagery.

How do you keep your mind calm? ›

Relaxing and calming exercises
  1. Take a break. Focus on your breathing. Listen to music.
  2. Spend some time in nature. Try active relaxation. Think of somewhere else.
  3. Try guided meditation. Get creative.

How do I reset myself mentally? ›

These strategies can help restore your serenity and keep you emotionally grounded:
  1. Start with a stabilizing routine. ...
  2. Reach out to others. ...
  3. Have phone conversations or video chats. ...
  4. Practice mindfulness and meditation. ...
  5. Try out a mental health app. ...
  6. Declutter your relationship. ...
  7. Enjoy fun, creative activities. ...
  8. Eat healthily.
Jun 13, 2022

What is the difference between physical and mental work? ›

Physical work is all tasks that requirephysical strength or stamina to accomplish the task and morephysical works are sports. Mental work on the other hand is the workdone with nothing but the brain. Most people work in offices and their workis more mental and physical.

Which is more important mental strength or physical strength? ›

To excel in life, mental strength is more important than physical strength.”

Is it better to be mentally or physically stronger? ›

Maintaining physical activity through the decades will keep your muscles, bones and joints strong, which is important in keeping your health in check. And studies show that people that are mentally strong are physically healthier and have stronger immune systems, which can help you fight chronic disease.

Which is more important physical or mental health Why? ›

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

What is the most painful mental illness? ›

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has long been believed to be a disorder that produces the most intense emotional pain and distress in those who have this condition. Studies have shown that borderline patients experience chronic and significant emotional suffering and mental agony.

Can the brain tell the difference between physical and emotional pain? ›

Although the brain does not process emotional pain and physical pain identically, research on neural pathways suggests there is substantial overlap between the experience of physical and social pain.

What weakens your mental health? ›

childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect. social isolation or loneliness. experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism. social disadvantage, poverty or debt.

What are 5 emotional signs of stress? ›

Mental or behavioral symptoms include:
  • Being more emotional than usual.
  • Feeling overwhelmed or on edge.
  • Trouble keeping track of things or remembering.
  • Trouble making decisions, solving problems, concentrating, getting your work done.
  • Using alcohol or drugs to relieve your emotional stress.
Dec 29, 2020

Am I emotionally burnt out? ›

Being burned out means feeling empty and mentally exhausted, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don't see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress feels like you're drowning in responsibilities, burnout is a sense of being all dried up.

What is being emotionally exhausted? ›

What is emotional exhaustion? When stress begins to accumulate from negative or challenging events in life that just keep coming, you can find yourself in a state of feeling emotionally worn out and drained. This is called emotional exhaustion. For most people, emotional exhaustion tends to slowly build up over time.

What are 3 warning signs of psychological stress? ›

If you are stressed, you might feel:
  • Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up.
  • Over-burdened or overwhelmed.
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid.
  • Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off.
  • Unable to enjoy yourself.
  • Depressed.
  • Uninterested in life.
  • Like you've lost your sense of humour.

What can stress do to a woman's body? ›

Common symptoms of stress in women include: Physical. Headaches, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, pain (most commonly in the back and neck), overeating/under eating, skin problems, drug and alcohol misuse, lack of energy, upset stomach, less interest in sex/other things you used to enjoy. Emotional.

Can emotional stress make you sick? ›

Chronic stress — stress that occurs consistently over a long period of time — can have a negative impact on a person's immune system and physical health. If you are constantly under stress, you may experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, an upset stomach, trouble sleeping or high blood pressure.

Why do I get irritated and angry so easily? ›

Many factors can cause or contribute to irritability, including life stress, a lack of sleep, low blood sugar levels, and hormonal changes. Extreme irritability, or feeling irritable for an extended period, can sometimes indicate an underlying condition, such as an infection or diabetes.


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