Being a perfectionist sounds great until you realize the problems that come with that title. Perfectionism doesn’t lead to being perfect. It leads to a downward spiral that greatly affects your entire life. It can affect your relationships with your friends, family, and colleagues. It can challenge you at work and home. It can even cut into your self-care and relaxation time.
If you struggle with the impossible need to be perfect, you may be well on your way to burnout. Continue reading to learn how overcoming perfectionism can help you to prevent burnout.
What Is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism is the psychological need to be flawless and perfect in everything that you do. Perfections are often concerned with what other people think of them and their successes. Some signs of perfectionism might include:
- Having trouble making decisions
- Giving up or avoiding situations where failure is likely
- Making lists excessively
- Procrastinating by focusing on minor details for too long
- Checking your watch, your work, and even your reflection repeatedly
- Talking and reading slower so that nothing gets messed up or missed
This need for perfection is usually accompanied by self-criticism and negative self-talk. This harsh inner monologue may cause you to think things like “There is something wrong with me!” or “I should just give up!” This constant stream of negativity will inevitably cause emotional exhaustion.
The need to set such high expectations on oneself can be damaging to the psyche. It can lead to high volumes of unhealthy stress and eventual burnout.
What Is Burnout?
Burnout is a state of exhaustion that goes beyond being tired. It is physical, mental, and emotional. When you are experiencing burnout, you might feel:
- Emotional numbness
- Severely overwhelmed
- Hopelessness/ helplessness
You might feel fatigued and unmotivated. You may stop finding joy in your daily tasks. You might even find that you are having trouble keeping up with the constant demands and need for perfection that you are so used to.
How Can Perfectionism Lead to Burnout?
Perfectionism doesn’t ever lead to perfection. It does lead to an overload of stress before resulting in burnout. This happens because perfectionism causes you to think of everything that could go wrong and prepare for all of these potential issues. Perfectionists feel as if they have to do everything by themselves for it to be done properly.
This idea of being perfect causes you to raise the expectations that you’ve set for yourself when they are already higher than what you can handle. Perfectionism causes you to compare yourself to everyone else while trying to be seen as better than everyone else. You may even feel like you have to be the best at everything that you set your mind to.
Perfectionism causes you to avoid celebrating your successes and milestones because you either don’t have the time to do so or know that you can do even better. You might even feel like you will only be happy when you achieve this sense of perfectionism.
Perfectionists forget to take time for themselves. It’s likely that, if you are a perfectionist, you forget to give your mind and body the rest that it so greatly needs.
Overcoming Perfection Can Help Prevent Burnout
By overcoming this need for perfection, you can prevent burning out. It’s important to remember to think more realistically. Perfectionists often have unrealistic ideas and goals for success. You may have to remind yourself that no one is actually perfect. This includes you and that’s okay.
Sometimes you need to get a little perspective. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a look at the bigger picture and where you fit into that. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Delegate some tasks to someone else for once. Letting go is important.
Allow for compromises. Take one step at a time. Determine how much imperfection you can handle at any given moment and let go of the idea of perfection.
Stand up for yourself. If you have trouble saying “no”, you might’ve noticed that you take on too many tasks at one time and you spend a lot of time feeling completely overwhelmed. You need to start letting people know when you start feeling run down and tired so that they can ask someone else for help. If they don’t ask you to do something, you won’t feel as bad about letting them down.
Manage your time better. Make a reasonable schedule and stick to it. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by giving yourself the time that you need for each task. This can also help to make sure that you aren’t procrastinating so much when you have a lot of stuff to get done.
Set time for breaks and take them! Take some time for yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed. Read a book, go for a walk, take a nap, and, most importantly, remember to breathe.
Bouncing Back from Burnout
Preventing burnout before you start spiraling is ideal, but it’s not always possible. If you are struggling with burnout, you need to take care of yourself to get back on track. The key to this is finding balance.
Set a time to get done with work for the day and stick to it. Make time to get the creative juices flowing. Gardening, journaling, painting, making music, or writing a book are all good creative outlets to try out.
Take care of your body by exercising and eating a well-balanced diet. Improve your mental state by talking to someone that you trust. Go to therapy to work through any issues that might be preventing you from breaking this link to perfection that you are struggling with.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
We are all human. We all make mistakes. We can’t be perfect. It’s not possible! If you struggle with perfectionism, you may need help getting through this. And that’s completely okay!
Contact Bird & Associates today to get help overcoming perfection to avoid burnout.