It’s not a surprise that you may be experiencing a more heightened sense of perfectionism during the ongoing pandemic. With some people going back into the office, and some kids going back to school the anticipation anxiety of it all can increase. We’ve never experienced anything like this before, so there is no set roadmap of what we should do or how we should feel. One of the symptoms of perfectionism is anticipation anxiety. Naturally, we are each wired to anticipate things. Rather it be for survival purposes or for day to day to do lists, anticipation is how each of us predict outcomes to ensure livelihood. It’s literally our brain’s job.
So what is anticipation anxiety? Anticipation anxiety is fear experienced for a long period of time due to worry of a future situation. This type of anxiety often results in difficulty concentrating, trouble managing emotions or mood, jumpiness, and insomnia. But who is the real culprit? From the title of today’s post you’ve probably guessed. The culprit is none other than the P’s best friend, uncertainty. Why do the P’s have it so bad? It's likely no shocker by now that anxiety drives your perfectionism and works you up. As we are all headed back to the office, we are all stricken with uncertainty. Imagine that, as a P, you, uncertain? Never! —Your alter ego may say. But realistically, uncertainty is a part of life. So you may not like hearing this but to help decrease your anticipation anxiety you will need to sit in the discomfort of uncertainty.
At this point you’re probably asking, okay Torre but what can I do to stop this feeling? Below are a few tips to help cope with your perfectionistic approach to the future. More specifically, here are five tips to help you combat anticipation anxiety.
Tip 1: Improve your inner dialogue.
During spouts of anxiety your inner talk is likely subpar. It's quite easy to get caught up in the spells of negative self-talk and begin to negate yourself the smallest wins, subsequently leading to over analyzing and more of the cycle I talked about in a previous posting. Working on this inner dialogue can help tremendously by simply reminding yourself that you are in fact very capable of facing all of life’s uncertainties. After all, you’ve made it this far.
Tip 2: Increasing your self confidence.
Trailing behind tip 1, is tip 2. Increasing your self-confidence is a continuous process. This isn't something that can be done over night. As you read this, I would like for you to stand up and put your hands on your hips like a superhero. Yes, I know that you may feel silly but I want you to continue and say something that you like about yourself, I also want you to hold this pose for at least 10 seconds. Okay now how do you feel? Empowering right! I do this before any big speaking engagements or presentations.
Tip 3: Plan out your day.
As a P, I’m sure you’ll love this tip. This tip is a great example of how being a perfectionist isn’t all bad. There is a time and place for all things, planning included. A great way to combat anxiety in the workplace is to simply begin your morning devising a plan for the day. Try not to go too wild, though. During an anxiety spell, you’ll definitely want to take it a day at a time. Not a week.
Tip 4: Build/ Use your support system.
It doesn’t all have to fall on you. As a P, I’m certain you’re amazing, but even the greatest leader requires a support system. A great support system can help you draw out realistic outcomes during your spell of worst case scenarios. Reach out to your people and they can also help you to remember that you are human and don’t have to carry it all on your own. This is also a great time to re-evaluate your support system to see if adjustments need to be made.
Tip 5: Utilize mantras/affirmations.
Here are a few of my favorites to get you going:
“I only give my attention to things that matter.”
“What’s for me is for me.”
“Make a way or find one.”
“Fuck this shit”
Give these a whirl and let me know what you think.
—Torre LPC, NCC
Master Plan Therapy