Decision Fatigue

As I talked with a wise friend this weekend about how overwhelming it is for folks to make decisions we once made with ease, like whether to go on a vacation or if going to school or playing sports is safe for our children, she wisely noted the phrase I know I’m personally feeling: “Decision fatigue.” Yes, that’s right. I feel tired most days because the extra thought required to contemplate every decision and the extra steps required to go anywhere or do anything can be exhausting. So I turn back to the timeless practice I’ve cultivated and ask myself, how is my yoga practice in service to these times?

One of the tenants on which the practice of yoga rests is that of impermanence. Impermanence is always a truth of life, but during times of unrest this becomes more apparent. Change is the only constant. This is a simple truth, but certainly not an easy one. Yet what I’m remembering and practicing more of these days is that simple truism: nothing is permanent. That statement can make me angry when something gets whisked away from me again and it can make me relieved when I acknowledge that this too shall pass. It also makes me lean in more closely to the moment at hand. So when “decision fatigue” comes to call, and I know it will, can I simply do the next thing? I don’t have to have life perfectly figured out for the future, I just need to live this one moment to the best of my ability, knowledge, and energy level.

I love this passage in When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd: “Someone brought to my attention that the words nowhere and now here have the same arrangement of letters; the letters are merely separated by a small space in the latter. Likewise, a fine space separates us from experiencing life as nowhere or now here. A lot of us go about not here at all.” When I tap into now here I’m aware of how often I’m mulling the past or projecting myself into the future, worrying and planning, instead of being in the moment, pausing to listen and to do the next thing.

So, how can our yoga practice and studio serve during these times and with these concerns? Maybe you don’t need to learn more, take in more, or mull over more. Maybe today the next thing is to simply be exactly where you are, unroll your mat, log in to the online Jala, and allow us to guide you back home to your body to rest a bit. Perhaps we can rest in the now here together.