Recently one of my coaching clients used the term ‘decision fatigue’ to describe how he was feeling, and boy did it hit a nerve! It seems to me, the higher the uncertainty, the more energy it takes to make decisions. Being a decisive person, I’ve found myself over the past year ‘suspending’ many decisions. Why? Well, I suspect as many are experiencing, there are a lot of unknowns in moving forward. Unknowns have always been and will always be – however, 2020 certainly added layers of complexity!
The same day, I was talking with my mom and she used the term ‘weary’ to describe how she was feeling not having any variety to her day because of the limitations right now. The thought occurred to me that in many ways we are stuck in the tension between overwhelm (decision fatigue) and underwhelm (weary of the same).
I’ve felt both of these-decision fatigue and weariness. I recently had a horrible virus-not Covid-just your run of the mill virus that hung with me for over a week. Honestly all I could do was give in to it and allow the rest and recovery that my body needed. Not that I would wish illness on anyone, but because of the virus and having to just let go, I broke the tension I’ve been feeling for weeks between decision fatigue and weariness. Here are a few ‘practices’ that were somewhat forced on me when I was sick. I believe they helped me break that ‘tension.’ No virus required! Just try these practices and see what comes of them.
Sleep On It – I had a 5th grade teacher who’s answer to any request made (especially ones that would take us out of the normal routine) was, I’ll sleep on it and let you know. It used to drive me crazy, however half the time we would forget by the next day and that was probably his strategy! Often times, we react, or want to react. Our culture is one of urgency. It’s gotta happen and its gotta happen yesterday! If we can take a step back and sleep on it, we allow the space that effective decisions need! While I was ‘sleeping on it’ with illness, when I came out of it, I somehow had a better sense of what was really important.
Center Yourself – This is really a two-part practice.
First, silence your world! Just for a time, turn off your notifications, take a break from the excess noise of podcasts, tv, news, etc. Allow yourself to be with yourself without the constant feeding of the mind. This is the Static Balance – finding your centering point. Get quiet and go in – it’s really a beautiful place in there. It’s your heart and your essence. Being still and listening inward is a powerful practice.
Second, knowing your values and constantly re-prioritizing is that Dynamic Balance you need when so much around you is uncertain and in crises. When we know what is most important for us, we don’t feel ‘threatened’ by differences. In fact, it gives us the ability to be ok with the differences and better able to communicate our perspective. Re-prioritizing helps us to adjust when the situation calls for it. We don’t let go of our values but, for a time, we may need to re-prioritize. While I was sick, my value of health and well-being became center stage!
Change It Up – So for over a week, I could not work out, I could not really do much of anything which put me in the place of underwhelm. I felt like I was going to die of boredom but at the same time needed to take care of myself. I found a 1000-piece puzzle of a picture of a wildflower garden (now there’s a challenge!) that I had not put together yet. This was a great low energy activity. I also had a few books collecting dust that I picked up. It was amazing how changing up my normal routine and exploring just a few different activities took my mind off my limitations and allowed me to feel a bit challenged.
I have no doubt that many are feeling pandemic fatigue and that’s impacting our emotions and decisions. Allow yourself some space and see what creative ideas you come up with to help break that tension between the overwhelm and underwhelm. Create your own new norm because ‘going back to normal’ is gone!