Need to do everything this holiday perfectly?
“Nothing can give.” That’s what I’m hearing from you these days. “I have to do it all. Perfectly.” Finishing up at work. Holiday parties, holiday preparation. Time with my family. Buying gifts.
Let’s make sure you are not self-imposing stress, you have enough to deal with!
Here are 3 ways to change your perspective to help you reduce stress over the holidays. Let’s unpack that phrase “I have to do it all, perfectly”.
I have to do everything perfectly. Notice if you are taking on sole bottom line responsibility. If you are, is it appropriate to the situation? Try to share the responsibility. My client Eileen, who works for a fashion company, adapted my idea of articulating the Ideal Work Day to the Ideal Home Life. She got frustrated with the family’s messy house, and led a discussion with her husband and two teenage sons about the quality of life they wanted to experience at home. Everyone bought into the collective family vision of their home and how each person would benefit. Then each person took 5-10 minutes a day to clean a cluttered area of the house. After two weeks, they felt their home had undergone a “makeover”, and a totally fresh and positive dynamic took over! Try it over holiday break…
I have to do everything perfectly. See if you can have some objectivity about whether you have to do everything. Use this holiday opportunity to evaluate what your values are. Ask yourself: if you had to celebrate the holidays for the first time what would you want it to look like, what would make it meaningful? If putting up a tree or buying gifts makes it meaningful for you and you would choose it yourself, then go for it. If you are just going through the motions mindlessly, then choose a different approach this year (e.g., decide as a family where to donate gift money, do a potluck instead of make it all yourself) Consider spreading holiday time throughout the year – don’t wait to get gifts until the end of the year and have to do it all now, be on the lookout for cool gifts throughout the year when you travel or see a special. Consider standing out from the pack (e.g., I have a client who decided to send holiday cards for Valentine’s Day rather than now because he has too much going on and also wants to give his client’s appreciation that will stand out).
I have to do everything perfectly. When you pressure yourself to be perfect, you are trying to get a good feeling about yourself via other people’s favorable evaluation of you. But no matter how much you do, it never feels like you get that ultimate reward of proving your worth to them, or to yourself. Try a different approach: get your rewards through a sense of satisfaction or a sense of connection and don’t put yourself in this losing battle. First identify what the purpose of your to do list item is. Only effort to the point that the purpose of the task will be fulfilled, and not cross over the line where you are putting out effort but not getting any reward or additional result. For example, focus on the gift that will be appreciated and not necessarily on having to do the perfect gift wrapping. Focus the memo you are writing on fulfilling the goal of giving information the reader needs to make a decision (with offer to provide backup details), rather than go into exhaustive detail that will obscure the main information the person needs. Focus on the quality of togetherness you can have with your children as you prepare for the holidays, and revel in positive memories of doing so in the past, rather than put pressure on what the finished product needs to look like.
Wishing you rejuvenation this holiday, Sharon
P.S. And get ready as we return in January what we’ll do to get out the word of the release of my book Success under Stress 😉