How Mental Exhaustion Affects the Whole Body

“I sit down most of the day, how am I still tired?”

white printer paper on black and gray laptop computer

Many people think it’s normal for someone to be tired if they are working out in a field all day or stand on their feet all day. However, most people who have a desk job or spend a lot of their time on mental tasks are often surprised and shocked that they are still exhausted. Mental exhaustion affects your entire body in a negative way. People who are mentally exhausted will not only get tired but also often feel physical aches as if they have been exercising all day. Excessive use of your mind is just as harmful to you as excessive use of your body.

For example, many people who suffer from mental exhaustion, in addition to being tired most of the time, may start to get sick more often, have a lot of headaches, experience back pain, muscle aches, and more. Plus, mental exhaustion can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep which can just make all the above worse.

Here are some examples of symptoms that are caused by mental exhaustion

If you have more than a few of these and have been burning the wick at both ends, consider mental exhaustion a potential culprit.

  • Constant sleepiness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired decision making
  • Inability to concentrate and focus
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory problems
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor judgement
  • Reduced immunity
  • Slow reflexes
  • Sore or aching muscles
  • Unexplained dizziness
  • Unmotivated

When people are mentally exhausted, their body tries to get them to take a break and rest in every way it can. As a result, this can make the body more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses. It’s so important to pay attention to the signs of mental exhaustion. Thankfully, there are ways to combat and overcome mental exhaustion, which we will discuss next.

Track How You Spend Your Time

If you don’t know how much you’re really doing, it can be easy to just keep going 24/7 and never take a break. As a stay-at-home working mom, I am on the go literally from the moment I wake up until the second I close my eyes to sleep. I am sure a lot of you can relate! I try to take advantage of every minute I have to get things done. Well, not a huge surprise but naturally everything won’t get done. I have learned to be okay with that. Take some time to track what you’re doing daily for about a week. You can use your smartphone to track your activities or you can go old school and write down your daily to-do list. See where most of your time goes and try to find a balance.

Drop Activities That Don’t Produce Real Results

When you look at the activities you did while tracking, note the things that aren’t really producing results, or that are busywork, or that are completely unnecessary. For example, do you go to a lot of meetings? Do you have to? Do you spend a lot of time trying to help a relative, friend, or someone else without results? Let go of anything that you can either just stop doing or outsource. If you must keep doing it, find a way to put limits on it. This goes along with finding the right balance. Remember, you are just one person, focus on what is important at that time.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep Zzzz!

Most adults should strive for 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night. This depends largely on your genes, and sleep time is right for you. Use what you know you need. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, please solve this problem so that you fall asleep quickly and your sleep time is more efficient. To help get used to this process, go to bed at the same time every day for at least 30 days. You can start with the least amount of time, and then gradually find out the best time for you so that you can feel rested every day. Don’t forget how important sleep is for helping our bodies recuperate.

Exercise Every Day

Schedule exercise time each day. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. It can be as simple as a brisk walk. You don’t even need to schedule in an entire hour. Look at your schedule so that you can determine when you have a few minutes to get fresh air. You can also separate that out into different types of exercise. For example, my kids love to watch Kids Zumba. I’ll often put on a couple of songs and dance along with them. The important thing is to get up out of a chair and move as much as you can.

Eat the Right Things

Eating the right foods can not be overstated. What you eat often depends on what you need. Ask your doctor to test the vitamin content in your blood, and then eat what you need to avoid deficiency. Besides low iron, if you are short on vitamins D3 or B12 you may feel severely fatigued and even anxious, which can cause you to lose sleep – thus making you feel even more tired all day long. Even though you can buy D3 and B12 (with folate) to help with this issue, it is still best to get a blood test to rule out anything serious before starting with any treatments. Try to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. This will give you a break, boost your energy, and help you stay more focused.

