Decision fatigue and daily skin care

Lately, I’ve been reading with interest about the phenomenon of “decision fatigue,” and the more I read, the more I feel like I can relate to it.

Bloggers and journalists point to many different cases of people paring down their daily decisions so they have mental energy left for making more important decisions- from eating the same thing for breakfast to wearing the same general “uniform” each day.

I’m no President Obama when it comes to having to make daily decisions, but this affects me too. This is why I don’t like the mall and love StitchFix. This is why I menu plan a week in advance with many of the same meals on rotation. This is why I set out my clothes the night before – usually jeans and a striped top.

Making decisions often drains me. If I’m faced with too many decisions, even seemingly simple ones like what to wear or what to eat or what time we need to leave the house, it eventually overloads me and drains me of the patience that I need to deal with things that pop up during the day.

Decision fatigue is also a huge reason why I don’t change up Brenna’s skin care routine each day.

All it takes is to publicly write about a health problem, and suddenly strangers come out of the woodwork with suggestions. Someone’s daughter has excema and this cream really helps. Someone’s aunt tried this lotion and swears by it. Someone’s sister’s best friend’s dad’s cousin thinks this product is the answer to Brenna’s skin condition.

Save for the crazy people – because there are a few of those too – I greatly appreciate hearing about others’ experiences and what has worked for them. I even run a lot of products and suggestions by Brenna’s dermatologist, and he’ll tell me any concerns he has or say “if you want to try it, go for it.” But when it comes to actually trying anything new on Brenna, the decision fatigue sets in. We get pretty set in our routine, and it’s working well for us.  f something isn’t working well or we encounter a new problem, we look for new solutions. We ask other families who are affected with Harlequin, or ichthyosis in general. We ask our medical team.

Maybe there is something that works better. But it’s tiring chasing after better. It’s tiring trying new things and deciding what to use, how much to use, where to use it and when to use it.

too many options!!IMG_8901.JPG

But if it’s working, we don’t go out of our way to try something else. We’re completely open to Brenna trying new products as she gets older and chooses to do so herself – and can explain how something feels. (I hate the thought of a new product stinging or not feeling good to her without her being able to express that right now.)

With little ones at home, our days are jam-packed with enough decisions as it is, and the rest of my mental energy is typically spent on my writing projects. Adding in a new part to Brenna’s skin care regimen usually feels like too much in the day-to-day, especially when we feel like what we’re doing is working well enough for us and for her.

Do you get decision fatigue? How do YOU simply your days so that you’re not making too many decisions?

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15 thoughts on “Decision fatigue and daily skin care

  • March 2, 2015 at 6:05 am

    You have read my mind! I call it information overload. I’ve reduced watching doctor TV shows and reading medical advice.
    I buy less and stick to tried and true. I need simplicity and routine.

  • March 2, 2015 at 6:28 am

    My husband is a surgeon, and he definitely gets decision fatigue. By the end of the day, when I am in full flow with getting four children to and from swim or ski practice, he will ring and ask what I need him to do. He says he doesn’t mind at all what he does (stay at home and bathe the younger ones or go and pick up the older ones, for example), but he just needs me to make that call for him because he’s mentally drained. As for me, I don’t have as much on my plate as you do, Courtney, but even I stick to a routine or known products, so that I can save my mental energy for use elsewhere. It isn’t a weakness to stick to a routine, it is a sign of strength: you know yourself and you are ensuring that you are using your energy (physical and mental) to the best advantage.

    • March 2, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Yes, I feel you (and your husband!) Sometimes you just need to cut down on the decisions, or have someone make them for you when possible.

  • March 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

    If it isn’t broken then don’t fix it.. You are doing great and Brenna looks happy!!!, Keep doing what you are doing?

    • March 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Kitty!

  • March 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t shake up my skincare routine either because I like the way the current products (that I’ve been using for almost 20 years) feel. And the ‘well meaning’ suggestions of other products is tiring. I am glad you addressed this.

    • March 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I do love reading about your family & the wonderful care that you are giving both of your precious & darling children. I do love seeing their smiling faces and it never ceases to amaze me just how much Brenna seems to thrive & change from day to day. It amazes me how much you do & get done in one day, as someone who doesn’t even begin to deal with a third of what you do in a week much less in a day-my hat is off to you. You my dearest are quite an amazing woman and if it simplifies your life to stick with the same routines whether it be what to wear or Brenna’s skin care routine you know what works best. I do admire the courage & strength that you show and the positive message that you are sending Brenna-God Bless.

    • March 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you so much for such thoughtful comments 🙂

  • March 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I’ve used the same things for years on my own skin and hesitate to try new things. I try to be gracious about suggestions from others. I’ve had too many oopsies with trying new things, I usually just stick to what I like best and not think about it.

  • March 2, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I can relate. My oldest son has a primary immune deficiency. I rarely talk about it because people have all kinds of suggestions. He has basically no immune system and takes lot of meds including IV’s. Vitamins is a popular suggestion, but his condition is genetic and vitamins are not going to build on something that isn’t there. We are in a much more stable place but decisions can overwhelm you. I had to trust the Dr and figure out what worked!

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    You are an amazing mother and I admire all you do for Breanna and your family. I enjoy reading your post. My granddaughter has Lamellar.

    • March 4, 2015 at 4:16 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • March 3, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Not to add to your endless choices but it occurred to me you may have never heard of this, horse people use an ointment called Corona to moisturize and prevent infection. It is kinda think and sticky but it will soften anything (even a horses hoof) and is antibacterial. We all use it on our dry cracked winter hands and callouses. I don’t know if it will iritate her skin but mine is extremely sensitive and I have no problems. It also doesn’t burn or sting. It might be good for stubborn spots.

  • March 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Hii, I love following you and Brenna! I love her name btw, I don’t know if you have looked into it or not, but I’m a consultant for rodan and fields.. and our product soothe may give Brenna some relief! !!

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