As a recovering perfectionist, it can be tough for me to assess when I think I am meeting my own goals and when enough is enough in my life. This is something that I have learned to balance and work through during normal life but I have noticed that this has been a much bigger challenge during the Covid19 pandemic. I have noticed this for myself as well as almost across the board for my clients who also struggle with perfectionism.
While we can always theoretically, in our heads, understand that yes, we are living in a pandemic and that it is REALLY HARD; it seems to be a whole other thing to figure out what is actually realistic to expect of ourselves or even others right now.
There also seems to be a competing push-pull kind of dynamic within me lately where there is part of me that is like, let’s take this opportunity to relax and just slow our lives down and enjoy the simpler things. Then there is a whole other side that is like, “that is total BS and I want to do ALL the things and if ALL the things aren’t possible, I want to at least do everything that I am ABLE to do right now. I want to bake, and garden, and decorate my house, and work on work projects, and home projects, and accomplish every health goal I have ever had - oh and spend as much quality time with my family as possible!”
Wait, does that side sound a bit unhinged and out of touch with reality? It certainly does when you write it out and consider just how much stress many of us are enduring right now given the state of our world. It seems obvious in this moment that it is unrealistic to expect that much of myself given the fact that life is so much simpler but also more complicated these days.
Decisions have become exponentially more complicated due to all the variables we need to consider. When doing something, we have to now consider our safety and possible risk in addition to all the variables we used to consider like time, resources, finances, desires and interest in doing things. Our cost/benefit analyses of situations have gotten more complicated along with our decisions.
After over 5 months of living like this, I think most of us are worn out from how tiring and overwhelming this new reality is… I think that part of why we want to accomplish ALL of the things is so that we can live more in a space of doing rather than being. The truth is, it’s hard to just BE right now because to do that we likely need to feel a lot of the feelings that doing helps us avoid. It’s really painful to grieve our lives in such a dramatic way and sit with the pain of knowing that this situation does not seem to be getting any better anytime soon and is so dramatically impacting so many people much more seriously than many of us.
The sadness, grief, and feelings of despair can be overwhelming for many of us. And for some of us, we respond by making dramatic to-do lists of all the things we should do. I think that as long as we are being kind, compassionate, and realistic with ourselves and our expectations and can hold space for the fact that that just might be unrealistic and need to be revised, this might be an okay strategy to get through this time. If we are struggling with being kind to ourselves and changing up our plans when we need to, we might need to take some time to lean into those feelings and let them have some space for a minute so that we can figure out what is going on and what we need to get through this.
Even more so lately, life seems to be a delicate balance between finding motivation and energy for the future and our goals but also letting ourselves enjoy the moments we do have now and resting or finding something to do that is rejuvenating to our spirits and emotions. Just like everything else, this is more complicated than it used to be as there are more variables to consider. It is however, a worthwhile and important process to engage in to help us cope as best we can with a very difficult and uncertain future.
If you or your loved ones need more support during this time, we are accepting new clients at Thrive via telehealth and work with clients of all ages! Contact us today for more information about individual or group therapy sessions!
At Thrive, we take a positive, client centered approach to therapy that is focused on creating a genuine connection with our clients. If you would like to talk with a Thrive Therapist about yourself, your child, or teen attending therapy via video sessions, please reach out to us by phone at 858-342-1304.
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