Do you sometimes feel brain dead at work, unable to do any meaningful work for the most part of the day, if not the entire day? That moment when you wake up feeling like your brain is finally depleted from all those days, weeks and months of productive work you’ve put into your job.
You re-read a sentence more than once before you can comprehend what you are reading. Sometimes, when a colleague is trying to explain something to you, it’s almost a waste of time because the words go through one ear and leave through the other. That feeling that there’s nothing left in you to offer and if you stretch any further, your mind would probably snap.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, mental fatigue happens to everyone at a different point in time. Just relax! Your mind won’t snap and yes, there’s still so much more you can offer but first, you must learn how to deal with mental fatigue.
There are different causes of mental fatigue. Let’s talk about the obvious causes that you might already know. Inadequate sleep, prolonged mental or physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety
Several sleepless nights make you feel tired, puts you in a bad mood and makes you irritable. In a manner of speaking, your brain ‘shuts down’ and it seems your ability to focus, complete tasks and make decisions is greatly impeded. Continue with this bad sleeping habit long enough and you might be looking at other health issues such as depression, obesity and heart diseases. You don’t want that.
You have to find the time to sleep. Find out how much sleep you need to function properly, expert typically advice 7–9 hours of sleep daily. But if you are already experiencing a sleep deficit, you might need to increase your sleeping hours. We recommend you turn in for the night earlier than you used to and take advantage of the weekend when you don’t have to go to work.
Reduce caffeine or energy drink intake as much as possible. Though they provide a temporary fix but will only disrupt and further complicate your sleeping patterns in the long run.
Prolonged Hours Of Mental Work
The brain uses water, sugar and oxygen regularly. During long periods of intense mental work, the brain’s energy is used up more rapidly. The more it is used up without being replenished, the greater the chances of being mentally fatigued.
The brain energy can be replenished in the following ways
· Take lunch breaks
· Take a walk and get some fresh air
· Eat regularly and well, a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein
· Drink lots of water
· Take short breaks at intervals during work, talk to a colleague.
It might also interest you know that a boring job could make you mentally fatigued. Research has shown that working in a place where you’re not stimulated and inspired can lead to a decline in cognitive functions in the long run. This decline is seen in people’s inability to pay attention, complete tasks and manage time.
Repetitive tasks usually become boring and strengthen the feelings of mental fatigue. If you’re not inspired by your job, if you’re not learning something new and exciting every day, if all you do is show up at work and count down with the clock until closing time, then it probably time for you to make that career/job change.
The effect of mental fatigue can be seen in reduced decision-making ability, reduced productivity or performance, reduced attention and vigilance, reduced ability to handle stress on the job, reduced reaction time, loss of memory or the ability to recall details, increased forgetfulness and increased errors in judgement etc.
This sort of awareness, good sleeping habit, balanced diet and regular exercise are very helpful to reduce or eliminate mental fatigue.