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Coach Carlene

“What do I want for lunch? Pasta or sushi?”

“When is the right time to have that difficult conversation?”

“Where can I go on vacation? Can I afford it?”

A typical adult makes more than 35,000 decisions per day – usually starting with whether to turn off the alarm or hit the snooze button.

We face hundreds of choices every day – from simple, “What should I wear to work?” to more complicated decisions that involve our emotional, financial, and physical well-being, “Should we pivot the business?”

The number of decisions you have to make in a day can get so overwhelming that by the time you get home, you can barely decide what to eat for dinner.

This is what’s known as decision fatigue – a term coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, as the emotional and mental strain resulting from a burden of choices.

This type of fatigue leads to one of two outcomes; risky decision-making or decision avoidance.

In other words, when your mental energy begins running low, you’re less able to override basic desires and more likely to go for whatever is easiest.

Fear not! That feeling when you’re overly stressed by the endless amount of decisions you’ve had to make throughout the day can be remedied.

How to Recognize It

Remember decision fatigue isn’t always easy to spot. Here are some tell-tale signs that might suggest you’re heading for burnout.

  • Procrastination – “I’ll tackle this later.”
  • Impulsivity – “A quick decision will give me relief.”
  • Avoidance – “I can’t deal with this right now.”
  • Indecision – “When in doubt, I just say no.”

ONE: Focus on self-care

Take time to rest by setting aside 10-minute breaks between tasks throughout the day.

Recovering also means making sure you’re getting enough sleep, making sure you’re eating healthy, and watching your alcohol intake.

TWO: Prioritize your decisions.

Cut down on needless decision-making by jotting down your top priorities for the day and ensuring you tackle those first. This way, your most important decisions get done when your energy is at its highest.

THREE: Save major decisions for when you’re rested and refreshed.

Ask yourself;

  • “How tired am I in the present moment?”
  • “Am I making a decision to simply solve the thing and get it off my plate?”
  • “How much impact on my life will this decision have?”

If the answer is that it’ll have a high impact, only allow yourself to make those decisions when you have to make them or when you feel refreshed.

That might mean setting aside a block of time each month to evaluate the pros and cons of those major decisions.

FOUR: Minimize low-stake decisions

Reduce decision drain by planning ahead and taking relatively minor decisions out of the equation. For example, take your lunch to work to avoid having to decide which restaurant to order from. Or, lay out your clothes the night before.

Yes, you are still making the decision but you are doing it at a time when you’re not rushed and stressed.

Remember, your morning is only as good as the night before.

We don’t realize that things that have very little impact on our lives can actually take a lot of decision energy.

FIVE: Create routines that will stick

Set up your day so that you have to make the fewest decisions possible. Have a morning and evening routine. Put as many things on auto-pilot as possible.

This means having strict and clear rules about certain things, such as;

  • when you’ll go to sleep
  • specific days you’ll hit the gym
  • going grocery shopping

SIX: Allow others to help

Sharing the mental load of decision-making can help prevent overwhelm.

Here are a few examples of what you can delegate:

  • If you’re having a hard time meal planning, allow your partner or roommate to come up with a menu. You can help out with the shopping.
  • Ask a close friend for a referral for a plumber.
  • Let a colleague choose which images to use on your next presentation.

SEVEN: Keep tabs on your mental and physical state

Everyone gets overwhelmed with decisions at times. Pay attention to your emotional and physical responses.

Are you repeatedly making poor choices because you feel overwhelmed? Do you find yourself making a habit of snacking on junk food to avoid making decisions about dinner?

Keeping track of your reactions can help you understand which habits need improvement.

EIGHT: Celebrate your good decisions.

You make so many small decisions during the day without even realizing it. And that’s on top of all the big, noticeable ones.

Celebrating the big and small decisions alike, boosts your confidence and sets you up for more confident decision-making tomorrow.

Mel Robbins created the High-Five Habit so we could all start celebrating ourselves. So, go high-five yourself in the mirror for showing up and making the best decisions you could today.

