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The Perfectionist’s Guide To Surviving The Holidays

The Perfectionist's Guide to the Holidays

It’s the time of year where those of us that are perfectionists (or recovering perfectionists) are tested to our limits…

… the holidays!

The holiday season means coordinating multiple schedules, attending more holiday parties & programs than you thought possible, mountains of last minute shopping, not to mention all the meal planning for hosting of friends and family.

Whew!  That’s a lot for anyone to handle!

This means that you put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to get every detail right and create an experience that is nothing short of a Hallmark channel movie. But who put that demand on you?

Who asked you to make everything perfect?

The combination of perfectionism and a busier than usual schedule can be destructive, both for you the perfectionist and for everyone that you encounter during this time.

As a recovering perfectionist myself, here’s my advice to survive the busy season:

1. Manage your expectations

As perfectionists, it’s in our DNA to envision the best table setting, most beautiful gift wrapping, the perfect holiday menu, or (insert any event here) imaginable and that’s what we expect. We’ll do anything in our power to make sure everything is perfect so the outcome matches our vision, but here’s a newsflash: Nothing is or will ever be perfect. Period. There’s always something that doesn’t quite fall into place or turn out as expected. It’s inevitable. Lowering the expectations to a more realistic level also lowers the stress level.

2. Focus on the important things

While you’re in holiday “planning” and “doing” mode press the pause button and ask yourself one question: What is most important about this (insert event/occasion/activity here)?

Your answer to that question will give you an idea of what you should focus on. Don’t believe me? Think back to one of your favorite holiday experiences as a child or young adult. What do you remember? Is it the perfectly set table with matching dinnerware and napkins with fancy rings? Is it perfectly coordinated wrapping paper and bows? Probably not. What is it for you? That’s the kind of stuff you should be focusing on.

3. Manage your energy

Most of us are aware of the difference between “good energy” and “bad energy” and the holidays seem to be abundant with the good kind. Beautiful lights, the spirit of giving and gathering, festive music, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t aware that they have a personal energy tank.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what is on your schedule. Everything we do each day either feeds us or drains us of energy. I’m not just talking about the big things like landing a new client (feed) or getting stuck in traffic so you’re late for work (drain). I’m talking about even the smallest of details. For me, it can be as simple as the smell of coffee brewing (feed) or emptying the dishwasher (drain).

If you were to think about your day in terms of energy management, what parts of your day would feed or drain you?

Try this as an experiment: Before you begin your day (or even the night before) envision the day ahead and make a mental note of the energy feeds and drains in your day. Do you have more drains than feeds? What could you add to your day to even it out? The more energy you can add to your day the better.

Before you go to bed review your day and make not of the same. What could you have done differently to add more energy? How is that information useful for your day tomorrow? Or the next event?

“Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve?

Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think?

Perfectionism is a hustle.”

-Brené Brown

Bold and Brave Action:

I challenge you to incorporate these three things into your day for a defined period and see what changes for you. Does your stress level go down? Do the people around you notice a difference? Head over to the  Mindy Altermatt – Creative Strategist for Solopreneurs Facebook page and share your thoughts and/or results using #authenticholidaysurvival.

Happy Holidays!

November 19, 2018

  1. Laura Mallas says:

    Mindy, I love the point about feeds and drains! I never thought of it that way before. Very helpful. Happy Holidays to you!

    • mindy says:

      Thanks for the comment Laura:-) The ‘feeds and drains’ idea was a gamechanger for me personally Laura and not just around the holidays! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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