OVERWHELM. Increasingly, overwhelm is a constant state of being for many of us and especially for parents. Do you ever just wake up some morning and think “how the EFF did I/we get here?” There are tons of contributing factors, but one biggie is decision fatigue. We are worn out and down from too much choice and pressure. Yes, how first world right? It is, sure, but saying that really just shames us away of dealing with it. Thing is, it’s worth caring about because overwhelmed people make bad decisions, decisions that affect those around them. Burned out people are at a significantly higher risk for depression and anxiety and these mind states negatively affect everyone around them. The collective health of our minds and hearts is on the line and we deserve better so in turn we can do, be, and serve our world and loved ones better.
It seems like every decision we make is loaded with expectations created from the insane amount of information constantly coming our way (most of which is usually garbage.) It creates an internalized pressure to “be on” and “live our best life” all the time. It’s too much of too much and it’s impossible. Finally, mix in the dog and pony show that is social media and it’s the perfect recipe for system overload and shut down. Complete analysis paralysis.
No one is more inundated with expectation, pressure, and choice than the modern parent. It took becoming a parent and fighting constant burnout to see how much of my decision making process was affected by decision fatigue. I was too burned out to think about, dream about, and execute the big things, the stuff worth taking the deep dives on and it was bumming me out, big time. It’s a constant struggle not to play into the negative feelings that are sometimes a by-product of our modern culture. Over the past two years, I have come across a few tried and true strategies, that when consistently put into practice make life feel good, but most importantly, when I fall off the rails into chaos, overwhelm, and the weight of decision fatigue they get me back on track.
Shopping with a Plan
I don’t know about you, but shopping blind can be stressful. You usually buy more than you expected and come home only to realize your new items don’t really integrate that well into your wardrobe. A great way to avoid shopping blindly is to have at least a loose plan of what you are shopping for. Wardrobe planning and capsule collections are a great way to create a plan and go a long way to keeping your closet lean and full only of the pieces you wear frequently and love.
Capsule – Super cool new app that helps you find and organize your seasonal capsule collections based on what’s already in your wardrobe.
Pinterest - keep a general pin board of looks or pieces you love then as the new season approaches create a seasonal pin board and move over the pieces or looks you would like to see incorporated into you closet that season.
Automate Recurring Basics
God bless the Internet (sometimes). Subscription services can automate your day to day essentials. Sure there are a lot of fun box subscriptions, but what I’m talking about here are the subscription services that deliver your basic and necessary items on a recurring basis. So many commodity and basics products are now being offered via the web and Amazon. You can program almost if not all your essentials to be delivered directly to your home, as you need them, freeing up your shopping time and energy for occasion, emergency, and special project items. Some of our go to basic subscriptions listed below:
Beyond deciding what to eat and making a list, these two strategies save time energy every week.
The Go-To Meal - Pick one meal of the day that is always the same. Breakfast is an easy one to start with. This eliminates a decision first thing in the morning and creates efficiency in your weekly shopping because you always know what breakfast grocery items will be on your list for your weekly breakfast.
Routine Recipe Rotation - Study the way the week typically goes down to come up with a go to framework that takes some of decision making energy out of meal planning your weekday dinners and/or lunches. For example, on average we eat at home about 4 days a week. Monday night we are always wiped out and it’s the night I consistently have the least motivation to cook (or even prepare anything). I finally just made Monday our take out night. To make it even easier we always pick up from the same place and generally order the same thing. I always have a chicken night, where I make my go to baked chicken with a side. No recipe or crazy ingredients needed. Super simple and I can adapt the side or chicken seasoning to fit the food mood of my family that week. One day of the week is always reserved for a new recipe and finally, we usually have a left overs day where I will repurpose whatever we have in the fridge from the week. Keeping this “plan” each week removes the guess work of what are we going to eat tonight and makes our evenings more efficient and less stressful while still allowing me a day to indulge in my love for trying new recipes.
Live by the Calendar
If it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t really exist. With three busy lives to keep track off, having a command center of what’s going down day to day is crucial. Schedule everything, workouts, grocery shopping, meetings, playdates, etc… This is also insurance that stuff actually gets done and peace of mind that you aren’t forgetting something. Carve out a little time on Sunday to set up or adjust your calendar for the next week. This little weekend effort goes a long way to feeling ahead of the weekly game.