If you liked this, be sure to grab your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

A lot of us are back to the office and school. This is great for so many reasons like, connecting with others, having structure & routine, and even some built in accountability. 

What many of us didn’t notice while we were working from home, was the opportunities it afforded us to set our own schedule’s and take some downtime when we needed it.

Between 2 pm and 4 pm, is when we typically experience afternoon slumps to some degree; where you feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. For those with ADHD, you don’t experience just a little slump, yours are full blown crashes. 

No matter if you fall on the side of a slump or a crash, they both affect your attention, focus, productivity, and your ability to stay calm and rational.

Here are 7 things you can do to minimize or prevent your afternoon slumps and crashes. The more suggestions you implement, the more results you will see!

1. Simply put, EAT

Many of us don’t eat breakfast; either because we don’t feel hungry in the mornings or because we are in a rush to get out the door. However, starting the day with a protein packed breakfast is incredibly helpful to avoid the afternoon crash.

Lunch is often a meal eaten on the run or skipped when we get busy in our day. Or because we missed breakfast, we are ravenous and eat a big heavy lunch. What we eat for lunch has a direct effect on our energy in the afternoon. Take time to eat a gluten-free lunch with some good-quality protein (chicken or fish) and fiber in the form of vegetables. Your afternoons will be transformed.

2. Get your 7 hours of Sleep

75% of ADHDers have problems with falling and staying asleep. According to the CDC, more than 35% of Americans get less than the recommended 7 hours a night. If you are sleep deprived or had a night of poor sleep, then an afternoon crash is more likely to happen. However, they can still be minimized with the other suggestions on this list.

3. Be a Smart Caffeine Drinker

Caffeine isn’t bad; and if you become a smart caffeine drinker, you can still drink it and not get afternoon crashes.

Drink your first coffee of the day after you have eaten breakfast.
If drinking coffee gives you energy highs and lows, then switch to green tea.
Both tips will give you more sustained energy. Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm because it will interfere with your sleep (which in turn affects crashes).

4. Get Moving

After you exercise, your whole body and mind is energized for 3 hours. To capitalize on this, move your workout to lunch time and see if you notice a difference in your energy level in the afternoons.

5. Drink up

Staying hydrated is by far the simplest ways to fight fatigue, yet remembering to drink water throughout the day isn’t as simple. Don’t skip this step!

6. Say Goodbye to Stress

Stress is exhausting! If your morning is full of tension, mini crisis (forgetting things, mad dashes for deadlines), worry and anxiety, then by the afternoon, you will be emotionally exhausted and ready to crash. 

Stress comes from 2 sources: things you can control and things you can’t.
Focus on the life stressors that are in your control. Using strategies to reduce your worry and anxiety is a great place to start.

7. Stop Multi-Tasking

We love to multi-task. It feels exciting and exhilarating. However, it’s also very tiring. Every time we shift focus, we burn glucose, which is the food our neurons use. After a couple of hours of speedy shifting, we feel drained and ready for a nap. Also, our glucose store is depleted; cortisol (the stress hormone) has also been released, causing us to feel edgy and stressed.
Stop multi-tasking and start single tasking.

Stop here and jot down which of these tips you’re going to put into practice. Don’t skip this step. Doing this sets your intentions. Also, share your intentions with a family member or friend. They may want to join you on getting out of the afternoon slump!

Have you grabbed your free confidence building guide yet?

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

I’m not going to tell you how amazing it is to start over or how freeing it feels do something that makes you nervous and doubt yourself. If you’re looking for that you can stop reading.

But if you’re still with me, let me ask you this:

How are you stopping yourself from moving forward?

Signing up for a barre exercise class felt like doing something for the first time for me. It wasn’t. I did barre for years, before the world stopped turning. But returning to that practice made me a beginner again. And I had all the icky feelings of not feeling like enough, doubting I could even get through a class without passing out, and fearing everyone judging me. 

We hate being a beginner. Our habit brains set us up to stay stuck in the fear. Here are two things you can do to move past the fear and start again.

