Inside: Four ways you can overcome the stress of making so many decisions alone. Single parents make so many decisions alone they often suffer from decision fatigue and experience burnout as a result.
Decision Fatigue for Single Parents
I was talking to a friend recently who said she feels jealous of all her married friends. I wasn’t surprised as I hear this a lot, as so many of us desire to no longer be a single parent.
But her reason was one we don’t talk about very often. She’s so tired of making all the decisions, and she wants someone else to make all the decisions for the next month.
As a single parent, not only are you making every single decision for yourself, your home, finances, and your children’s health, school, happiness, you are the sole decision-maker. And let’s not forget the decisions around co-parenting.
And that’s just when life is going great. Add in a significant life event or tragedy, and you can feel like the world is too much to bear.
If you relate to this, then most likely you’re suffering from Decision Fatigue or Decision Burnout.
It can kill your motivation. Not only for the task on hand but things you WANT to do.
How do we overcome decision fatigue? Here are four ways to make it through your burnout.
Stick to a daily routine
Keeping a daily routine or at least a routine with your morning or eating will help reduce the number of decisions you must make. Some ideas to implement this:
- Try eating the same thing for breakfast or lunch for a few weeks.
- Do the same thing each morning and each evening.
- Wear the same outfit every Monday, for example. Or set out your clothes the night before or on Sunday evening for the whole week if you’re up to it.
- Establish theme nights for dinner such as Taco Tuesday, Meatless Monday, etc.
Consider When to Make Big Decisions
When you need to make a big decision, try not to decide anything when you’re tired. Early in the morning when your day and mind are fresh is best.
If thoughts don’t leave your mind because your decisions are intruding on you throughout the day, try blocking off a time each day for this.
When a worry comes up, tell yourself at 3 pm you can write out the pros and cons. Just make sure you keep this date with yourself.
You may think you’re in this by yourself, and even if you can’t ask for advice on making the huge decisions that are looming over you, there is help available for other areas of your life.
But you may need to open your eyes and be vulnerable. We like to act like we have it all under control and take care of our kids and responsibilities by ourselves. There’s no shame in accepting other’s acts of kindness for a season.
Here are some ways to accept help during decision fatigue:
- The mom who offers to take your child home.
- The grocery clerk offers to take your groceries to the car.
- The neighbor who takes your trash dumpster up to the house or mows your lawn.
- Try giving your kids more responsibility. Chances are, your kids can help you out more than they already do. Give your child an extra chore – don’t worry about how “good” they do. Accept the help, even imperfect help, and move on.
Don’t put the extra pressure on yourself to feel like you have to repay other people’s kindness. When you’re in a better spot, you will pass on the kindness.
Spend time with God
It may feel like you don’t have any extra time to sit down and read your Bible. If you’re not in a constant habit of doing so, this may add to your feeling of being overwhelmed.
But spending time with God can be simple.
Hearing God’s truth speak over you, and your circumstances can ease your worries. Most likely under the decision fatigue is an anxious heart.
- If you follow a reading plan and have been before you felt the burnout, continue in this. Even if you aren’t doing your complete study as before, just reading the daily passage can warm your heart.
- Listen to an online sermon or worship music throughout your day.
- Sit outside in nature and pray or mediate by inhaling for a count of 4 and exhaling for 4. You can add in a simple prayer with each inhalation and exhalation such as “Create a new Heart in me” or “Christ in me, Christ through me.”
What to Remember Above All Else During Burnout
We do have help. The Holy Spirit is also called “The Helper.” If you’ve accepted Jesus, you have 24/7 access to the Holy Spirit.
Ask him for help every step of the way. You don’t have to parent alone, and you don’t have to make all the decisions alone.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:26 (NASB)