This post is part of the Mental Health Monday series & is written by a guest blogger. Read all about this author at the end of this article.
On Fridays, I don’t make any decisions.
By this I mean, after a long day at the end of a long week, what I know about myself is that my capacity for making emotionally wise choices is depleted. Something as small as deciding the agenda for the next afternoon, finalizing a grocery list, or composing a text message response can become a little landmine for hangups.
Make decisions when you're ready by paying attention to what feels abrasive.
What should be simple and uncomplicated can, when I am tired, become a conduit for overthinking, over-analyzation, and draining consideration. I used to feel frustrated at myself for not being able to accomplish more on my personal to-do list after finishing work for the week. After all, Friday evening is often the first opportunity I have to clean out the refrigerator and double-check which kind of mustard I need to get from the store in the morning. I used to engage my heart and mind in decision-making to tidy up my interior landscape even when I was worn out.
That is, I used to until I began to pay attention to what felt abrasive. I began to ask myself, Why am I having such a large emotional response to something that should be so easy to navigate?
Why am I having such a large emotional response to something that should be so easy to navigate?Jordan Williams | OneBirdBlog.com
The truth is that I wasn’t emotional because the decision I needed to make was too challenging or overwhelming. Instead, my emotions were gently alerting my mind and body and asking them to recognize how tired they were from a normal, life-filled week of purpose.
Once I stopped to engage with this reminder, I was able to allow myself the margin I needed at the end of the week. Instead of directing shame toward what seemed like a shortfall, I now protect my mind, body, and spirit from becoming overwhelmed by practicing true rest from the end of Friday to Saturday morning. During that time, I chose to disconnect and refrain from considering anything important enough to merit my full attention and ability to engage from a place of logic and reason.
For me, when I am at the baseline of my energy level, fatigue takes on a characteristic that looks and feels surprisingly like irrationality, confusion, or irritability. Instead of acting from that place or doubting my ability to function wisely, I now recognize my need for rest. Though not everyone needs as much time or space to recharge their capacity for decision-making, most people need a break more often than they realize or allow. Whether or not you need or are able to pause and put off what is important until you are ready to give your best mindset to it, I am sharing three ways I prioritize my grace-filled margin around decision-making.
Make decisions when you're ready by creating a “No-Decision Zone.”
While some things have to be tended to, such as family or time-sensitive responsibilities, most decisions will keep until the morning. Especially if your decision is emotionally charged, affects other people, or necessitates crafting a response you want to ensure is conveyed accurately. Allow yourself the grace of putting off important decisions or conversations until your mind has rested overnight and you are able to bring the fullness of yourself to the task at hand. This helps ensure you say what you mean instead of speaking out of an emotionally depleted headspace.
Make decisions when you're ready by making lists.
For me, sometimes those little decisions or big thoughts won’t leave the backyard of my mental landscape until I give them somewhere else to go. Often, it is helpful to jot down something you want to remember for the next day. Then, everything is kept and ready for your full attention and tuned perspective and it clears your brain and heart-space to take a break.
Make decisions when you're ready by taking time to REST.
Yes, really rest. And I encourage you to rest in whatever way is most restorative to you. For me, as an introverted homebody, that means watching a little TV, having a tasty dinner, flipping through social media – something that lets me withdraw into my own little world for a few minutes. For you, that could be visiting a friend, reading a book with your kids, or taking a walk with a spouse. I find that true rest really means being present in a gentle, no-obligations kind of way.
When Friday rolls around (it always does!) I hope you take a moment to check in with the capacity of your heart and mind for decision-making and give yourself the gift of margin around what needs your attention. Things always make more sense in the morning.
What do you think about these tips to make decisions when you're ready? Let us know in the comments.
Jordan Williams is a poet, writer, and observer of life, who claims language as her love language. Her writing creates doorways to depth and provides readers space to think and feel their own thoughts without telling them what those should be. Through nostalgia and metaphor, her work explores the beauty in absolutely everything and she believes that even poetry can be prayer. You can find Jordan on her blog at www.onebirdblog.com or @onebirdblog on Instagram.