Decision fatigue is a very real concept. Also known as ego depletion, the concept is described as the inability to make decisions after making multiple choices in a short time. Sounds familiar? Well, if you feel mentally exhausted after just one day, maybe that’s because answering simple questions such as what food will you be eating, or what tasks will you be doing for a day can contribute to decision fatigue:
As much as we longed for our social freedom throughout 2020, psychologist Lee Chambers believes that it's the blurred boundaries of normality and restrictions that are causing 'micro stresses' among us. “From deciding what to wear and which activities to start again to even simply how to greet other people, many clients are finding themselves overwhelmed trying to build a new post-lockdown routine,” he explains. “There are also the expectations of others now that we are venturing outside our domestic environment more often – some are struggling to say 'no' while others are struggling to find their own pace. Some of my clients are already suffering elements of social burnout, and the cognitive processing of making more decisions is playing a part in that.”
While we're all guilty of making bad choices at one time or another (Buffalo platforms anyone?), we know all too well the implications of poor decision-making when we're stressed or tired. “The impact is even more prevalent should those decisions be challenging and, to put it in simple terms, a day of constant decision-making will leave us depleted and more likely to make poor choices or not make a choice at all,” Chambers explains. “It's a natural way as humans that we protect ourselves from mental strain and cognitive fatigue.”
To learn how we can cope with decision fatigue, check Harper Bazaar’s full piece here.
Image credit: Kelly Sikkema