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2460 Burton St SE #101, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
In Person and Online Therapy Sessions Available | (616) 309 0737
2460 Burton St SE #101, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

How to Handle Decision Fatigue

We were promised that modern technology would simplify our lives. If only. Ask anyone you know and they’ll confirm that they are making more decisions than ever these days — and it can take a toll. Decision fatigue may not be a diagnosable mental health condition, but it can sure feel like one. The sheer volume of choices we make each day can be draining.

When experiencing decision fatigue, you can slip into a state of numbness. Even the most basic of choices feel overwhelming and you just need a break. Left unchecked, this trend can lead to some very unhealthy, impaired decisions being made.

What Causes Decision Fatigue?

stressed man on his desk

Everyone experiences brief bouts of decision fatigue and it’s no cause for concern. However, some circumstances increase the likelihood that this malady can linger and worsen, for example:


Some days or weeks are more stressful than others. This reality can affect all aspects of our life. Making decisions becomes burdensome and exhausting. If you’re in the middle of a big life event — good or bad — even the simplest choice is daunting.  

Your Particular Lifestyle

Some folks have a position (job, household, etc.) that calls on them to make plenty of decisions. Often, those decisions can have an impact on the lives of others. Obviously, this can add up and create a general sense of fatigue. 

Being Exhausted, in General

A common example is becoming a parent. The lack of sleep, combined with all kinds of new responsibilities, can leave you physically and mentally tired. In a situation like this, even having to make a simple choice like paper vs. plastic can induce minor panic. 

Pre-Existing Mental Health Issues 

Someone struggling with mental health issues can be at a higher risk of fatigue decision. For example, an anxiety disorder can turn every decision into a paralyzing referendum on perfection.

Common Signs of Decision Fatigue

  • Fatigue: Hey, it’s in the name! This exhaustion goes well beyond being specifically about making decisions. It depletes your mind and body. Your head feels foggy and your body is achy and tense. The primary decision you may face is whether to have a good cry or a good nap.
  • Edginess: Your patience wears thin and you may notice people walking on eye shells in your vicinity. 
  • Overwhelmed: Decision fatigue leaves you running on empty and it can leave you feeling like there’s no way out.
  • Decision Avoidance: When decisions are wearing you out, it makes sense to try avoiding any more decisions. However, such procrastination only leads to another logjam down the road.
  • Impulsive Behavior: After allocating so much effort to myriad decisions, you could almost unknowingly get careless with the choices you make. This typically involves impulsive shopping — followed by regret. 

How to Handle Decision Fatigue


This is your foundation. When you practice daily self-care, you build the resilience you need to navigate life’s inevitable curve balls. Some of the crucial elements to include in your regimen include:

  • Healthy eating choices
  • Regular sleep patterns 
  • Daily exercise and physical activity
  • Stress management and relaxation techniques

Get Comfortable Delegating 

As much as it may not be “your style,” there’s a self-loving logic to asking for help. You do not have to handle everything. Make a list of your daily responsibilities and choose which of them can be delegated to lighten your load.

Add Rest to Your Schedule 

When planning out your day or week, actively schedule downtime at effective intervals. It’s up to you to decide what “downtime” means, but do your best to make it stress-free time set aside to help your mind and body recover. 

If decision fatigue is cramping your style, reach out about anxiety therapy and let’s talk about it. 

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