One of the biggest challenges we introverts face is energy drain. Many of us are already aware of the typical sources of energy depletion, such as social activities and busy environments.
But there is another energy vampire that you might not have picked up on. This one is extra sneaky, so it’s no wonder that it has evaded your attention.
Decisions are a major source of energy drain for introverts. This energy vampire is increasingly relevant as our culture focuses more on freedom of choice.
Making decisions becomes more difficult as our choices expand. I’m not just talking about the big decisions, like where to live and who to marry. It’s the smaller daily choices that have really gotten out of hand.
Gone are the days when you merely had to choose between black coffee and coffee with sugar and cream. Now you have to decide whether you want it medium, light or dark roast; skim, 1 % or full fat; with or without foam.
And just when you think you’ve got it all sorted out, they throw you a curve ball, and ask “would you like a shot of hazelnut?” Damn. Hadn’t thought of that, but it does sound good. Oh, but the calories …
Before you know it, you’re having a mini-crisis over what kind of coffee to order. And you’ve still got a whole day of decisions ahead.
What to wear.
What to have for lunch.
Whether to spend lunch alone or force yourself to socialize.
What to do after work.
Where to find the perfect gift for your mother-in-law.
You’re starting to get used to this whole being a grownup thing, so the above decisions don’t really phase you, but then you open up your computer, and you’re assaulted with a virtual buffet of choices that you didn’t even know existed.
Maybe it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but decisions really can be a serious source of mental exhaustion. This became clear to me a while ago while I was travelling through Thailand. Much of my time there was spent wandering the crowded streets in search of food. Normally, picking a restaurant to eat at is fun. But when you’re doing so three or four times a day it can feel overwhelming.
This is because every decision we make takes mental energy. The hamster only has so much juice, so the more energy we sink into making choices, the less we have for other things.
How to beat the decision monster
This is why so many introverts (myself included) love routines. Routines and rituals eliminate choices. They put certain parts of our day on cruise control, allowing us to free up mental space for other more important things. Like daydreaming. 😉
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, try reducing the number of decisions you make in a day. Decide ahead of time what you will have for lunch each day of the week. Put a morning routine in place that doesn’t require much thinking. Take a break from the Internet and read a book (right after you finish reading this blog, of course).
Still need help?
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to figure things out on our own, we just can’t seem to do it. I’ve discovered that a little bit of guidance and support goes a long way for introverts. Energy alchemist and Body Talk therapist Alexa Linton helps sensitive souls stop sneaky energy leaks and restore their body and mind.
Alexa and I are offering a free mini class this Tuesday, Sept. 8th. See details below.
- How to overcome the energy challenges of the highly sensitive (HSP) introvert
- Common energy leaks of the HSP introvert and how to restore them
- How to use the wisdom of your own body to revitalize yourself
- Core principles of energy alchemy and how to use them in your daily life
- A 5-min. exercise to quickly detect and resolve sneaky energy leaks
- The secret to deep and lasting energy healing for consistent energy levels
Oh my goodness, so yes! I went to Starbucks for the first time in ages last week and there were like 10 questions for my coffee order. I think I just stood there and stared at the poor guy, he had to wave cups in front of my face to help me work it out! lol. Back to my usual coffee cart.
I think that’s why I hate the supermarket as well – too many decisions.
I have to admit, I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day. And I love it. It makes the day start off nice and simple.
I don’t have a difficult time with food decisions and such, those are very easy for me, but I do have a really hard time with important decisions. Even day-to-day important decisions. The last several years I’ve had a ridiculous amount of them come up in my life, and they are definitely exhausting. If I had my way, they wouldn’t ever come up at all. Everything would be nice and simple and always stay the same. But nope. Stuff keeps falling out of the sky onto my head that I need to resolve, and none of these things are ever caused or initiated by me. They’re always caused by someone else. Either by people who made a mistake that impacts me, such as data entry errors, or by one of those people whose job description is to look around and find things to change in order to complicate other people’s lives.
Yes i have the same problem. I’m fine with small everyday decisions and have near-panic attacks over big stuff (things that need done around the house, new jobs, etc). It’s very nerve racking. The more I think about and weight pros/cons the more paralyzed I feel and unable to decide. Trying to find a therapist now to deal with this because it is effecting my life.
