Tired woman at office desk


Stress can affect your life in many ways from physical to mental. Dealing with situations that are beyond our control can put a strain on our lives and in return that strain causes stress. This stress can affect your body, your health, and your mood. There are lots of symptoms of stress but does stress cause fatigue and if so how do you deal with it?

The short answer is – yes stress can cause fatigue but there are many ways it can cause it. Stress fatigue can be both mental or physical so it is best to first know what causes fatigue and how to deal with it.

Physical exhaustion vs Stress exhaustion

When you don’t get enough sleep at night, you may feel tired or drowsy. You may have trouble focusing the next day and concentrating on a certain task that you need to perform. Not getting enough sleep can naturally make anyone feel tired. But this can be relieved when your body gets a chance to rejuvenate. But stress exhaustion is not the same.

For sufferers of chronic stress, exhaustion goes way beyond just feeling sleepy. Stress can cause you to have to deal with headaches, body aches, and digestive problems. You may be worried about things, anxious all the time, and exhausted both physically and mentally. You will have trouble sleeping which only adds to the exhaustion and makes it even harder to function each day adding to your stress.

What is Stress Fatigue?

Fatigue is defined as tiredness, reduced energy, physical or mental exhaustion, or lack of motivation. It can be caused by something psychological, physiological, and physical. Physiological exhaustion is more common than tiredness caused by physical exhaustion.

When your fatigue comes from stress it is different from physical tiredness because it is a mental exhaustion. It can be caused by the constant worrying and anxiety you experience from stressing. You ever heard the term “mentally exhausted”? Well, it actually holds some truth.

Your thoughts and emotions can cause a psychological and physiological strain on your mind which makes it difficult to sleep and function. The chronic stress you may have been dealing with may have made it difficult for you to realize the difference and you may have pushed it off as normal tiredness.

Symptoms of Stress Fatigue

Fatigue can generally cause you to feel tired or drowsy but stress fatigue usually is accompanied by these other symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Moodiness, irritability or easily agitated
  • Dizziness or blurred vision
  • Sore achy muscles or feeling of weak muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Short term memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Difficulty making decisions or slowed reflexes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling like your actions are useless or like you can’t change your situation

woman sleep at desk

What to Do

When anyone faces chronic stress that is causing physiological, psychological, or physical issues the first and best thing you can do is reduce the stress in your life. Reducing stress can help you immediately feel better and prevent issues long-term. Here are some of the best ways to help reduce stress and alleviate stress fatigue.

  • Identify your stressors– If you are feeling stressed take the time to write down how you feel, what your thoughts are, and what you think is causing this stress. This way you can develop a plan of action to help you cope with the situation. Keeping a journal is a great stress reliever and is the best way for you to set realistic expectations for yourself which will help you relieve stress.
  • Take a walk – When you are feeling angry the best thing to do is walk away so you can rethink the situation and come back with a better reaction. This not only helps you relieve some stress but it prevents you from saying something you would regret.
  • Exercise – Physical activity is one of the best ways to help you blow off some steam. Plus working out helps increase your endorphins which naturally reduces stress. Walking every day will not only help keep you in shape but it will help keep your mind in focus.
  • Take time for yourself – When you are busy, you tend to forget about what is important and that is you. I know we have responsibilities and they need to get done, but they can’t get done if you don’t feel well enough to do them. By taking time to do the things you love you will allow your mind to wind down from your long busy days. Read a book, take a bath, color in an adult coloring book. You can do anything you love!
  • Rest – Stress, as you may already know, can make it very difficult to sleep. So it is important you do everything you need to ensure you sleep properly. Practice good sleep hygiene by making sure you go to sleep the same time every night. Cut back on caffeine and eliminate the use of computers, tablets, and phones before bed. Try yoga to help you relax. Use an essential oil diffuser in your room to help you sleep better.


Stress can sadly cause a lot of wear and tear on our bodies including fatigue. This fatigue is not the same as feeling tired from a long day of work. It causes a mental exhaustion that you can not recover from. Eliminating as much stress in your life is the only way for you to get your body back in focus and help give you the rejuvenation a good nights rest would normally give you.

