Every day is filled with different decisions—what to eat for dinner, whether to meet up with friends, what to wear to work, and so on. While many of these decisions are low-stakes, the pandemic has added a new level of stress to every decision. For example, is it safe to go to a restaurant for dinner, or when is the best time to go grocery shopping to avoid crowds? With this added weight in the decision-making process, decision fatigue may set in.

Decision fatigue may have you feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and stressed. As a result, you might experience widespread effects on your health, such as reduced self-control, reduced physical stamina, and a lack of mental focus. Yet, you may not even realize that decision fatigue is the source of your stress. Here are some of the signs to watch for.

  1. You procrastinate. You may find yourself thinking “I can’t deal with this right now,” or “I’ll finish this later”. But often, procrastination only leads to more stress in the long-run, leaving you constantly feeling behind.
  2. You make quick, impulsive decisions that you’re not really happy with. Impulsivity and poor self-control may be a quick way around decision making but can have you struggling. For example, you may find yourself eating less healthy foods, opting for take-out or junk food more frequently.
  3. You say no more often. When you feel overwhelmed, your instinct may be to shut off entirely, saying no more often and avoiding situations you might otherwise want to be a part of like social gatherings or time at the gym.
  4. Everyday decisions prove increasingly stressful. Are you experiencing more irritability and anxiety related to planning your day? You may even have physical symptoms like headaches or stomach upset that are stemming from your stress.

Decision fatigue isn’t uncommon, but it is a burden you can overcome. If you’re struggling with the issues described above, talking to a therapist can help you take a positive step in the right direction. Connect with a licensed mental health provider in as little as 24 hours with MeMD.

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