You posted this interesting read at an excellent time,as I’m currently feeling very exhausted from mental fatigue due to having to make a ridiculous amount of decisions recently. I’ve also been forced to regularly communicate with employment agents (looking for a new job) which drains my energy even further,that and overthinking a lot! I’ll be sure to implement your tips.
Most of the times, I leave the decisions to two or three and then randomly pick up. And if I’m in the mood, experiment and test (food, restaurant…) And if I already had to make that decision in the past, I stick to what I know.
What to wear?
Jeans, jersey, shoes (all of them different by day) and a leather jacket.
What to have for lunch?
I’m just 15 years old, so, I can’t decide that.
Whether to spend your lunch alone or force yourself to socialize
Always eating at home, always eating alone.
What to do after work?
Play bass, read, search things on the internet out of curiosity, play videogames… Etc.
Where to find your perfect gift for your mother-in-law?
In Fnac (at least here in Spain).
And the coffee dilema… Whatever is very sweet and with milk, but right now, I’m rrying to jumo in the tea bandwagon.
Glad to read you again! Bye!
This is so true! – Luckily I’ve learned to look often at the world, with the eyes of that child, I’ve been. That means, everything “new” which can’t accord with my inner feelings, I doesn’t care that much. I’ve a kind of “filter”: the “good ones” right – the “bad ones” left. The left ones I put right now into the carbage can! 🙂
(Of course I’ve a kind of “internet-filter”, too! 😉 )
I’m too “old” to care about stuff, I don’t need. 😉 BUT I’m too YOUNG to forget what was important for me, when I was a CHILD! 🙂
Yes, – like my cats – I’ve daily rituals (always the same), it starts with “morning coffee” … and this really calms down…
My work requires me to be constantly “on” (either with my patients or co-workers) and to be able to make fast decisions that could impact someone’s life…because I’m more of a “high-functioning” introvert I can do it, but it definitely takes its toll…I’ve learned to NEVER go shopping after work no matter how up for it I may feel…as soon as I walk in the store, I’m completely overwhelmed…I almost burst into tears trying to decide whether I wanted peaches or nectarines the last time I tried it!…
The most difficult kind of decision making is the one that affects others, because then you have to deal with a lot of opinions and people.
That is why most of us, even when very capable and hardworking, refuse to accept supervisor/boss/leader positions. Exhausting. I guess we make great seconds/right hands 😉
I find that some experimentation with choice agreeable however once I get comfortable with something I stick with it like a pare of comfortable old shoes.
I’m so happy to have found your site. Susan Cain’s book changed my life, maybe even saved it. Before i read her book, i thought there was something seriously wrong with me. Your site provides a forum in which we, introverts, can share experiences and know that we are not alone. Ok, maybe we are alone but you know what i mean 😉 Bravo!
You’re welcome, Ben! It’s great to hear that Cain’s book and my site helped you see that you’re not alone (even if you want to be)! 😉
I have started a blog about my journey as introvert trying to market and sell my product to to the world. You can check out my blog here:
What a great article… And this seems like the kind of tired that sneaks up on us, when really it was building slowly all day.
When I go to a family party, I know I will be exhausted by the time I get home. But all the little decisions I have to make all day add up to some “lock myself in the bedroom” time. I think I wondered why that would be on a “normal” day, but now I know why.
Cashier: Would you like your receipt back or placed in the bag?
My Thoughts: I have NOOOO idea!! Put it wherever!! Argh!!! 🙂
I used to have trouble too with these millions of unimportant decisions. So now I just automatically say the last thing the person asked me. “Receipt with you or in the bag?” ” In the bag.” “Would you like to eat at restaurant A, B or C?” ” C!” “Paper or plastic bag?” “Plastic – (I have many uses for them both.)” “Do want me to pick you up or meet you there?” “Meet me there.” Etc…. It helps a bit.
SO true! I am one of the few people I my school who like uniforms and on Dress down days (days we can wear normal cloths) I feel so stressed! I stumbled upon your site a few months ago, and its really helped me! Thx for making this site
Haha, How about what to wear when you are giving your Mother In Law her gift??!