Picture this: you wake up in the morning from a 7-8 hour sleep wanting to have a productive day at work. Motivated, you kick-start the day only to get bogged down halfway through, drained, and worn out even though a couple of hours are left.
While many factors may lead to a mid-day brain drain, mental fatigue is something many of us students and working professionals alike experience. Mental fatigue is a condition that is triggered by prolonged cognitive activity, which sends your brain into overdrive and leaves you exhausted, identified by symptoms like stress-eating or loss of appetite, insomnia, lack of motivation, mental block, and irritability.
Without proper attention and care, it can lead to more serious conditions. But even so, seeking to improve our mental health and clarity improves our lives in many ways. Thus, we’ve come up with four pieces of advice you can incorporate into your lifestyle to beat mental fatigue.
1. Engage in exciting activities to break routine
They say a bored mind is a tired mind – and we tend to agree on it based on our personal experience. It’s not just taking your mind off repetitive things at work or mindlessly scrolling on social media channels. It is also about engaging in exercise to increase our adrenaline before the day starts or when we are going through the dreaded ‘food coma’.
As opposed to common belief, going to take a rest right after lunch or dozing off mid-day because of boredom can exacerbate the problem and train our minds to be sluggish. Inject some adrenaline by including a short walk, a quick and simple exercise routine that won’t get you to sweat, or even taking short breaks to walk about your workspace every 30-45 minutes. Your energy levels increase as you spend energy moving about rather than conserving it!
2. Your diet is important!
It is hardly a surprise knowing that nutrition is a critical factor in staying healthy physically or mentally to perform at peak levels. If you want to keep your mind at its peak performance, it’s recommended to limit or eliminate the intake of refined sugars, caffeine, and heavily processed food from your diet. They interrupt your body’s ability to rest, but it also introduces blood sugar level spikes that can cause heavy crashes.
Drink lots of water throughout the day to keep yourself from being dehydrated, and include a nutritious diet to strengthen your body. Not a great cook or unsure where to begin with a healthy diet? Including natural supplements such as chicken essence packed with nutrients can be a reliable way to nourish the body. Various studies have shown multiple benefits of chicken essence as an excellent anti-fatigue food that is helpful for both physical and mental recovery. Drinking it as is or following recipes that include traditional essence of chicken in Singapore can be incredibly fortifying while introducing great flavour into steamed or braised dishes.
3. Allot time for breaks
No matter how long your days or how many unfinished tasks have piled up on your desk, it’s good to allow some time for breaks during work. Whether it’s a 15-minute break or a short leave from work to allow yourself to breathe in some fresh air from the mountain or take comfort in the sound of waves in the ocean, studies have shown that refocusing is an important step to stay in focus for the long run.
Trying to finish everything in consecutive hours could also allow a greater chance of increased stress levels while resulting in a dip in productivity compared to taking periodic breaks during the day. Get up from your desk, walk around, or do another activity that wanders your brain off work to recharge for the next pile of tasks.
4. Prioritise sleep and exercise
When it comes to your mental health, sleep and exercise should be given time and attention. When it comes to exercise, we’re not talking about spending an hour or two in the gym – walking at a brisk pace every day for 20 to 30 minutes can already positively impact your well-being.
There’s no better way to improve your health faster than getting consistent, sustained periods of sleep. Your sleeping environment must be conducive to a good night’s rest; a dark, quiet, and cool temperature is an ideal sleeping room. Avoid using electronics at least an hour before bed to ensure that your mind can be free from distractions and prevent that endless Tiktok or Instagram scrolling into the wee hours of the night.
Mental fatigue is a serious condition and, if left untreated, can transform into a more severe illness such as anxiety and depression. This type of fatigue impacts your physical and mental health, harms your productivity at work, and can interfere with your relationships. Take proper care of your mental health and try one or more of the methods above for a healthier, more focused and stress-free you.