Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

Although burnout and compassion fatigue are different, they often travel together.

If you are a caregiver or you work in a helping profession, burnout and compassion fatigue are occupational hazards. Burnout makes you feel cynical, tired, and callous toward your work or co-workers. You may be so dedicated to your responsibilities that you put your own health and wellbeing at risk to do your job.

You are more likely to experience compassion fatigue if you assist individuals who experience trauma, children in unfortunate circumstances, and people who are critically ill or dying. However, with the worlds’ traumas and dramas being continuously delivered to you via the internet, you can experience compassion fatigue just by focusing on all the suffering in the world. This can cause continuous tension, hypervigilance, and apathy.

How do you know if you’re developing burnout or compassion fatigue?

If your work no longer invigorates you the way it did in the beginning, you could be heading toward these problems.

Both burnout and compassion fatigue can rob you of the joy you used to experience when you did a good job. In either case, they can make you feel as if what you do isn’t enough or that your work is never finished. If you’re burned out, you may feel many of the symptoms associated with depression. Compassion fatigue, which is also known as secondary traumatic stress, shares symptoms with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Compassion fatigue and burnout can make you more self-critical which will make you feel less deserving of self-care and time for yourself. Then, if you stop taking good care of yourself, your feelings of defeat can expand.

The Consequences of Burnout and Compassion Fatigue

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of burnout or compassion fatigue and they’re not getting better, you likely don’t have the skills you need to prevent or recover from burnout or compassion fatigue. You may wish you could quit your job and you may even do it. You may also be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, sex, or food to escape from your feelings.

If you stay on the job, you’ll still have your technical skills, but you won’t feel connected and engaged the way you once did. You’ll be surprised by how many mistakes you make; the high stress caused by both burnout and compassion fatigue can make it difficult to think clearly.

Caregivers need care, too.

The way you mentally process your experiences has more influence over whether you become burned out or suffer compassion fatigue than the situations you experience. Some people succumb faster than others, and some don’t succumb at all. The difference is in how they think about their experiences.

Therapy Can Help

You don’t have to leave a profession you worked hard to enter. You can recover from or prevent burnout by developing skills that help you process the stressors you experience as a caregiver. Many of the same skills help prevent and heal compassion fatigue. With the right skills, you can care more without taking on the emotional burdens of being a caregiver.

In therapy you can work through healthy ways to process your experiences in order to reduce the amount of stress you experience each day. It can help you learn how to create healthy boundaries that allow you time for self-care and to enjoy your life. When you understand how your habits of thought influence your reactions, you can choose your perspective based on whether it supports you or makes you vulnerable.

If you’re ready to learn how to cope with, and improve, the stress associated with your caretaking roles, reach out to us. This is work we do with clients every day, and we want to help you, too. You can reach us via email or text, or by making an online appointment.

Negative Thinking and Core Beliefs

Over your lifetime you have developed deeply-held core beliefs that guide how you think, act, and relate to the world around you. These core beliefs do not always originate from explicit messages you’ve been taught (though they may), and many times you may not even be aware what these core beliefs are. When these core beliefs about yourself, others, or the world are negative, your life will be less fulfilling than it could be.

What are the effects of negative thinking?

Negative thoughts are stressful. And when your core beliefs are negative, you think a lot of negative thoughts. That means you are chronically stressed, which is unhealthy for your mental, physical, and relationship health.

The more negative core beliefs you have, the more fear and self-doubt you will experience.

And the more scared and uncertain you are, the more comforting your comfort zone will feel—even if your comfort zone isn’t logically something with which you want to be comfortable. For example, someone with a negative core belief that “I’m not worthy of being treated well by others” may remain in a toxic relationship because it fits their belief system. In that way, the toxic relationship feels comfortable because it supports an existing belief system, even though it is obviously anything but comfortable.

If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, it is a sign that there may be an underlying negative core belief that is causing you to interpret the situation in a painful, pessimistic, or self-critical manner. You will naturally defend your beliefs because they feel true to you, and you have been looking for, and found, much evidence for holding on to that negative core belief. That problem is, you haven’t been looking for evidence to the contrary.

Do you wonder why other people seem able to handle change easier than you do?

Negative thinking focuses on problems rather than solutions. Negative beliefs spawn negative thoughts that trap you in situations you would like to leave. They also make situations that could be good feel as if they are bad.

In comparison, a person who has positive beliefs about their ability to successfully escape an uncomfortable situation is much more likely to be able to do so. This because they have been spending time planning, envisioning a way out, imagining a better future for themselves, and believing in their ability to get there. This creates an upward spiral. It provides the energy for the person to begin taking steps forward and then feeling the benefit of those positive steps, which provides more motivation to keep moving forward.

Do you feel stuck?

Are you stuck in a job, career, or relationship you are afraid to leave? Are there things you want to do but tell yourself you can’t do them even though others with similar resources do them?

People with negative core beliefs often hold beliefs about themselves that feel true for them even while they recognize those beliefs are not true for others. Thoughts like, “I’ll never measure up” are thoughts people routinely have about themselves. However, they would never say that about a friend or family member! They might even hate the thought of that friend or family member ever thinking that way. Yet they will direct those same thoughts towards themselves with great frequency.

Your beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Those beliefs shape your thoughts, words, and actions. Essentially, you get what you expect. When you work on changing a negative belief, your life will change. The change will create a better future and it can rearrange your past in ways that reduce or eliminate painful memories.