Stay Hydrated

This one is kinda obvious. However, I suck at keeping track of my water intake. It can be very easy to get dehydrated. Most adults should drink between eight and ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated. If you exercise strenuously you’ll need more. Tea, coffee, soda, and sugary drinks (even fake sugar) are all dehydrating and don’t do the same thing as clean, filtered water will. Take the challenge and commit to drinking enough water for 30 days, and you’ll see a huge difference. You can even add fresh lemon, ginger, or other fruits if you want something with a little flavor!

Take Regular Breaks

When you are doing mental work, sometimes it is difficult to take a break. Time flies by while you are working, and you just don’t notice. However, you must take regular breaks. Since the brain works in a 90-minute cycle, one way to achieve rest is to set a rest time of 5 to 10 minutes every 115 minutes. If necessary, set a timer. Get up and stretch, walk, eat some snacks, drink some water, then you will come back refreshed. Trust me it does help!

Understand That It’s OK to Do Nothing

A lot of working, busy people tend to be uncomfortable with downtime. They feel as if they’re slackers. Even if you have a mentally exhausting job as compared to a physically exhausting one, everyone needs to get away sometime. Letting your mind and body rest makes getting back to the tasks more enjoyable. Schedule your yearly vacations and do something fun or if you just stay home and look at local sites, that’s okay – everyone needs downtime and everyone needs time to do nothing.

Re-charge your Life

Recharging your body and overcoming fatigue so that you can get your life back is one of the most important ways you can improve the quality of your life. There is no reason you need to be exhausted and tired all the time. If it’s not a medical condition (and even if it is), you have a lot more control over how you feel each day than you think. It might be as simple as getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. You are the one with the power to figure it out. Don’t delay, so that you can get your life back and do wonderful things.

How Confidence Affects Growth

“The confidence you bring to the table, everyone eats.” – M.M.

Oftentimes, we learn more by teaching others. I always enjoyed training new colleagues in the jobs I worked. It gave me a chance to practice all my skills and possibly find new ways to be efficient. When it comes to parenting, the same concept applies. Every day is a lesson. 

I love watching my children grow and develop their own personalities. Naturally, I think back to my childhood and compare similarities. It is amazing how my oldest takes on many of my traits, while my youngest has the looks and laid-back demeanor like her Papa

Temper Tuesday

A couple of days ago, my daughter decided to have a full-blown tantrum because I couldn’t pour the water into her cup fast enough. Although, she had just finished drinking. As the day went on she continued to have these outbursts. At first, I thought it was just part of normal toddler stuff.  Then, at one point, I noticed my daughter would occasionally express herself in a way I was very familiar with. 

Finally, it was bedtime and I was able to calm her down. I realized my daughter is not only learning about different feelings and what they are. She is also learning at times we can feel many emotions at once. We don’t always know how to express them which leads to a lot of misunderstandings in communication. However, it is my job as her parent to guide her on communicating her feelings with words. 

Creator: Tim Paulawitz | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Back to the Past

Later that night, I decided to take a trip back down memory lane and think about the “training session” I would give my younger self. The wisdom gained through each failure, every achievement, and many mistakes in my life has uniquely built my confidence for 31 years. 

As I hopped in my mental time machine, I went back 20 years….

Hey you! I mean, me? 

Anyways.

Good luck because this $h!t is hard! Ha ha, kidding. Well maybe, but you are doing great. However, it took awhile to get here. 

If you don’t do anything else, just always remember to be CONFIDENT in yourself:

Have Courage to speak up. 

Have Opinions of your own.

Have Navigation to guide you.

Have Failures you learn from. 

Have Insecurities you overcome.

Have Discipline you comprehend.

Have Education in every lesson.

Have Niceness to earn respect.

Have Talents you proudly show.

We got this. 😉

Here I am back to the present.

The same advice I would give myself are the lessons I can now carry on to my children, as well as other aspects of my life. 

Now it is your turn. What would you say to your younger self?

My second pregnancy surgery story and my experience with post partum depression

How many of you have experienced or know someone who has experienced postpartum depression? According to the CDC, studies show about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. That is a lot of women! Well, I was one of them.

Let’s start from the beginning. 

On Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, I took a pregnancy test. I had not missed my monthly friend yet but something in my body told me to take one. After 3 long minutes, there was a light pink line. Although, my husband and I shared joy at the thought of our daughter having a sibling. We did not want to get too excited until we knew for sure. Since it was still so early, we figured we would make an appointment for later in the week.

If I recall correctly it was about 4:00 am the next morning. I started experiencing the worst cramps I had ever felt. I was on the floor, in tears, with so much pain. My husband called my mom to come over and watch the baby while we went to the emergency room. When we arrived, I was sent to a room rather quickly. I told the doctor everything I was feeling and about the “positive” pregnancy test. Naturally, the nurse drew blood. I then went for ultra-sound imaging. I remember suffering during the whole bumpy ride down. The tech didn’t say much during the ultra-sound. Despite the fact I was in so much pain, I was anxiously waiting for her to say, “there’s the yolk sack,” as our sonographer had expressed to us when my husband and I first found out about Marci (our first.) Instead, before she hung the probe she said, “you will be okay.” I will be okay? What the hell did that mean?! 

Moments later, the doctor came to our room and sat down. She looked at me with a face full of sorrow as she explained to us I had an ectopic pregnancy BUT not in my fallopian tube. Rather, on my ovary. I had internal bleeding which was causing the pain. I was scheduled to have emergency surgery at 7:00 am. I was so confused, aching in pain both physically and emotionally. 

After surgery, my OB-GYN explained to me what happened during surgery. He had to remove about 80% of my right ovary to clean up the internal bleeding and tissue mass. I was discharged a couple hours later. Filled with emotions and pain medication for that matter it was a quiet ride home. I probably cried about 10x that week thinking I lost my baby and I would have a harder time getting pregnant with one “working” ovary.  

My doctor called that Friday, he instructed me to come in right away to discuss my biopsy results. Can you imagine the thoughts running through my head when he said that! I made it there within the hour anticipating what he was going to say. It turned out the mass we thought was my baby was a giant blast of cysts that had burst. He ordered more blood work to check my HCG levels. Sure enough, those levels were rising. We did an ultrasound at 6 weeks and finally the little dot that warmed my heart. Despite surgery, my little embryo was in there just minding her own business until she was ready to make her debut in my womb. I was considered an at-risk pregnancy due to how much blood I had lost during surgery. I had doctor appointments 2-4 times a month for probably my entire pregnancy. 

Ahh.. the delivery. Much different than my first, the labor was more intense as my epidural didn’t take so I pretty much felt everything. However, the recovery was much quicker. I said to myself, “I’ve got this.” Well, after 3 months I most certainly did not have it. 

At first, I denied the fact I may be experiencing postpartum depression. I just felt so angry at the slightest things. What I needed was a FREAKING break! I found myself sitting in wineries or local bars just enjoying a few moments to myself. I would count down the minutes until I would arrive back home to whatever mess awaited me. 

A couple of months later businesses started closing due to Covid-19. Quarantine had begun, and so did the worst of my depression. How was it that I was home all day, yet I still couldn’t get my life together? I wasn’t lazy, I was tired. I wasn’t a bad mom. I just needed help.

I started having sharp chest pains and was more tired than ever before. Needless to say, I thought I had Coronavirus and went to the doctor. After breaking down in tears while trying to explain to the physician how I was feeling, he looked at me and said, “you do not have Covid, my dear, you have kids.” I couldn’t help but laugh. 

One night after the kids had gone to sleep. I got my journal out and wrote down my To-do/Mish’n list. I realized everything on that list was tasks I needed to do for others. When was the last time I did something for myself? I had no friends, no hobbies, no job, and barely any self-care. I knew things needed to change or I would lose my absolute mind. So…

I re-worked my list. 

Be sure to subscribe to my blog for notifications each time I post something new. Stay tuned for Mish’n 1: The Hustle. As always, thank you all for your continued support! #momsmishnfam

12 Hours Post Surgery 02/04/2019.
Baby Shower, September 2019.