How to Overcome Mental Fatigue | Botanic Tonics

How to Overcome Mental Fatigue | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

Effective Strategies to Overcome Mental Fatigue

Ever find it hard to focus on the same task for a long period of time or keep your attention on a more monotonous task? That’s because you’re experiencing mental fatigue. Just as your body can feel fatigued after extended periods of physical activity, your brain can tire out too, which can cause you to lose attention, feel tired, and find it difficult to learn new information. While mental fatigue is bound to happen at times, there are simple tricks that can be effective ways to avoid mental fatigue in your day-to-day life. Dive in as we explore how to overcome mental fatigue.

Understanding Mental Fatigue: Causes and Symptoms

Mental fatigue is defined as a psychobiological state of tiredness caused by prolonged periods of performing demanding, cognitive load-inducing activities and it reduces efficiency in cognitive performance.[1] When mental fatigue is left unnoticed, it can lead to mistakes in work, inability to take in new information effectively, and in worse cases, it can result in driving accidents.

Unfortunately, individuals at every stage experience mental fatigue due to the mental load they are expected to bear every day. Employed adults take on the mental load of team organization, project work, management, and the unexpected interruptions that are bound to pop up during a work day. College and high-school students typically spend long hours in classrooms, then spend hours working on assignments or studying for exams, and have other extracurricular activities that increase their mental load even more. So, whether you are in school, work a 9 to 5 job, or have a family to care for at the end of the day, it is important to stay in tune with your mindset and identify mental exhaustion symptoms early. 

Common mental fatigue symptoms include trouble sleeping at night, irritability, an inability to complete tasks efficiently, anxiety, depression, and procrastination.[2] By recognizing these symptoms early, you can ensure that they do not escalate into more extreme feelings of exhaustion and chronic stress.

The Impact of Mental Fatigue on Overall Well-being

Effects of prolonged mental fatigue can range from limited cognitive performance, minimized physical performance, extreme fatigue, and increased cortisol levels. The ranging cognitive, emotional, and physical effects solidify the importance of identifying mental fatigue early, in order to avoid further impact to other areas of life.

Physical and Emotional Effects of Mental Exhaustion

With its impact on cognitive functioning, mental fatigue has been known to decrease performance in cognitive tasks that require vigilance, sustained attention and divided attention.[1] While this can partially be caused by lower motivation levels, it can also be caused by the lack of mental resources available to process information and engage in a task properly.[1] Not only is there a lack of mental resources, but there is also an overstimulation of the frontal cortex that results in an inhibition to process information.[1] This results in slower response times and inability to detect errors or even hazards, which can cause risk to occupational safety, especially when driving or participating in physical activities. 

Not only does mental fatigue result in a decline of cognitive functioning, but it can also cause irritability and mood swings due to shifting hormones and emotional processing capacity. When mental fatigue sets in and mental resources are limited, the ability to process emotions and emotional shifts becomes more limited, which can cause you to snap faster, get frustrated quickly, and feel more emotionally unstable. 

While it may seem like mental fatigue would actually make it easier to fall asleep, it is quite the opposite. Studies show that people with jobs that have a higher cognitive workload actually report more cases of insomnia or difficulty falling and staying asleep.[3] This causes a cycle, because lack of sleep results in increased feelings of mental fatigue as well. With lack of sleep also comes other impacts to physical health and declined immune function, which can increase the risk of getting sick and inhibit recovery from sickness. This can also lead to job burnout in the long term.[4] 

Relationship Between Mental Fatigue and Stress

Despite seemingly similar symptoms and causes, there is actually quite a big difference between stress and mental fatigue. Stress is defined as the hormonal response to a single stressor, whereas mental fatigue is the cognitive response to a continuously heightened mental load.[1] So, stress can be induced by a single stimulus, while mental fatigue requires an accumulation of mental stimuli. Additionally, stress increases production of cortisol and adrenaline, producing the fight or flight feeling, while mental fatigue is not accompanied by that feeling of panic or frustration. 

Even though they are slightly different in cause and effect, stress can cause cognitive impairment and more chronic stress can result in prolonged mental fatigue.[1] While they are not necessarily a package deal, it is important to recognize that stress and mental fatigue can be related in order to prevent any more serious symptoms of both. To name a few ways to mitigate prolonged stress, try daily meditation, increasing exercise, and eating a healthy diet.

Effective Coping Mechanisms for Mental Fatigue

Whether you have an intense career, multiple children in their toddler years, or have recently dealt with a stressful life or family event, mental fatigue is a serious possibility and it is important to make an effort to combat it. By mitigating mental fatigue you can ensure increased productivity, improved sleep, and enhanced cognitive function even during more mundane tasks. See our guide on productivity hacks for more information.

