Lesson 10.3 - Tips for more rest and less stress
Hey, welcome to the third lesson in this module.
In the previous lesson, we’ve identified several physical symptoms of perfectionism. Hopefully knowing your symptoms is helpful for you, because it isn’t always easy to identify when we’re affected by perfectionism when we’re in the middle of it. Usually, looking back is when we notice something we couldn’t see in the moment.
Now, when you find yourself clenching your jaw, you can ask yourself “Is this my perfectionism at work?”
In the moment techniques
If the answer is ‘yes’, then these are some helpful things you can in that moment where you’re caught up in perfectionism.
The first thing you should do is to physically loosen up. Stand up and walk around. Dance a little and shake your limbs. Loosen those muscles.
Now, I realize that some of this isn’t possible when you’re at the office or in the middle of the grocery store. But, at the very least, you can roll your shoulders to loosen them up.
Another technique I’ve found to be really effective is box breathing. Box breathing means you breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and sit still for four seconds before taking your next breath. Do this four times and you’ll find yourself easing up, both mentally and physically.
Of course, there are also other things you can do to de-stress on a day-to-day basis. Think about things like journaling, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises.
Take a break. Not just once in a blue moon, but regularly, every single day. There have been numerous studies in the past decade exploring how taking short breaks in the day can affect productivity, concentration, memory, energy level, sleep, well-being and stress levels. Set an alarm on your phone for 10am and 3pm or whatever time works best for you and stop what you’re doing for 3 to 5 minutes.
I’ve mentioned them many times before in this course, but use affirmations. An affirmation is a positive declarative statement and they can snap you out of stress and negativity right back into the present moment. These are a few affirmations that are so powerful. I’ve put 20 affirmations in total on a handy dandy little cheatsheet that you can download, print out and hang in your office or on the fridge.
Sleep. Sleep isn’t necessarily an exercise of course, but it’s crucial for your health and well-being. Honor your body’s need for rest and honor your natural sleep cycle. If this means going to bed at 9pm, then do so.
Make time to play. We pour so much into our relationships and friendships, we pour everything we have into our work, that if we’re not careful our well runs dry. That’s why it’s so important to make space to recharge, make time for creative pursuits, laugh with friends, experience the sweetness in life and do the things that make us feel happy. For example, maybe taking piano lessons, or watercolor painting, or catching up with your best friend and having a movie night once a week really lights you up.
Here’s the thing, none of these tips are news to you. You know all of this stuff, but somehow they’ve ended up at the bottom of your to-do list. Here’s my permission slip: build that play time and that sleep time and that break time and that fill-in-the-blank time into your schedule as a priority. Seriously, prioritize it. Treat it like a locked in, serious appointment every week, so that you have all of your mental faculties ready whenever your perfectionism pops up.
Soooooo, my friend, confetti! You’ve successfully completed this course, yay! I just want to thank you so much, again, for investing in this course and investing in yourself.
I trust that by now you have taken the first steps towards overcoming your perfectionism and building a habit of imperfectionism and that you’ve put safeguards in place to stop perfectionism from being your go-to response and go-to coping mechanism, both in your work and life. That should make all the difference for you.
Now that we’re done with the course and all of the lesson, I really recommend setting aside 15 minutes a day for perfectionism busting and embracing imperfectionism. Just 15 minutes a day.
Take your perfectionism journal, or whatever shape your daily reflection time takes for you, and pay special attention to moments of perfectionistic behavior, the fear you were feeling, and moments of feeling ‘imperfect’ or not good enough. What were you doing, thinking, and feeling in those moments?
If you think “That sounds like a lot!”, remember that not everything mentioned will happen every day. And if it does, pick the moment that affected or hindered you the most and dissect that moment.
Overcoming perfectionism is a process, but you, my friend, are a fierce and fabulous dragonslayer and you have all the tools and weapons in your arsenal that you could possibly need to slay that dragon.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to work through all of the worksheets, that’s okay! Take your time with it. I’m cheering you on. I’ll be your accountability buddy if you want me to. Or reach out in the Facebook group for support and encouragement.
I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for getting the privilege of walking you through this course, to go through this process with you, and to share this experience with you. It’s been amazing. And I just want to say thank you.