Do you have “decision fatigue?”

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On February 3, 2022

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In addition to all the feelings you have to navigate, a DUI arrest also presents many important decisions to consider. How do I talk to my family about this? Should I tell my boss? Do I need to hire an attorney? Which attorney do I choose?  Should I even bother requesting a DMV hearing?

Often a DUI arrest is the result of using alcohol as a coping mechanism for general life stressors – like the day-to-day decisions we’re faced with already. Every second of our waking life presents us with options and choices, both big and small. We are literally making thousands of decisions each day. And the stress of constant decision-making can wear on our mental health. So, when you add the burden of a DUI arrest to the long list of things to act on, it’s reasonable to feel helpless and even paralyzed. The good news is, you’re not alone. The better news is, there are things you can do to feel in control again.

What is decision fatigue?

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of making decisions is known as decision fatigue. The concept of which is pretty straightforward. Basically, a human’s ability to make decisions can get worse after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued. And in addition to having trouble making decisions, studies have found that the quality of those choices actually declines after an extensive period of decision-making. So, having too many choices to make can cause you to feel drained and stressed, leading to procrastination and unhealthy decision making.

How to overcome decision fatigue

So, what do you do to improve your mental health and overcome decision fatigue? Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to keep your mind clear and energized.

Put sleep on your side

Sleep is vitally important for willpower and decision-making. If you’re struggling with a difficult decision at night, rather than ruminating on it before turning in, put it to bed for the night and sleep on it! Decision fatigue tends to accumulate over the day and sleep restores energy so you’re better able to face things. It’s not that those decisions are all better in the morning, it’s that you’re better.

Simplify your routines

Decisions take energy. So, cut down on the number of decisions you need to make by simplifying your routine. You could try eating the same breakfast during the week or even plan out your weekly wardrobe so you don’t have to decide what to wear in the moment. Routines turn into habits – actions performed without conscious thought. Instead of spending time picking out an outfit first thing in the morning, conserve your energy for bigger tasks and decisions.

Make a list and prioritize!

Writing things down helps get thoughts off your mind and onto paper. Studies show that journaling can help reduce stress, relieve symptoms of depression, and increase resilience. Try writing down the top 3 tasks you want to complete or decisions you need to make as a good way to organize your thoughts and keep stress in check.

Give your expectations a reality check

Remind yourself that good enough is almost always good enough. Not every decision is going to be irreversible or determine the path of your life. If you’re not happy with the results of your initial choice, more often than not you can change course.

Ask for help

The pressure to make decisions on our own can be overwhelming — even emotionally exhausting. When faced with difficult decisions, it may help to reach out to a trusted friend or family member. You can talk through your choices together. Connecting with others can be a helpful way to cope and make decisions, especially during uncertain or stressful times.

Make time for self-care

Life often ushers you into directions that distract you from making self-care a priority. But the truth is, self-care doesn’t have to be indulgent or time consuming.  Deep breathing, stretching, and taking a moment to focus on how you’re feeling is a good way to slow down and give your mind a rest. You’ll then be re-energized and ready to make decisions with a clearer mind.

All-in-all, be alert to signs of decision fatigue and act accordingly. If you’ve had a demanding day that was filled with lots of decisions, put off making another one, if you can, or take a long breather and come back to it. If things that wouldn’t normally irritate you start bothering you, consider that a sign that you may not be in the optimal state of mind to make a major decision. Because at the end of the day, awareness and recognition around our bodies and minds, and what may be impacting our decision-making, is essential to move forward toward strengthening our mental health and well-being.

Call Reynolds Defense Firm

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI arrest call Reynolds Defense Firm, at (503) 549-4590. We can help answer your many questions and help you figure out the best next steps for you and your family – so you can find peace of mind now. At the risk of sounding immodest, we are very good at what we do.

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