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Chronic Illness & Decision Fatigue

By: Shawne Poplar, MA LPC Licensed Professional Counselor


People with chronic illnesses know the feeling of fatigue. Fatigue is the experience of both physical and mental tiredness. An additional category of fatigue is decision fatigue, which is a state of mental overload that prevents decision-making. This can affect important decisions, such as choosing a wedding venue- or small decisions, like selecting a show to watch for the evening.

How to Battle Decision Fatigue:

Find ways to automate tasks

  • Automating tasks takes upfront energy, but will save energy long-term. Next time you have a spike in energy, try automating a few of your daily/ weekly/ monthly tasks.

Create a weekly to-do list or schedule

  • Decision fatigue is often coupled with general fatigue and brain fog. Maintaining a clear list or schedule can help you stay on track.

Meal prep

  • Scheduling a specific day and time to complete all the cooking for the week is a great way to ensure you will have prepared meals, even when your energy and symptoms fluctuate through the week.

Use the evenings to prepare for the morning

  • Those with chronic illnesses know the mornings can be hard! Use your energy during the day to save your energy in the morning.

Use digital timers and reminders

  • Timers and reminders can be especially helpful to those who have a chronic illness, as symptoms tend to affect focus and concentration.

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