Start by identifying what is causing your stress, that way you have a better outlook and can understand what steps you should take to help your situation. There are many different techniques you can use to help relieve stress and all of these techniques would be very useful in helping you get your life back on track. Getting exercise is a great place to start and there are many exercises you can use to help you reduce stress.

Ignoring the problem should never be an option, it will not help it go away.

Remember to talk with a health professional before starting any exercise program and if you feel like you need any further help or have any further questions.

So what do you think, do you think you might have stress fatigue? I would love to hear about it below!


14 thoughts on “Does Stress Cause Fatigue? What Can You Do About It?”

  1. Hi Melissa,

    Great post! I have suffered from both at different times and certainly physical exhaustion is a lot better feeling than stress as I tend to hit the pillow and sleep for hours from physical exhaustion.

    Stress certainly causes fatigue for me and the tips you offer are spot on. Doing some exercise, meditation, getting up half hour earlier and going to bed earlier have all helped me and certainly eating healthy all help. Thanks for a great post,


    1. Hi Kev,
      I am glad to hear you have found ways to deal with your stress fatigue. You are right it sure does feel different from physical exhaustion. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Melissa,

    We all have stress in our lives, and yes, one of the most important things we can do is identify the root cause. You have excellent ideas for dealing with stress. It’s important we all take time out for ourselves. Thanks for the excellent post.


    1. Hi Jeff,
      Yes, sadly we all do have stress and identifying the cause helps you learn the solution. I am glad you found the post useful. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for this informative post. I think more and more people suffer from this and they don’t realize it. My son has severe anxiety issues and is medicated. But on top of that, the counsellors have recommended everything you just said. It’s helped him enormously.

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Yes I agree, many of us are unaware our fatigue is more than just exhaustion from activities. I am glad your son got the help he needed. Thanks for the comment and blessings to you too!

  4. I am so glad I came across your blog post, Melissa. I’m making major changes in my life and most certainly have stress fatigue; but until reading your article, I did not understand it was stress fatigue. Now I can take steps to reduce the stress (because I’ve created it all by myself!). I often find myself skipping the exercise when I’m stressed and know it’s the absolute wrong path to take. Your article was a great reminder that I’ll get more energy back by spending a little energy. Thanks!

    1. Hi Leissa,
      I am glad you found the article useful. Sadly many of us are walking around unaware that we had stress fatigue but lucky for you, you can know take steps to help yourself. I like that – “spend energy to get some energy” that is perfect. I wish you all the best, thanks for the comment!

  5. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for the information. Yes, we all have stresss. I always take a walk when I am stressful. Your tips are great.
    – Christine

    1. Hi Christine,
      I am glad you found the tips useful. Yes, walking is a great way to relieve stress and a simple way to get in some exercise. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Hi Melissa, Thank you for all the tips on relieving stress. This post was just what I needed to read now as have a lot of stress having a husband with a mental disease. Kind regards, Jill

    1. Hi Jill,
      Taking care of your loved ones facing different ailments can be very stressful. When I was much sicker(I am epileptic), my husband had to do a lot more around the house and take care of a lot of responsibilities as well as the kids and such and I know it caused him a lot of stress. So knowing ways to help you alleviate as much stress as possible is important. Not only do you have to take care of your health in your case you have someone relying on you. Just remember not to neglect yourself, which I know may be difficult but you still need that time to yourself to help you relax and rejuvenate. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Thank you for the informative post Melissa. I do have quite a few things on my mind, and I try not to stress about them. But that’s easier said than done.

    I’ve had a number of those symptoms, thankfully jot the dizziness or blurred vision.

    I must take your advice and try and remove the stress from my life. So thank you and hopefully I will see an improvement in my lifestyle.

    1. Hi Owain,
      I am glad you found the article useful. We all face stress in our ways and we all have to find our own ways to alleviate that stress. I hope you will find what works for you to help give your body back the boost it needs and help prevent any further health issues. Thanks for the comment!

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