15 Signs You’re Not Lazy, Just Mentally Exhausted

15 Signs You’re Not Lazy, Just Mentally Exhausted

If you’re finding it harder to get out of bed in the morning and feel amped about life, you might start to worry that you’re getting lazy. However, that’s not necessarily true, especially if you’ve always had the motivation to get things done before now. So, what’s going on? It could be that you’re feeling drained and possibly burned out. Here are 15 signs you’re not lazy, just mentally exhausted — and you need to give yourself a break.

1. You’re finding it tough to concentrate.

If your mind’s constantly finding other things to think about instead of the task that’s right in front of you, or your thoughts feel foggy all the time, you’re exhausted. You might even feel like you’re not as alert to sounds or other stimuli as you used to be.

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2. You’re airing jaded thoughts.

Lately, whenever someone talks about something they’re excited about, you feel like you couldn’t care less. You might even feel like there’s no point to anything. While this could also point to feelings of anxiety or depression, it can be a sign of mental exhaustion. Your life might be too overwhelming and it’s dragging you down so you don’t have mental energy for anything.

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3. You’re snapping at people.

A big sign that you’re not in a good headspace is if you’ve become super-irritable with everyone around you, even people you really like. They might not even say anything negative to you, but you’re still ready to tear into them. Yikes. It’s easy to feel like your patience is stripped away when you’re mentally exhausted. There’s not enough gas in the tank!

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4. You’re struggling to sleep.

Although you’re so tired during the day, when night comes you’re restless and struggle to settle down to sleep. This is a sign that the stress hormone, cortisol, is running rampant in your body, Healthline explains.

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5. You’re procrastinating on tasks.

You know you have to do laundry or finish a work project for an upcoming deadline, but you just can’t seem to face your tasks. If you’re suddenly procrastinating, you might worry that you’ll never feel motivated again and that everything will get on top of you. However, it could be that you’re mentally exhausted, especially if you’ve recently been pushing yourself too hard without any breaks.

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6. You’re feeling panicky.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, and feelings of doom, it could be because mental exhaustion is triggering your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for helping you deal in dangerous situations by boosting your body’s responses.

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7. You’re taking rain-checks every weekend.

Lately, when people invite you out to fun events or dinners, you’re quick to say that you’re “busy” and can’t make it. The truth? You’d rather spend time alone at home. Social isolation is a common behavioral symptom of mental exhaustion. Who wants to try to have fun when they’re feeling so wrecked?

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8. Your thoughts are exaggerating your emotional responses.

When you’re mentally exhausted, you’ll notice some overlap with emotional symptoms, meaning you react too strongly to negative feelings. For example, if someone hurts your feelings, you start to obsess about it and let it get you down even though you usually don’t take it to heart. All your negative thoughts and feelings feel magnified right now.

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9. Your body’s feeling sore.

One of the ways in which laziness differs from mental exhaustion is that it doesn’t present with bodily aches and pains. While you might think mental exhaustion doesn’t affect you physically, it definitely can. You might be getting more headaches, stomach pains, or other aches and pains throughout your body. This is because of stress being placed on your body’s immune system.

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10. You’re reaching for fatty or sugary foods.

When you’re feeling stressed out or drained, you might want comfort in the form of food. Maybe you’re digging into unhealthy but delicious foods like cakes, pizza, and doughnuts instead of your usual salads and homemade smoothies. Cortisol increases your body’s fat metabolism, making you crave all those decadent treats.

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11. You’re avoiding conversations with loved ones.

Linked to social withdrawal, you might also try to avoid having conversations with people in your life. For example, you might feel drained at the thought of having small talk or a deeper conversation because you just don’t have the mental bandwidth.

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12. You’re feeling more sensitive.

Although you never used to cry when listening to your favorite songs or when you saw a corny commercial, now you’re reaching for a box of tissues throughout the day for no real reason. This is a sign that you’re so mentally drained that it’s making you feel more emotionally vulnerable.

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13. You’re feeling detached from things.

You know for sure you’re feeling overwhelmed and burned out if you can’t seem to feel like a part of the world around you. It’s like you’re walking around with a thick fog or screen separating you from everything and everyone. You might not feel like you can connect to other people’s emotions.

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14. You’ve started drinking more alcohol.

It’s normal for you to want to escape what you’re going through or feeling, and you might be drinking more alcohol than usual to cope. Although this might make you feel better in the moment, it can actually make your feelings worse in the long run because it prevents you from dealing with them.

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15. You’re running late to important meetings.

While you might worry that you seem lazy or like you don’t care when you run late, it can actually be a symptom of mental exhaustion. You’re so wrapped up in fatigue and other symptoms that you’re losing track of time. This is common after experiences such as grief or intense stress. Maybe it’s time to leave your watch at home, cancel your appointments, and go do something relaxing.

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Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.