Since life with COVID-19, I have noticed a different variety of decision fatigue. Because essentially no decisions are risk-free, there’s a constant negotiating surrounding which risks feel contained or safe or responsible enough. These decisions feel very circular and exhausting, like a hamster in a wheel. And because we don’t know when some of the things we used to do will be safe again, there’s a certain kind of heaviness to my processing.
This current season on decision fatigue has also meant that my capacity to make simple, everyday decisions has decreased. For example, I can’t decide what I want to eat, which makes shopping, cooking, and/or eating out a whole thing. Arranging my schedule or trying to make plans feels difficult. I want to think about longer-term plans, but also feel like I can’t. And so on.
Does any of this sound or feel familiar?
A Tool for Decision Making
Because nearly all decisions feel tough right now, I’ve been using the BRAND decision-making tool more often. This tool (a simple acronym) can be helpful in a wide range of decisions. Thus, I’m sharing it with you all:
N othing (as in “What if I do nothing?”)
D decision (give yourself a bit of time to make the decision– if it’s possible)
This tool offers a structure for sifting through the information, options, ideas, options, etc. It helps put all everything out on the table, so to speak. If you are anything like me, you might get stuck in an anxiety loop of indecision. Here, you may only be able to focus on one of these elements, like the risks. BRAND can help you explore a broader perspective.
Additionally, the BRAND process can help you identify where you need or want more information. You may recognize or need to spend more time brainstorming and visioning or doing more research.
Tapping into Feelings, Too
As you work through each step of BRAND, I invite you to notice: What feelings are coming up? What you feel drawn to? What do you feel repelled by? What is happening in your body?
The facts and the data are important, for sure. And, the way this information lands with you– in your heart, your gut, your body– is a key part of any decision-making process. If emotions feel big or intense, that’s okay. Again, give yourself time, if this is possible. Take a break to move your body, journal, sit in nature, or call a friend. (Find a list of self-care ideas to explore here!) Then, check-in with BRAND and your body again.
Making Decisions as a Family
This tool is for everyone! You may use it individually to work through a personal choice, or you may share with your family as you work together to make a decision. The more we practice using a tool like BRAND, the more familiar we are with processing information in really intentional and integrated ways. In other words, tools like BRAND can help create a sense of ease when decision making feels difficult, emotional, or complex.
So, stick with it! Try it once, then try it again, and again. Share it with your loved ones as it feels relevant.
If you’re a parent or caregiver, you can find additional tips for supporting your children and teens in the decision-making process here!