How to Stop Putting Pressure on Yourself

Do you feel the pressure? Not from other people, but from yourself. We all experience pressure in our lives. A lot of the time that is from other people, but it’s often the pressure that we put on ourselves that is the most damaging.

To give you an example, I remember doing up my home. I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted it to look. The living room was going to look one way. The bedroom was going to look another way. The bathroom and kitchen were going to be fabulous. It was all there in my mind. I was going to have the most perfect home. So perfect that people would think it’s a show home. I’d grown up in chaos, surrounded by mess, so now I had my own place it was going to be perfect.

That was all very nice until it came to actually doing it. My DIY skills are not great. I struggle with painting, wallpapering, putting furniture together, tiling, and anything else related to DIY. I’d decided I was going to do all of this work by myself in order to save money, but from the start I knew deep down that what I’d do would never live up to the standard that I was trying to achieve. That’s when the pressure really set in. I began obsessing over getting it right and making sure each room looked how it did in my mind. With my limited skills, it did not go to plan. I then put more pressure on myself to do it again and get it right but would end up with more disastrous results than the first time.

The pressure I put on myself began to build. I would talk to friends and family about how stressed doing up my home was making me as I couldn’t do anything right. They would say that it doesn’t matter if my home is not perfect; that everyone has odd jobs that need doing and that it’s ok for standards to not be the highest. I continued to obsess and put more pressure on myself until I began to feel unwell. It was at that point I decided to get someone in to do the work for me. Yes, it was an expense. However, I need to recognise and acknowledge my limits, how I was feeling, and take action to let go of the pressure I was putting on myself.

Now, if any work needs doing on my home, I get someone in to do it. They’ll do a much better job that I would.

So, putting pressure on yourself can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Whether it’s pressure for your home to look nice, pressure to pass an exam or get a job, pressure to look good at all times, or pressure to find a partner and live happily ever after, the pressure we put on ourselves just isn’t worth the consequences.

If putting pressure on yourself is an issue you are experiencing, here are my top tips to help you overcome it.

1. Remember that nobody is perfect. Yes, not even you. We’re all human. We have strengths, weaknesses, limits and boundaries. There are things we are good at and things we’re not so good at. That’s life and part of being a human. Recognising and accepting that you are not perfect and that it’s ok to not be perfect will help you to let go of some of the pressure you put on yourself.

2. Pay less attention to what other people are saying or doing. So, they may appear to have a perfect life with a perfect marriage, perfect home and perfect children. Life isn’t like that though. Focus on yourself and what you are doing. You don’t need to be like other people.

3. Don’t take on too much. You may want to have a full life, but there is a difference between having that and being overwhelmed. Strike more of a balance in your life, ensuring you do things that fulfil you but also take care of yourself.

4. Change the way you think. There is a quote that says something like if you can’t change a situation, change your attitude. The way you think about things can impact on the situation. By thinking about things in a different way, you may just find that the pressure you have put on yourself begins to alleviate.

5. Accept what you can’t do and ask for help if you need it. Like me with the decorating, if I’d got some help in the first place I would have avoided winding myself up with unnecessary pressure. If there is something that you feel you can’t do, it’s ok to get someone to help you with it. It will drastically reduce the pressure you’ve put on yourself to get something done.