Fatigue is a symptom of anxiety that can keep you from fulfilling the expectations that you have of yourself, and from meeting the expectations that the modern world has of you. Problems in your personal life, social life, and career are a common result of anxiety fatigue. The following article will describe the difficulties anxiety fatigue may be causing in your life and what you can do to overcome it.
Fatigue = Anxiety?
It can be hard to figure out the cause of your fatigue, and some people start to worry that their fatigue can mean something more. Try to learn as much about your anxiety as possible first and how to cure it with my free 7-minute anxiety test.
Causes of Anxiety Fatigue
Fatigue from anxiety is often difficult to understand. It happens after prolonged anxiety, such as an anxiety attack or a situation that causes significant stress. It's a common symptom of almost every type of anxiety, even though in some ways anxiety keeps you awake. Make sure you take my anxiety test first.
What's interesting is that the exact link between anxiety and fatigue isn't well known. Most likely, fatigue is caused simply as a result of your brain being overwhelmed with anxiety. Don't forget that anxiety affects your brain, your neurotransmitters, your hormones, your muscles, and even your nutrition. It's not unlikely that after severe anxiety, your mind wants to rest to recoup some of those changes.
How Anxiety Fatigue May Be Affecting Your Life
The physical manifestations of fatigue such as impaired memory and concentration, slower mental processes, apathy, drowsiness, and weakness can be a significant burden when trying to cope with the challenges of modern-day living such as those listed below.
- Social Networking and Staying in Touch Staying in touch and socially present becomes much more difficult when you are fatigued. You find yourself having to tell people who ask you out for lunch that you are too tired to go, forgetting plans and appointments, and avoiding others due to the energy requirements of socializing. This can hurt the feelings of your friends, coworkers, significant others and even strangers who don't understand your distant behavior. Also, if you lack the drive to build and maintain social networks due to your anxiety fatigue, you run the risk of being excluded. In turn, exclusion and hurt feelings can cause more stress in your life, resulting in a vicious cycle of anxiety, fatigue, and more anxiety.
- Keeping Up With News and Trends Anxiety fatigue can lead to apathy in regards to popular media, current events, or keeping up your appearance regarding fashion. The world around you seems to become less important as your body and brain become more occupied with their struggles to function properly. A resulting inability to engage in an average conversation can lead to a disconnect with the people you know and meet, as well as feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- Your Busy Schedule In the modern world, there seems to be no end of things you are expected to do. You are expected to be answering your phone, driving from place to place or catching buses, getting to meetings on time and picking up groceries. When you are fatigued, simple things like having a phone conversation or driving yourself to work become complicated and even potentially hazardous. An inability to concentrate, as well as tiredness and slower reaction times, can mean that you do things like misunderstand important messages or crash your car, which further complicates your already busy days.
- Job Competition Job competition in the modern world is fierce, and being at your best when at work can be crucial to maintaining a good life for yourself, and/or your family. When you are suffering from anxiety fatigue, it means you are not able to perform as well in any situation as you otherwise would be. This can be detrimental to customer service, to managing others, to getting along with coworkers, to almost any other part of your job you can think of. Work is one of the places where your competence matters most, and where you literally can't afford to struggle.
- A Healthy Family Life If you have an immediate family with whom you are close, you will probably find that anxiety fatigue makes relations within the family more strained than they should be. Forgetting important dates, or being too tired or weak to help out with kids or with chores around the house can cause disagreements, frustration, and general unhappiness. Being present in a family takes energy, as does maintaining familial relationships despite the stress, both of which become even more challenging when you are experiencing anxiety fatigue.
Being fatigued due to anxiety in the busy and often stressful modern world is likely to cause you social, personal and occupational problems that result in even more stress. It is important to stop the cycle before it starts, which you can do by decreasing your anxiety using the tips below.
How to Overcome Anxiety Fatigue
These tips for overcoming anxiety fatigue and the problems it causes will help you to keep your life in balance even when you are feeling off-balance yourself.
- Be Open With Others Telling your friends and even people you are meeting for the first time that you have been going through a rough time lately, or that you aren't feeling like yourself, can help to understand that your behavior is not intended to distance you from them. A way to keep up with friends and help remember dates is to start keeping an online journal, blog, or Twitter account, where you can post about your days and your plans for the future and invite your friends to follow or check it.
- Get Involved A big part of staying connected to the modern world is finding ways to stay up to date. Many people with anxiety problems are disinclined to follow the news closely because of the potential for violent or upsetting stories, but it may benefit you to at least read online news or scan social networking sites occasionally to find out what people are talking about and Google the things you don't understand. If you make it part of your daily ritual, like showering or brushing your teeth, you will find that you are staying better connected with people around you who can provide you with much-needed support when you need it.
- Stay Active Anyway It may be hard to do, but you should strongly consider staying active anyway, despite the fatigue. Train your mind to overcome it by making sure that you don't merely go to sleep or withdraw from others. While it may be hard to focus and you may feel tired, time out creating new memories can be extremely advantageous. You should also consider exercising more because exercise both reduces anxiety and gives the mind more energy.
- Be Kind to Others If and when others become frustrated with your inability to function normally, bear in mind the fact that you are not functioning normally and need to explain your behavior when others don't understand it. Becoming upset at others for not understanding or assuming that they aren't paying enough attention will only increase the severity of unnecessary relationship problems stemming from your anxiety fatigue. Being patient and as transparent as possible is crucial to maintaining healthy relationships during this time.
When you are careful with yourself and with those around you, you can decrease the amount of additional anxiety your anxiety fatigue may be causing you. In turn, this can help you to reduce your fatigue and make you feel more like yourself again. Keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind, maintaining your relationships with friends and family, and doing well at work are all crucial steps towards decreasing your overall anxiety levels and leading the calm and balanced life you want to live.
I've helped thousands of people struggling with anxiety fatigue control their symptoms starting with my free 7-minute anxiety test. Take the test now to find out more about your fatigue and what you can do to stop it.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Nov 27, 2017.