Just the other week I was emailed by a client who needs to sell her house. A professional Stager had been brought in by her real estate agent and left her with a list of about 50 things she can do to increase the value of her house. In addition to getting her house ready for sale, my client was navigating her 2 teenagers and an ex-husband that refuses to vacate. When I asked how she is feeling, she said “overwhelmed!”
Separation involves change and change involves a lot of decision making. Decisions about selling a house, where to live, how to pay for the car lease, finding employment, how to navigate the kids, and finding a lawyer. In addition to the big decisions, there are loads of options for the little decisions – which email provider to use, which cable package, where unpack your kitchen utensils in your new apartment.
The fact is, overwhelm and confusion is our brains knee-jerk reaction to being asked to make several decisions. Our brain prefers routine and it is now being taxed to the max. Overwhelm is an emotion or feeling that pretends to be necessary but in fact it never serves us.
Here are two things to consider trying when you are feeling overwhelmed in your divorce:
Deliberate decision making
- consciously stop yourself from thinking “I don’t know what to do”
- force your brain to decide by purposely thinking “I can figure out a solution”
- make a quick and powerful decision and commit to it long enough to execute that decision
- be willing to make a wrong decision and know you can always change the decision later
- a wrong decision is better than no decision
- limit your options on purpose
- your brain may give you FOMO but you don’t have to listen
- examples of constraint include: buying all of your clothes at one clothing store, or assigning each day of the week to a specific type of dinner (Mondays are pasta, Tuesdays are chicken etc.), or planning to choose only 3 suggestions from the house Stager to execute
- simplifying options reduces decision fatigue
You will know you are indulging in overwhelm if you are complaining about your situation, or expressing negativity about your circumstances. Overwhelm is an excuse to not accomplish what you really need to do. By managing our minds, and training our brains to make decisions, we can remove the facts from the drama, view the facts as neutral, and move forward as necessary.