How are you? No, really?

Have you had mornings when you wake up and are just “off”?

You’re not ill or hungry, not really sad and the job is well… the job. Your family and friends are fine too. You’re not having any problems sleeping too but you feel tired and a good way to describe it may be ”my spirit is tired and I feel kind of disconnected but I am not sure from what”.

If you complain, you could have a hard time finding someone who understands, although many of the people I’ve lately spoken with have had similar feelings. The truth is that this year has been challenging for all of us. Working in a semi-post-COVID environment has required a delicate balancing act. The stress of working and living with all of the security and economic issues takes its toll, and this does not even take into account our individual situations.

So, if you have found yourself;

  1. Asking people to make the same point more than once
  2. Reviewing simple information more than once just to understand it
  3. In an online meeting but having absolutely no idea what was said several minutes ago more than once
  4. Being uncharacteristically snappy at colleagues, family, and people in general.

Then you just might be mentally fatigued. Mental fatigue is one of those things that is difficult to attribute to one causative factor. The causes can be cognitive – taking on too much without realizing it, or physical – inadequate sleep, poor nutrition, bad work posture, or even some chemical imbalances.

So, how do you deal with it? A few tips in no particular order:

  1. Ask yourself how you really feel, write those down. Then ask yourself what would really make you happy. Write that down too.
  2. Give yourself some good food. No soda or fizzy drinks. Make sure to plan and prepare your next few meals because if you wait until you’re hungry, then fast foods will be tempting. Get some nuts, fruits, and crackers around you for snacks. Drink lots of water, at least 2 liters a day, and do an exclusive fruit smoothie cleanse for a few days.
  3. Take some days off work and do things you actually enjoy: start a new book, find a new podcast to listen to, go see a movie, eat out with a loved one, take pictures and see if your smile has changed.
  4. Get some good sleep! here are some tips;
  5. Fix a time for sleep and stick to it much as you can.
  6. Turn the air conditioner on 5-10 mins before you go to bed if you have power
  7. Ensure the room is dark and keep your phone away.
  8. Take a shower just before you sleep-the lower the temperature is, the better your likelihood to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.
  9. Find some relaxing sounds to play as you sleep- rain on a tin roof and waves on a beach are my go-to sounds for sleep (there are a lot on YouTube)
  10. Find out what times of the day you are most energetic in and try to fit your most difficult tasks around those times, then do less demanding tasks at other times. Use a to-do list so that you can prioritize things that are important daily.
  11. Start the habit of taking breaks from high-intensity work. While on break, take a short walk outside, talk to someone for a few minutes about things unrelated to work. Even better when you do both simultaneously.

Getting out of mental exhaustion while in the middle of what could be causing it is difficult, so take a break, and even if you’re not mentally exhausted understand that it can come on insidiously. See all that has been said above and watch out for the signs.

If you need to talk to a professional about it, please use the telemedicine option on your plan or purchase a telemedicine plan if you do not have one from . Check the Hygeia HMO app or email us on if you need help.

Dr. Efobi

Editor: Alicia Gberikon

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