Are you waking up feeling more tired than usual? Is your mind flooded with "all the things" that need to be done before Christmas?
I usually wake up by 6:30 or 7:00 and feel refreshed, but recently, I've been laying in bed a bit longer, not wanting to get up. I have to talk myself into starting my day and feel drained again by late morning. It takes me longer to process information and respond to people.
For example, yesterday, my daughter texted me and asked, 'What's for dinner," but I could not respond immediately. I had to think about it and still could not decide.
It is getting harder and harder to make simple decisions like what to wear or eat. My mind is sluggish, and I am putting things off. The dishes mound, the laundry sits, and I forget to look at my "to-do" list.
I'm "dropping the ball," my "inner critic" is yelling in my ear, and any traces of JOY have vanished!
It turns out I'm experiencing something called decision fatigue.
Yes, it's a real thing!
Social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister coined the term as the emotional and mental strain resulting from a burden of choices.
The average adult makes more than 35,000 decisions a day! Imagine how many more we make during the holidays?
My daily "decision load" has increased substantially; no wonder I have no energy!
Maybe you're feeling it too?
Decision fatigue typically shows up in two ways. Our brains default to impulsive decision-making or avoidance, and neither is helpful, especially this time of year! And when we are fatigued, we can feel cranky, overwhelmed, and stressed.
So what can we do to avoid burnout and reclaim our JOY?
Think of your SELF first! Follow each letter of the word S-E-L-F, and you will discover a path to easier decision-making, more energy, and ultimately freedom from decision fatigue.
Simplify—we ease the decision-making burden on our brains by simplifying our lives. One way to do that is with daily routines. A morning and evening routine provides an "auto-pilot" for the brain. Once a routine is established, we don't have to think about it anymore.
Expect less—during the holidays, we increase our expectations for what we can do. In addition to the daily "to-dos," now we have to think about decorating our home, planning meals, traveling, shopping, entertaining, and keeping the kids busy during the holiday break.
Whatever you decide to do—ask yourself:
How can I keep this simple?
What can I remove(live without)?
What is good enough?
Let it be easy—Our ADD brains complicate things way more than necessary. We develop multi-step plans that are unrealistic and end in disappointment. Whatever you do, let it be easy. Yes, easy. I love the following definitions of easy—: marked by peace and comfort and: free from pain, annoyance, or anxiety. Is what you are doing or planning EASY?
Focus on self-care—This is nothing new; we hear it all the time—even so, I notice many people (especially moms) ignore this step. We say things like, "Yeah, yeah, I'll get to that once I finish this or the other," or we think self-care means spending an entire afternoon at the spa. In the end, we conclude that there is no time. It has helped me think of self-care not as a big gesture but as little "acts of kindness" toward myself. When we practice offering ourselves kindness in small doses and do it multiple times a day, we feel better, have more energy, and bring JOY back into our lives.
Self-care is doable in small, bite-size pieces. You can do these mini acts of kindness in 10 minutes or less.
Take 5 minutes to savor your tea or coffee.
Light a favorite candle and let the scent fill the air
Do a 10-minute mini yoga routine
Call a friend
Turn on the music you enjoy
Take mini-breaks in between tasks
Step outside and take a few deep breaths
Do a 5-minute affirmation meditation
If you're feeling tired, grumpy, or unmotivated, give your S E L F time to reconsider your "to-do list" and carve out little ways to start practicing these steps. As we often suggest, and to keep things simple, choose one area to focus on.
What can you do today to Simplify, Expect Less, Let it be EASY, and practice Self-Care? Leave a comment below and let us know how you RECLAIM YOUR JOY!
Coco and Vicky
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