How To Let Go Of Perfectionism 

Published on: 08/10/2022
how to let go of perfectionism

Today is a very special episode because it is the first guest appearance on the Freelance Dietitian podcast ever! Keith Jim, MSW, RSW, joins me to discuss: how to let go of perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and general tips to manage anxiety. 

Season 1 Episode 7

You can listen to last weeks episode here: How To Build A Freelance Writing Portfolio

How Can Anxiety Present In Health Care Providers 

Anxiety can present in many different ways for health care providers. It can look like this: 

  • Compassion fatigue 
  • Feeling drained 
  • Burnt out 
  • Fear of making a mistake 
  • Fear of judgment from others in the field  
  • Overthinking 

This is a brief list. A more comprehensive discussion on this topic is included in the episode. Each individual who experiences anxiety will present with different symptoms, but the ones listed above are some of the most common. 

The Physical Response To Anxiety 

Keith states there is a functional purpose for anxiety. The physical symptoms are a result of your sympathetic nervous system kicking in when you perceive a threat. We inherited this kind of survival trait from our ancestors tens of thousands of years ago. 

When you are anxious, it initiates the fight or flight response. For many people this can look like this: 

  • Trying to breathe in more oxygen
  • Trying to pump more blood into your vital organs and muscles
  • You get a shot of adrenaline
  • The hormone cortisol initiates a response that floods your body with glucose

All of this is happening because your body is trying to optimize itself to increase the chances of killing the threat or escaping in flight. Either outcome will result in a resolution and your anxiety will diminish. 

Daily anxiety and chronic anxiety do not have a resolution. This can result in lost sleep, changes in mood, and a general decline in well-being. In the episode Keith shares tips on how to manage an anxious response at the moment. 

How To Let Go Of Perfectionism 

Focusing on your inner critic and inner dialogue are two powerful methods of decreasing a perfectionist mindset. 

When the inner critic’s voice is negative and judgemental you are more susceptible to giving in to feelings of perfectionism and inadequacy. He states it is really important to soften the dialogue and show greater compassion for yourself. 

In the episode, Keith provides detailed exercises you can do at home to improve the relationship you have with your inner critic. 

An example of how you could acknowledge your inner critic is by saying, “I know you are trying to help me and I appreciate that. I love you for that. Thank you for you trying to help me, but it’s not working”. 

If you are interested in learning more strategies to increase your self-compassion Keith recommends following the work of psychologist Dr. Kristin Neff. You can access her website here. 

Retrain Your Brain 

Conditioning your brain to perform under stressful conditions is very common. Examples of this could look like: 

  • I work best under pressure 
  • I need to cram for my next exam 
  • If I only study for a week straight I’ll pass my test
  • I have to stay up all night to finish this assignment 

In reality, if you studied over two weeks before your exam, you could still get a good grade. After you convince yourself great results can only be achieved through stressful experiences it is hard to break the habit. 

Entrepreneurs need to learn strategies to move away from this work style. If you let your stress consume you it can burn you out! Keith confirmed you can retrain your brain out of this cycle. 

Ready to tune into this episode? Hit play on the button below! 

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Julia Zakrzewski is the host of the Freelance Dietitian Podcast. She is a clinical dietitian turned freelance writer and now she can’t stop talking about freelancing!

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