Prioritizing Self-Care and Rest

The importance of sleep is often ignored, however, a consistent sleep routine is important to regulate hormones and give your brain the chance to recharge.[5] Even when life gets demanding, prioritizing a full 8 hours of sleep can improve cognitive processing, increase alertness, and better regulate stress levels, allowing your body and mind to feel more balanced and relaxed. 

By incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine, you can also start to minimize the threat of mental fatigue. This could be as simple as taking a 15 minute break to try mindful breathing, or as intense as extended morning meditation, but in any capacity, you will surely feel the benefits. Instead of pushing through mental fatigue in an effort to complete an assignment or finalize a project, you can take a quick walk or break for lunch, and chances are, you will return to your computer feeling refreshed and more capable.

Because mental fatigue is closely related to motivation and interest, avoiding burnout is an important aspect of avoiding mental fatigue as well. By setting specific boundaries around working hours and identifying a work-life balance that works for you, you can avoid burnout and help preserve your motivation levels. 

Healthy Habits to Combat Mental Exhaustion

If you are still finding it difficult to find reprieve from extended periods of mental fatigue, try leaning on healthy lifestyle choices to support your other efforts. By eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated, you can better sustain your energy and provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs. Physical activity can also help to clear your mind and increase energy levels, so whether you are doing an intense cardio workout or something as simple and calming as yoga, the effects are the same – you will feel refreshed, energy levels will be restored, and hormonal release will boost your mood. 

With the constant distractions of our phones sitting in our back pocket, it might be difficult but it is important to also avoid screens as much as possible. Spending time scrolling on social media or binge watching the latest release might feel like a mental release, but it can actually cause more harm than good. Looking at screens all day can be hard on your eyes, make it harder to fall asleep, and actually increase feelings of mental fatigue. Instead, use more of your free time to take a walk and soak in some sunlight, or open a book and use reading as a way to calm your mind. 

Finally, in the growing age of adaptogens, people are starting to turn to natural plants like ashwagandha, rhodiola, and kava for energy and hormone regulation. While adaptogens work to bring the body to a state of homeostasis, they can also be extremely effective ways to minimize occasional stress, lift mood, improve sleep quality, and increase mental clarity, all of which can help to combat feelings of mental fatigue. 

Seeking Support and Professional Help

While many symptoms of mental fatigue can typically be handled on your own through lifestyle changes, it is important to lean on friends, family, or medical professionals if symptoms become unmanageable. With its potential to cause motorway accidents or detrimental errors at work, mental fatigue should be taken seriously.

Importance of Social Connections and Community

With mental fatigue typically accompanied by feelings of being overwhelmed by too much work or too many personal things that are adding to your mental load, it can be extremely helpful to lean on loved ones to talk through everything. By talking to your partner, parents, or friends who may have experienced similar feelings of mental fatigue in the past or maybe can currently relate, you can come up with some solutions to re-prioritize things, find assistance, or off-load something. If that still isn’t enough, it is always worthwhile to seek guidance from mental health professionals or therapists. While they can’t solve your problems for you, they can provide helpful tools that can help you work through things more effectively.

When to Consider Therapy or Counseling

Considering therapy or counseling might feel a bit daunting, but the options are truly endless. From in-person support to digital apps built to connect patients with therapists online, finding access to support that works within your schedule is easy. If you have noticed any of the symptoms of mental fatigue like irritability, trouble focusing, exhaustion, or difficulty processing new information, it might be worthwhile to speak to a professional. There is no harm in seeking support and the benefits of therapy are endless, so finding help sooner rather than later is always best. 

Elevate Your Well-being with Botanic Tonics

With busy lives riddled with work, family responsibility, personal commitments, and health routines, reaching a point of mental fatigue is not hard to do. As your mental load piles up, it is natural for mental exhaustion to ensue, especially if you are having a hard time getting adequate sleep or not fueling your body with a healthy diet. By making an effort to practice mindfulness, find motivation in your career, improve sleep routines, and eat a more nutrient rich diet, you can avoid mental fatigue even in the midst of a busy schedule. 

If mental fatigue is still creeping in, try supporting a mindfulness routine with adaptogens that work to neutralize your body. An easy one to add to your routine is feel free CLASSIC tonic by Botanic Tonics. With a balanced mix of kava and other ancient botanicals, these kava kratom tonics are made to increase feelings of relaxation by lifting mood, boosting energy, and enhancing focus. Available as either a tonic or capsules, these easy to consume supplements are ready for you whenever you might be craving tranquility.

Find zen amidst the chaos with Botanic Tonics


  1. Understanding mental fatigue and its detection: a comparative analysis of assessments and tools National Library of Medicine 2023 
  2. 9 Signs You’re Struggling With Mental Exhaustion Armen Clinics 2023 
  3. Signs you’re mentally exhausted WebMD 2024 
  4. Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? Mayo Clinic
  5. How to treat and prevent mental exhaustion Healthline 

About The Author

Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

Jamal Bouie

Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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