enjoy a casual Christmas rather than perfectionismThis week two clients have lamented the stresses of “creating the perfect Christmas”. Read on for tips on overcoming perfectionism this Christmas.

Are you hooked up with perfectionism?

  • Do you strive to find the perfect gifts?
  • Do you attend to miniscule details of gift wrapping and cards?
  • Do you spend endless hours creating the ideal ambience and preparing amazing Christmas food?
  • Are you overthinking the scheduling and the details?
  • Are you worried about creating the perfect family moment?
  • Do you have high expectations of yourself and others?

Aiming for an enjoyable Christmas celebration is wonderful when it brings you joy. It’s when unrelenting standards become toxic to those pursuing the perfect Christmas, and to those around them, that we need to question if our perfectionism is helpful.

What’s wrong with perfectionism?

Perfectionism leads us to focus on avoiding mistakes and failure, and creates a negative orientation to life. Unrelenting standards often form the basis of self worth for perfectionists and come at a cost to well being. Because perfectionism is impractical it can often lead to procrastination. Why start if you’re going to fail?

Recognising the difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection can help us reduce the stress of perfectionism

Here are some tips to help overcome perfectionism this holiday season:

  1. Challenge yourself to settle for “good enough”. If that sounds difficult try visualising an enjoyable Christmas rather than a enjoy simple gift wraps rather than perfectionism
  2. perfect Christmas. And notice if you “beat yourself up” when you don’t reach perfection. Try some self-kindness in those moments.
  3. Manage your expectations. When we see fabulous images online, on tv, and in gorgeous coffee table books, remember there was a big professional team with thousands of dollars of specialist equipment to get those images looking so good.
  4. Eliminate “should” from your vocabulary. Using “should” is part of rule bound behaviour and black and white thinking. “Should” is also about pleasing others. What really matters to you?
  5. Remember the true meaning of holidays. What does Christmas mean to you and your family? What are your good memories made of? Can you get in touch with the times you felt joy at Christmas?
  6. Expect the unexpected. Stuff happens. There will be people and things outside your control that mean you may need to adjust your plans. If Aunt Mary doesn’t bring the salad for lunch don’t stress. There will probably be so much food no one will even notice.
  7. Find your funny side. Being able to laugh at yourself or the situation is a resilient coping skill. There is good evidence laughter has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. Sometimes we don’t have to take everything so seriously.
  8. Failures can make wonderful memories! Cast your mind back to some funny memories – they’re probably showing someone’s human side.

Best wishes for letting go of perfectionism. I hope these ideas help you relax and enjoy the festive season.

Action is better than perfection Kate VanderVoort

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