It’s been a whirlwind, hasn’t it folks? Over the last week, I think I’ve either given or read 16338561051 talks, FB posts, encouragements, webinars, etc on COVID-19 and online lessons.
I originally thought, “Okay, now I’ve got to gather all the goodies and link to them in a big long blog”…. but Shannon Coates did that on her blog, so you can just go read that (I’ll link to it at the bottom so you don’t get distracted and boop over there quite yet.)
So, here I am, Sunday morning at 6am, and writing a blog that is not about COVID-19 or online lessons.
This blog is about giving yourself a break from information overload and decision fatigue.
And, before I get a lecture about privilege, know that I very much understand that this is a time of crisis for many, many people.
This blog is intended for those of us who have the luxury of hand-wringing and are not in true survival mode. This blog is intended to get those with the means to slow down, but maybe do not feel permission to, so they can be useful and helpful and of service to those who are looking for their next meal.
This thing is hitting our amygdalas hard, no matter where we are in society.
Decision fatigue is a real thing, y’all.
To simplify a complex process for the sake of my blog:
The brain uses glucose to make decisions. With every decision we make, every thought process we have, we employ a bit of that glucose – psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and his sciencey friends have found that the glucose either goes away – either by getting used up or by getting reallocated – and we are left with decision fatigue.
When we suffer from decision fatigue, some effects are:
~ Physical Stamina
~ Task persistence in the face of failure
~ Lower quality decisions
~ Inability to choose the best path forward
~ Decision avoidance
In short: We have to think about too much stuff at a time and we get panicked, unwise, and frozen.
Enter having to learn a brand new thing NOT by choice – like teaching online, or being alone with your kids for six weeks because the schools are closed and having to homeschool them (I AM NOT BITTER), or how to wash your hands (why did we collectively not know how to do this before? SHUDDER)
Our brains go into overdrive. Add to that we are bombarded with ALLL THE INFOS from ALLLL THE PEOPLES about ALLLLL THE THINGS, and we just start to spiral into a vortex of “BUT WHAT IS BEST?”
Friends, here is my advice for you as we enter this new world.
Step away from the knowledges.
Slow your roll, pick one resource to get your info from (for now), and as you get comfy with what you know, add on layers.
There are TONS of places to get the information – and a lot of it is the same – so reading and re-reading will only use up the brain space.
How to learn a new thing, in a time of high-stress:
~ Intend to chill out on where you are going to get the “best” info. Right now. Stop worrying about being wrong or not good enough.
~ Make a list of what you need to learn in order to do a thing. Example: I need to learn how to plan out a school day for maximum efficiency. I need to learn about online learning tools for an almost 6-year-old and an almost 9-year-old.
~ Just start to do the thing. PLAY. We learn REALLLLY well by playing. It doesn’t feel as comfortable when we are grown-ups, because that’s been dragged out of us by life, but poking around and just doing things is 10000% effective
~ Sit a while and reflect on what you’ve learned, in peace (I don’t say silence because I know your kids are home. HEH.)
Start small and give yourself grace.
Unplug from the media, Facebook, and other information sources for a short time while you gather your thoughts.
Breathe in for three and out for five at least once an hour.
And know that you are doing great now, you’ll do great tomorrow, and for the next several weeks, as we weather this storm.
Protecting yourself from decision fatigue and/or allowing yourself the time and space to recover from it is an act of nurturing to both ourselves and others. No one needs us going all wonky because we are spun up. Especially our own self and our students.
So, take good care of yourself this season. Slow down and prepare. You’ve got this. WE’VE got this, together, too.
Much love and Jazz Hands and Vulcan Salutes,