Post Updated on September 23, 2020
We’ve all heard of and most likely experienced burnout in our professional and personal lives. We live in an age where the hustle mentality is strong, so it’s no surprise that we’re stressed out more than ever.
I’ve talked about burnout on the blog before and how to identify if you’re dealing with burnout. To take it a little deeper, I think there can be different types of burnout – mental, physical, and emotional. Today, I want to focus on the concept of mental burnout.
Mental burnout makes you feel like you don’t have the mental energy or bandwidth to focus on anything. Making decisions becomes impossible, you have trouble thinking clearly, and you get overwhelmed by the slightest inconvenience.
For those of us who are overthinkers, overanalyzers, and perfectionists, we cause a lot of issues to ourselves simply by thinking.
You might not even realize you’re causing yourself stress because you blame the stress on others or your current environment. Of course these things can contribute to stress, but there’s so much power in recognizing when you are the one stressing yourself out.
When you’re mentally exhausted, you might feel like the only thing you can do is lay on the couch and watch Netflix. Though this seems like a great form of relaxation, it doesn’t help your mind *actually* shut off. Your show might feel like an escape, but it’s only a temporary fix before you feel mentally exhausted again the next day.
Without addressing the causes of mental burnout and finding ways to give your mind an actual break, you risk driving yourself into the ground.
The Causes of Mental Burnout
If you feel like your mind can never truly relax, here are seven sneaky things that might be making you feel mentally drained:
Whenever I ask people what they want to change about their mindset, most of them say they want to feel more confident about themselves. They spend so much time doubting themselves and wishing they were more secure in their own skin. The thing is that constantly doubting yourself only adds to your stress levels. Your inner critic and the way you talk to yourself about yourself can make a huge impact on your mental state.
To deal with self-doubt, check out this post.
Does life feel more complicated than it needs to be? There are so many options with clothing, food, recipes, diets, exercise plans, etc. How do you know what to pick? The truth is that it’s not your fault that you feel so indecisive. Our society has given us so many options which makes it incredibly difficult to make a decision. But indecision only causes us to waste time and overthink about what we should do.
To combat indecision, I highly recommend reading Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, so you can figure out how to make decisions more easily.
3. Lack of Boundaries
When you’re a people-pleaser who can’t say no to others, you end up taking on other people’s work, errands, and even their emotional baggage. You’ve got enough on your own plate, and you most likely don’t have the time or energy to handle other people’s problems as well.
If you’re constantly striving for perfection, you’re only causing yourself unnecessary stress. When you spend all of your time and mental energy worrying about whether something you’ve done is good enough, you end up getting nowhere.
Reduce the pressure you put on yourself in order to protect your mental health. Done is better than perfect.
5. Fear of Judgment
When you’re constantly worried about what others think about you, it only adds to the list of things you don’t really need to think about. You’ll never know what others really think about you, so why keep trying to figure it out? If they have a problem with you, they’ll tell you. And even if they do tell you, does their opinion really matter?
Don’t let the fear of what other people think keep you from making your mark on the world.
6. Constant Distractions
Our lives have become increasingly influenced by distractions. You get distracted by the suggested videos on YouTube when you wanted to watch one video. You get constant notifications on your phone and computer that take you away from what you were originally doing. Letting yourself get distracted is ultimately a form of procrastination, and procrastination only leads to guilt and stress. Distractions also clutter our minds with things that we probably never needed to know (like this video where no one showed up to this raccoon’s birthday party – sorry, I’m distracting you. It’s just so easy).
Check out this post on dealing with digital distractions.
7. Worrying About the Future
If you’re constantly thinking ahead to the future and wondering how your life is going to pan out, you’re only filling your head with thoughts of what could be. There’s no harm in a little daydreaming, but worrying about every little detail of the future only contributes to mental exhaustion. Trying to find all of the answers and figure everything out can make you feel more overwhelmed than when you started.
As much as you can, focus on what’s happening in the current moment and do what you can today.