Mental fatigue is most devastating to self-esteem and relationships. When the body's resources are strained, the body focuses its energy on essential physical systems. Mental processes shut down. Balancing the checkbook as you usually do suddenly may seem confusing. Planning your daily schedule may be overwhelming. Easy questions may evoke a sharp response because you don 't understand what is being asked. You simply can't process information as well as you usually do, no matter how hard you try.
Mental fatigue is disruptive because, at first, neither you nor your family may realize what is happening. You may seem cranky or uncooperative rather than tired. Be aware that you may be experiencing severe fatigue. The awareness can help both you and your family avoid stress.
For example, if you are having trouble with the checkbook or a legal document or following a story, take time out. Rest or sleep, then try again. Do important work when you are at your best. For some, that is in the morning; for others, it may be later in the day or after a nap.
You and your family need to look out for signs that you need rest, such as body language or lessened ability to participate in conversations. Learning to recognize the signs will help you stop before you become over- tired, and before you and your family make decisions based on frustration rather than careful consideration of the facts and options.
To accommodate fatigue, you may need to work fewer hours each day; you will certainly have to pace your activities. Busy days, whether family gatherings or trips to the medical center, may need to be followed by days of rest.
You may need to set aside time each day for rest.
Scheduling of activities will become important in order to avoid planning too many things on one day. If you plan to go to work in the afternoon, you probably should not do household chores in the morning.
One way to save energy is to ask friends to come over instead of visiting them. Instead of cooking dinner, meet at a restaurant, order a pizza or ask your visitors to bring food.