Managing Decision Fatigue: Seven Tips for Finding Clarity as Life Returns to Normal

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Feeling a bit “off”? You are not alone.

As life returns to normal, many of us are looking forward to fun events and celebrations with family and friends. Yet, amid the excitement, some people are noticing that they are a bit “off.” If you have been a little more tired or scattered than usual, you are not alone, especially if you are a caregiver.

That “off” feeling – brain fog, tiredness, forgetfulness – may be decision fatigue. While life returning to normal is positive and welcome, it is also another change, and that brings more to think about. Positive changes can be stressful, too!

Fortunately, decision fatigue is temporary, normal, and manageable. Read on for the signs of decision fatigue, and seven tips for finding clarity and confidence in your decisions, so that you can enjoy the positive changes ahead.

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision fatigue is the concept that the more decisions you make in a short time, the more challenging decision making becomes. Each decision takes some mental energy. After making a lot of decisions, your energy may be depleted.

Decision fatigue is common among caregivers. Even under normal circumstances, caring for a senior loved one means weighing many complex variables and options when making decisions about their health and wellbeing.

Signs of decision fatigue include:

  • Tiredness. Normal tasks – even fun ones – may take more energy than usual.
  • Brian fog. Brain fog is just what it sounds like: feeling spacey, disconnected, or not at your sharpest.
  • Procrastination. Procrastinating more than usual or avoiding items on your to-do list may mean you are low on decision-making energy.
  • More impulse purchases. You might notice that you are more susceptible to impulse purchases, or that it is tougher to turn down tempting treats. Willpower takes a lot of energy, and it may be time to recharge.

image of residents on a clear beach

Find Clarity: Seven Tips for Managing Decision Fatigue as Life Returns to Normal

Fortunately, there are ways to manage decision fatigue and make sure that your energy is going toward making the right decisions.

1. Acknowledge it!

Decisions big and small may be challenging right now, and that is normal. It will pass as we all adapt to new routines.

2. Simplify.

Put some decisions on auto-pilot. Steve Jobs famously wore the same clothes every day so that he had more energy for business decisions. What can you simplify? You might try eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, or going for a walk at the same time every day.

3. Make big decisions when you’re most likely to have energy.

Whether it is a decision about a loved one’s care or a major project at work, schedule a time when you are most likely to be refreshed. Mornings can be ideal. In the morning, you will have made fewer decisions for the day than you would have in the evening. There is a reason why “sleep on it” is good advice!

4. Be realistic.

Be realistic about what you can reasonably get done in a day now. Let yourself off the hook for small decisions that really can wait.

5. Remove distractions.

Focus on one thing at a time when possible. For example, put away your phone while having in-person conversations. Or, try driving with the radio off, or playing music without words.

6. Take a time-out.

If you notice you are having a particularly scattered or forgetful moment, sit back and take five deep breaths, go for a short walk around the block, or play with a pet.

7. Self-care.

What recharges your batteries? Even activities you are excited about may take more energy these days, so look for simple ways to recharge, whether that is reading a few pages from a funny book or sitting outside with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning.

Accepting decision fatigue as a temporary situation and doing what you can to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day can go a long way toward feeling clearer and making good choices.

Here at Sunnyside Manor, we recognize and honor the many decisions that dedicated caregivers make for their loved ones each and every day. We look forward to continuing to connect with our community, and wish everyone a safe and happy summer.

Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor

When it is time to make decisions about senior living, we are here to help. Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, begin with our “Getting Started” guide. Please call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.

Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

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