Perfectionism rules the lives of many women, myself included, so I thought I would show you some of my favorite ways to cope with perfectionism. Throughout my childhood and teens, for some reason, if I wasn’t 100% at everything I did, I thought badly of myself and thought I was unworthy. I have no idea where this came from, as I was nothing but praised as a child for my good grades, and constantly complimented on my manners and even my looks. Perhaps this constant praise is what set me up to believe I had to be this way to feel accepted. I have no idea, but all I know is either way, my whole life I’ve had to learn ways to cope with perfectionism, or the need to be perfect and it is not easy, as I’m sure many of you know. A variety of factors can feed into our need to be perfect, but there are efficient ways to cope. Check out my favorites, and please do share yours with me. I’m always in need of good suggestions for this topic!
1. Quit Comparing
One of the hardest, but most important ways to cope with perfectionism is to quit comparing yourself to everyone else. I know that’s much easier said than done, but remember this: you were created to be you, just like you are. So long as you’re honest, taking care of your body, are kind to other people and doing your best to work towards your goals, quit trying to be the image of what “perfect” is in your mind. You can’t change the fact that you don’t look like another person, have someone else’s job, or live the same life as your favorite celebrity. What you can do is be the best version of you, who will always be true to herself above all else.
2. Focus on What Matters
It’s easy to get caught up in what perfect really is. Let me just tell you, it isn’t looks, money, men or clothes. It’s your family, your morality, how you take care of yourself, and the messages you tell yourself daily. Focus on what matters, and start with your mind. Start to focus on the important things in life, and quit focusing on what you need to do to be perfect.
3. Try Yoga
Many people swear by yoga for many things, but I’ve actually found it to be quite helpful in helping me relieve the need to be perfect. It isn’t a cure all, but it does help you to focus on being calm, caring for yourself, and embracing your body just as it is. It also helps relieve the stress from the need to be perfect, and that in itself is a huge way to combat the problem all together.
4. Zone out
Another way I like to cope with perfectionism is to zone out. This might come in the form of reading, taking a walk, going to the library, chatting with a friend or my mom, or watching a funny show. It doesn’t cure perfectionism permanently, but if you practice it daily, it will help you start to learn to focus on things that you enjoy besides just trying to be perfect. It also gets you out of your head, which is the root of where your desire for perfection lies anyway.
If you’re obsessed with exercising, this isn’t something I’d recommend overdoing, but if you’re not a regular exerciser, I do suggest you start. Exercising can give you pride in your body just as it is, it can help you combat stress, and it’s also great for your heart. It also gives you a sense of pride and motivation. Try it and find the kind that works best for you. I found it to be one of the most helpful tools in helping me fight perfectionism in my early 20s.
6. Nourish Yourself
Since I’m a nutrition major, you know I have to correlate your nutrition plan to this article, right? Seriously, though, nourishing yourself through healthy foods directly changes the way your mind works. Certain foods like foods high in omega 3 fats, amino acids from protein, and vitamin rich foods like vegetables and leafy greens truly do help stop depression and anxiety from life, and can help your mind focus more. This in return, helps combat the “overactive mind” that I call it, that leads to a constant drive towards perfectionism. I found my diet that used to be full of processed food and sugar to be one of the main causes for my depression, and my constant ADD mind, as I called it. Once I removed those foods, I felt a sense of balance like never before. It’s not a 100% foolproof weapon, but it will help dramatically.
7. Connect with Others
Another great way to fight perfectionism is to connect with others, possibly those that struggle with the same issues you do. This can help you sort out the issues at hand, or just help you focus on other, more important things. There’s nothing like de-stressing with a good girlfriend over coffee or tea, so do it often if you don’t already. If you can’t do this, then find an email buddy who can relate instead. I’ve actually found that to be tremendously helpful as well.
Perfectionism is an issue that most women in America face today, but it’s not impossible to combat with certain tools and tips like these. If you struggle with the need to be perfect, how do you cope?