1. Embrace being a beginner, don’t resist it.

I don’t know about you, but I like doing things I’m good at. It’s why I don’t try new things often enough. But when your life gets shaken up, you become a beginner again.

When you embrace the change, you grow. Resist it and your life gets smaller.

Maybe it’s going back to the office or seeing an old group of friends. Maybe it’s exercise, like me.

Whatever is hard for you now will become easier over time.

You may have heard me say that once you start doing the thing that scares you, the fear fades. Let me add this: sometimes it takes a while to fade.

Wherever you are facing a new beginning or getting back to something you love in life, give yourself some grace. It’s normal to be nervous and to doubt yourself. But please, start. Action is the most effective way to eventually moving past the fear. 

2. Affirm yourself, don’t doubt yourself.

One of the most common ways we doubt ourselves is to ask the wrong questions. Wrong questions are disempowering. They immediately change our subconscious thought patterns from positive to negative, or vice versa. They are powerful.

Question: Why can’t I lost weight?
Answer: Because you’re a pig.

Question: Why can’t I do things right?
Answer: Because you’re not smart!

Question: Why am I so broke?
Answer: Because you’re a loser.

Ask a bad question and you’ll get a bad answer. This is how our subconscious mind works. Because the conscious mind programs the subconscious. You can take charge.

Good questions lead to productive answers:

What are the top two things I can do to lose weight?

What is a better way to do this?

What are three things I can do to increase my cashflow?

Asking the right question is empowering.

With the right mindset you can do anything.

What are you going to do now?

If you liked this,

Grab your free confidence guide here. 

You’ve heard sooooo many tips on how to manage anxiety that you’re done listening. I getchu! I wish the mental health community would share the science behind these strategies. When you understand the physiology of why these things work, you’re more likely to do them.

Let me introduce you to your vagus nerve. It is the nerve that connects your gut and brain. It has some MAJOR power. It regulates your nervous system and runs from your gut, through every major organ, all the way up to your brain.

There are very specific ways you can “tone” or stimulate this nerve, making it easier for you to settle your nervous system and control your anxiety.

When you’ve been told some of these strategies in the past, maybe you rolled your eyes and thought, “Ya, like some deep breathing is gonna do anything for me.” Why would you believe it? It sounds too simple and you feel like the person telling you this is brushing you off and simply does NOT understand how bad your anxiety is.

Sometimes the solution is simple. Most times, you can do something to stop the overwhelm of anxiety and spiraling into a panic attack.

Here are 6 science-based ways to activate and calm your vagus nerve.

Strategy 1: Go for a walk in silence.
Getting out into nature is a crucial way to tone or stimulate your vagus nerve. Doing it in silence offers opportunities for self-reflection & daydreaming which activates multiple parts of your brain. It gives you time to turn down the inner noise & increase awareness of what matters most and gets you into the present moment.

Strategy 2: Hum loudly.
When you hum, it sends vibrations through your body. Research has found that the vibrations from “OM” chanting stimulates the vagus nerve.

Strategy 3: Sing a song at the top of your lungs.
Singing releases tension in your diaphragm by activating the vagus nerve. Bonus points for singing as loud as you can! According to research, the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in someone’s saliva decreases after they sing.

Strategy 4: Practice deep breathing.
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the vagus nerve, which promotes a state of calmness. Matching movement to breath in yoga & meditation is so important as it grounds you in your body & in the present moment.

Strategy 5: Take a bath.
Hot water activates the vagus nerve & relaxes the body. When a tense body enters a warm bath, the hot water increases the body temperature & relaxes the muscles, which not only soothes you physically but also mentally. No bath? No problem. Stand under a hot shower.

Strategy 6: Hug someone you love.
Oxytocin, sometimes called the “cuddle hormone,” is released when people hug or snuggle us. This release has been found to lower heart rate & reduce stress. Can’t find someone to hug? Curl yourself up with your knees up to your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs. The pressure will activate your vagus nerve. Research also suggests that weighted blankets simulate being held or hugged. Go get yourself a weighted blanket.

Have you grabbed your free confidence guide?
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence.