How pandemic stress is changing the way we make decisions: ‘So many people are struggling’

CBS4 This Morning

For so many of us, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is near.

A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association detailed an overwhelming majority or adults (70%) feel like things will “work out” after the pandemic ends. With even more (77%) saying that they are faring “well” during the pandemic.

But for others, a year and a half of uncertainty has had lingering effects.

According to the same survey, more than a third (36%) of adults say it’s been more stressful to make day-to-day decisions and major life decisions compared to before the pandemic. Even basic decisions like what to wear or what to eat have become more difficult. 

While 32% of all adults who answered the survey said this was the case, for millennials the rate jumped to 48%. Gen-Z was 37% and Gen-X was 32%.

“Decision-making fatigue” also had large impact on parents. Especially those with young children. According to analysis by the American Psychological Association, who commissioned the poll, “parents with children under age 18 were more likely than those without children to say that both day-to-day decisions and major life decisions are more stressful than they were pre-pandemic (daily: 47% vs. 30%; major: 44% vs. 31%), with 54% of those with young children ages zero to four reporting that day-to-day decisions have become more stressful.”

The results of the poll aren’t surprising, according to Tim Mallory, a therapist with Counseling at the Green House.

Everyone that comes in to Counseling at the Green House for services, COVID anxiety has played a role in part of why they’re coming to talk,” Mallory said. “So many people are struggling to make sense of what to do next,” he added.

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed to the point its impacting your day to day decisions, Mallory recommends seeking counseling. However, if you’re at home wondering how to cope, he says it’s important to start small.

“Focus on making your world small. So that on those small decisions, if there’s not a lot of effort that needs to be put into it… take some pressure off the decision for game time. If you know that you have a meeting tomorrow set it up the night before. Make your world small. Focus on the stuff that you can control and go from there,” he said.

Mallory added that it’s also important to recognize that you’re not alone in struggling with these issues, so you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.  

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