Family, Journal

When September Hits You Like a Load of Bricks

September hit me like a load of bricks this year, and it didn’t take long to pinpoint the reason. It was all the extra decisions I was unexpectedly making. During the season everyone is operating with less margin. More often than not I find myself filtering information for my husband on sort of a “need to know” basis. But in many cases his need-to-not-know means I’m making the best decision I can without his input, and that takes a lot more time.

One of the goals I have for our family is to make our home a haven. One of the ways I best accomplish this during the season is by

filtering daily life so Coach can focus on his job and we meet our kids’ needs before everyone else asking for help.

Thankfully after 20 seasons I’m pretty good at figuring out what I need to deal with immediately and what I need to defer. Still, with school starting, doctor appointments, all the paperwork, school shopping, clothes shopping, booster meetings, and games starting, emotions are running high, and everyone is a bit on edge.

The decision to make our home a haven ironically means making a few extra decisions to avoid decision fatigue but for our family it’s one of the best ways I can support my Coach in-season, and that makes it worth it. While I’m still learning how to work through avoiding decision fatigue I’ve picked up a few tips that may help you lighten the load too.

Pause

I’m learning to embrace the popular motto “poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on my part.” Our family isn’t the only one adjusting to a new school year and the season starting.

Life is busy, but that doesn’t mean every decision needs an immediate response. I’m learning to say “I’ll have to get back to you about that” about almost everything, and the best part is most of the time no one pushes back.

Pausing to take a breath is healthy for everyone and gives me the space to think through my response. Even better, it gives situations the opportunity to work themselves out without any decision at all.

Embrace Saying No

For me, the hardest decisions to make are those that come when someone asks for help. Everything goes smoother with help, right? Well, that’s not actually true. When your help is running on empty and emotionally exhausted, it can be more harmful than helpful.

I’m still working on this, but I’ve identified that my initial instinct is to say yes and figure things out later. This adds unnecessary stress to our family because I end up overbooking our calendar. In addition to pausing, I’ve had to learn to push away the guilt that arises when I need or want to say no.

Don’t take ownership of other people’s emotions

During the season we’re all riding an emotional rollercoaster. Each week the variables such as injuries, eligibility, wins, and losses (not to mention playing time) can all make for tough conversations. Ultimately a parent is never going to see things from a coach’s point of view, and sister, you know no good comes from engaging with an emotional parent.

When Coach has a frustrating day at practice, it is easy to jump on the frustration bandwagon, but this too is not helpful. Take a step back and remember that you do not have to mirror someone else’s emotions regardless of how hard they try to draw you into their crazy.

We all know the in-season is both awesome and exhausting. Executing self-care effectively begins with an awareness of the daily tasks and interactions that cause unnecessary stress and taking strategic steps to reduce as much fatigue as possible. For me, decision fatigue is on the top of the list this year. I’m hoping that by making these strategies a part of my everyday routine next September will be different.