5 Warning Signs That You’re Mentally Drained


1: You’re having a harder time falling asleep.

Perhaps counter-intuitive, because your first thought is: If I’m so exhausted, shouldn’t it be easier to fall asleep?

Well, not if your exhaustion is partially due to being stressed, anxious, and/or overthinking.

If that’s the case, then it’s going to be even harder to get your mind to slow down at the end of the day. You’ll be recounting all of the events since you woke up, mapping out the next day, and certainly not feeling the peace and serenity of sinking into your pillow, because there’s so much else you could be doing right now.

It takes practice, patience, and discipline…but letting go of the day at the end of the night can bring a renewed peace and relaxation. There is nothing you can do to change things while you’re asleep, so you might as well make the most of the rest you’ll get, and attack the day even stronger and more efficient in the morning.

2: Your relationships are becoming strained.

It matters not which of your relationship(s) are being affected — if you begin to feel more distant from people you were once closer to (without any real or obvious reason), then it may be a sign that you are running out of mental space to support these relationships.

For many of us, we will turn inward when we are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. We go into “self-preservation mode” and shrink the world around us in order to limit external stimulation, or to avoid being responsible for other people’s feelings and emotions.

There’s one problem, though — those “other people” notice that we’re doing it. They might be our spouse, or kids, or frds, or colleagues, or family…all are affected in different ways by one’s mental and emotional exhaustion

Regardless of how you respond when your “emotional fuel tank” is running low, the result is the same: Strained and stressed relationships with those around you.

Take time to be grateful for and fully enjoy the presence of the people in your life. Remember that they are the reason you keep going, the external sources of love that you enjoy, the ones you can count on during these exact stressful times.

If you shut them out when you need them the most, they’ll never be able to help you no matter how hard they try.

3: You’re not getting excited about anything anymore.

The things that used to rev your engine, no matter how big or small, are suddenly…just…meh.

It’s difficult to get excited about much when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel just to find the energy to make it through the day.

Anything else feels like “excessive spending.” You wouldn’t go buying an expensive piece of jewelry or a new car if you could barely pay the bills, so why would you go getting excited about something new if you can barely tolerate the mundane?

I believe that we need to find joy in the day-to-day in order to make life worth living. It can be a small thing like a new TV show, an exciting audiobook, or even cuddling up on the couch and doing absolutely nothing.

You need to find some “me time” even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

You need to find small sources of joy.

You need to reconnect with the people and things that make you feel alive.

Nobody — nobody feels like doing the work all the time, but you build your strength and resilience when you do those things when they’re at the bottom of your list.

4: Your fuse is shorter than ever before.

I hear this a lot from my private clients who (at first) hesitate to invest in themselves because they feel that it’s “selfish.”

Here’s the thing, though: Self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary.

Your relationship with others will improve when you focus on the relationship with yourself.

You cannot pour water out of an empty cup — so (essentially) sacrificing yourself for the sake of serving others, ultimately ends up doing more harm than good…to everyone involved.

You feel drained and exhausted, and therefore lose your ability to properly care for others.

Nobody wins.

When you feel this happening, you’ll be more irritable and easily triggered than usual. You’ll notice your mood deflating, you’ll feel generally sadder, and you’ll be more quickly to react (not respond) to stimuli.

You’ll find yourself snapping at your spouse, kids, family members, and maybe even clients or coworkers.

This is your mind (and heart) letting you know that you’ve overextended yourself for too long, and need to focus within for a bit in order to refresh and recharge.

We’ve all felt it before. That “hangry” feeling when you’re just a little angry because you’re hungry. That also happens when you’re mentally or emotionally exhausted. It happens when you’re being taken advantage of. It happens when you’re growing resentful of just how much you give to others without giving anything back to yourself.

Don’t feel guilty when this happens, but recognize it for what it is:

A sign that you need to come first for once.

5: You’ve completely lost sight of your identity.

Over the past 10 years I can confidently say that the #1 reason most of my private clients and students come to me is that they’re feeling internally conflicted about who they really are.

They’ve spent years, or even decades, making decisions based around their kids, or spouse, or their shareholders, or their company…and along the way, have forgotten who they really are or what they really stand for as an individual.

If you’re feeling this internal sense of confusion and conflict, it’s a clear sign that you’ve put off recharging yourself for far too long. You likely feel disconnected from your purpose. Your WHY. The reason(s) that you do what you do every day.

This is such a massively widespread problem that it’s shocking we don’t focus more on identity development in younger adults. We need to take the time to define who we are, get clear on who we want to become, and then build a life in alignment with that sense of identity and purpose.

If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves being reactive to the world around us. Lost at sea without a compass to get home. Lacking the direction required to make the right decisions for ourselves because we don’t even really know who we are.

When you’re treading water trying to keep yourself afloat, your arms and legs eventually get tired. The same thing happens mentally and emotionally when you’ve just been treading for far too long.

It’s time to swim back to shore, or grab a life vest and give yourself a break for a little while.

When your car is low on fuel, you fill it up. When your phone is low on battery, you recharge it. Neither are any good to you if they’re not working properly.

Give yourself the same care and respect. You deserve it.

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