Since becoming a mom, decision fatigue is a topic that has really piqued my interest. Maybe that’s because I notice it more than I did before juggling the lives and schedules of 3 children. Perhaps it’s also because emails I send out that focus on decision fatigue are the most well-received. Actually, they tie for first with emails I write about the Cotswolds, but that makes sense. If we are plagued with decision fatigue, we also crave rest. And deep, restorative rest, especially as it relates to creativity, is a passion of mine. Both creativity and rest, however, are easily compromised when decision fatigue creeps in and threatens to upend either state of being.
The American Medical Association defines Decision Fatigue as “a state of mental overload that can impede a person’s ability to continue making decisions.” This is definitely how I felt recently, after Will returned from 9 days of travel. While his absence was made logistically easier by the fact that my kids are older and more helpful now, carrying the mental load on my own was depleting. Even once he returned, I felt stressed about trying to catch up on my work from a place of exhaustion. Recognizing that leaping right into any creative or administrative work would lead to less productivity and mediocre results, I opted to do the following instead.
1. I rested as much as possible. As in, I remained in my pjs, glasses, and messy bun the entire day and didn’t leave the house. In doing so, I eliminated a host of decisions in one fell swoop. Granted I still got some work done around the house, but the main thing is that I reduced the amount of decisions I needed to make by a lot and kept the type of decisions I needed to make to ones I could do without much effort.
2. I meal-planned for the week. Usually on my drive to church every week I look at our schedule and plan out our dinners as well as make the grocery list. This reduces last-minute decisions, late-afternoon meal stress, extra runs to the store, buying things I don’t need, and guilt for poor food choices. I usually don’t plan out weekend meals, but do have extra things on hand for easy weekend dinners. I’m a major advocate of meal planning primarily because of how much it cuts down on decision fatigue and stress!
For more of my favourite ideas on Meal Planning as a way to reduce Decision Fatigue click HERE.
It’s amazing how much more clarity, energy, and confidence I had after taking time to rest, plan, and clear my head!
3. I did a brain dump of all my to-dos. And this time it just happened to be during the Sunday sermon. Next to my journaling Bible where I was taking notes, I kept a blank page of my notebook open and whenever something to do popped into my mind, I was able to jot it down, let it go, and re-focus on the sermon rather than letting my mind wander and miss the next 10 minutes. Jotting things on paper also keeps me from going down internet rabbit holes on my phone, and my list is easy to return to once I have some time to schedule my to-do’s in my calendar.
It’s amazing how much more clarity, energy, and confidence I had after taking time to rest, plan, and clear my head! While sometimes I happen to find myself in the creative flow with the energy to buckle down and produce my best work, I often need to prepare mentally and physically for this to happen. When I’m experiencing decision fatigue, my brain and body need a little more preparation for the work ahead, and it’s always well-worth the effort!
For 5 Ways that helped me to Combat Decision Fatigue, click HERE. And if taking an intentional rest from it all is what you need, click HERE to find out more about my Women’s Walking Retreat in the Cotswolds and how you can find inspiration & restoration as we walk together through the English countryside.