Overcoming mental exhaustion

As a bodybuilder with multiple sclerosis I have learned to live with extreme fatigue on a daily basis.

MS is a disease of fatigue and when you throw in the stress and wear and tear the sport brings to the body, it is almost impossible to ever feel rested.


There is also a blurred line between physical and mental fatigue when dealing with MS as an athlete.

So, I have to say, I am an expert in exhaustion!

Physical demands

The key to overcoming and dealing with mental exhaustion is to first look at the demands you are putting on your body physically.

When the body is over-fatigued the mind is quick to follow and visa versa. As athletes, we seldom take a break and often “over train” our bodies.

I know for me it is hard to even take a day off from the gym. I get lost and my routine is off.

But I have found that the day off and even the short daily break makes a huge difference in the level of stress and exhaustion I put on my body. This easing off of the constant body drain actually helps with the mental drain.

Let me explain further.

– Burnout comes from stress whether emotionally, physically or mentally that is persistent.

– Stress itself is not burnout. But when you are enduring stress to an extreme level day after day, burnout is inevitable.

The mind/body connection is impossible to disconnect unless you consciously put an effort into doing so. Whether we talk about mental exhaustion or physical exhaustion we end up at burnout when the stress is just too severe.

So what is the difference between stress and burnout? Let’s take a look…

Stress vs Burnout

Stress Burnout
Characterized by over-engagement Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are overreactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope Leads to anxiety disorders

Source: Stress and Burnout in Ministry

Create positive thoughts

mental exhaustion_2The key actually is to remain in a state of a positive mindset as often and as long as possible.

And to do that there are mental exercises such as:

– creating a vision board;

– posting affirmations on notes in your home;

– setting time aside for meditation or even practicing relaxing yoga sessions.

Any time spent de-stressing your thoughts and embracing a peaceful environment both mentally and physically will help you to deal with mental exhaustion.

I know this all sounds like an easy answer to controlling your emotions and avoiding burnout but believe me, finding the time and actually following through with any of this is a challenge in our fast paced lives.

Take control of your emotions

I have learned, especially dealing with MS, how important taking charge of my emotions and avoiding burnout is.

So, I have made it a priority and something that is not a choice but a routine to find the hour or even the 15 minutes every day to settle down, unwind and keep burnout out of my vocabulary.

If you want to be a success in reaching your goals, you will need to adopt the same philosophy and just do it!

Connect with Expert David Lyons

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