The Benefits of Improving Negative Thinking and Negative Core Beliefs

What would your life feel like if you began seeing the silver lining in the traumas and dramas from your past? Resilience is the ability to keep going when you face adversity. Resilient people aren’t stronger than you. Resilient people think differently. They have healthy self-esteem, self-compassion, and they are optimistic about their ability to overcome obstacles. Every one of those characteristics requires supportive core beliefs.

Each of those perspectives can be learned. Negative beliefs are only self-fulfilling prophecies because you believe them. They aren’t true for people who don’t believe them and when you change them, they will stop being true for you.

Therapy Helps You Change Negative Core Beliefs

Developing self-supporting beliefs and healthier, positive habits of thought is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself. At Affinity, we help you choose which beliefs to cultivate and help you learn skills that make the process easier for you. Reach out to us today to begin creating the new, improved version of you free from anxious thinking.

Career Development and Navigating the Work-Life Ratio

Pressure to achieve success further and faster comes at us from every angle.

You’ve worked hard to prepare yourself for a successful career. But it seems so much more difficult to meet all the demands on your time at work and at home than you anticipated. The pressure is never ending and when you zone out on social media, seeing friends’ careers take off adds to the never-ending pressure.

You wonder if it will ever end. Is work-life balance an achievable goal? You want a successful career, but you don’t want to sacrifice all the things that will make it meaningful, including friends, family, and time for fun. Having a more satisfying work-life ratio seems elusive to you, which creates a daily feeling of never having enough time.

Work-Life Balance Isn’t a SMART Goal

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Because a goal to achieve work-life balance isn’t a SMART goal, studies show it increases stress. It causes people to feel frustrated and unsatisfied with themselves, their jobs, and the time demands their family requires.

If your life feels harder than it was for prior generations that’s because your life is harder than theirs in many ways. Completely disconnecting from work is challenging. Your boss may expect to be able to reach you and communicate at all hours.

If you manage to get work under control, your family complains you aren’t paying attention to them. When you pay attention to your family, work spins out of control. It’s difficult for you to feel competent in either place because competing priorities keep you feeling off kilter.
You want a happy medium but despair that you’ll ever be able to achieve it.

You Can Find the Right Ratio for You

Ratio is a more appropriate term than balance for two reasons. First and most importantly, because to balance is to be static, and your life is anything but static. Secondly, because ratios recognize individual and situational differences.

If you are pursuing a world-changing passion career, you may want to spend almost all your time on your career. If that’s you, the expectations of people in your life who aren’t part of your career need to be managed. Whereas if your definition of success is financial stability because of its benefits to you and your family, you will likely want to devote more time to your home life.

You get to decide the right ratio for you. The right ratio for you today may not be the right ratio at another point in your life. Attempting to achieve perfect work-life balance can add more stress without helping you achieve any of your goals.

How Therapy Moves You Towards More Satisfaction and Less Stress

Instead of a work-life balance goal, we spend time helping you identify the work-life ratio you would like to achieve. Once you know your ratio, there are two ways to help ease the frustration and anxiety the quest for work-life balance created. One is the use of problem-focused strategies that modify things in your environment by identifying the priorities that matter the most to you.

The second is helping you develop transformational stress management skills that will allow you to feel better and relax more. The degree to which you understand how your brain works and how well you use that knowledge can reduce the amount of stress you experience without changing your circumstances.

Learning psychological tools that increase your psychological flexibility will help you feel less stressed at work and at home.

If you want to master the art of having it all without killing yourself with the anxiety of trying to achieve it, we can help. Contact us for answers to your questions or schedule an appointment online.

Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem, and Assertiveness

We create our lives from the inside out. Our beliefs about ourself influence the way we interact with the world.

When you have low self-esteem, it isn’t possible to feel self-confident. Faking it doesn’t help. It just creates stress because you aren’t being authentic.

Authentic is when your words and actions mirror your beliefs. The reasons you have low self-esteem may all be bogus self-recriminations, or false narratives you were taught as a child, but attempting to act different from your beliefs creates stress that makes life harder.

It is easier to change your beliefs so that they support becoming who you want to be than it is to pretend you are something you aren’t. When you believe you are worthy and good, self-confidence and self-esteem come naturally. When you are confident, being assertive and standing up for yourself or for what is right doesn’t feel so hard.

Is it necessary to know why I believe something before I can change a belief that isn’t helping me?

That may be the best question anyone could ask. The answer is no, you don’t necessarily have to know why. Some people will be able to identify some reasons or develop some hunches, though, with a little digging.

For instance, maybe you raised to focus on your flaws or to believe that self-esteem is a problematic quality. Many well-meaning parents believe it is their job to point out their children’s flaws to help the child do well in the world. Some families or communities believe that self-esteem is equivalent to narcissism and thus incompatible with humility. Or maybe there was a sense of “never good enough” in your family growing up, where the focus was on how much better you could be.

In those situations, parents and communities are often short on praise and long on critical or constructive feedback, which then becomes the norm for a child. If you grew up in an environment like that, you may have difficulty seeing or believing in your goodness or your worth. Those thoughts and beliefs simply haven’t been cultivated in your lived experience.

You may not be as easily able to answer “why” you struggle with self-confidence, though. Instead of spending a long time being critical of yourself for that, you could instead spend time intentionally nurturing beliefs that will help you become the person you want to be.

It’s actually not difficult for you to find out what you want to believe about yourself and the world you live in. Clues are in the things that resonate with you. Any phrase, image, quote, meme or memory that makes your heart feel lighter points you in the direction of the beliefs you want to cultivate. You can learn to be intentional and insistent about lighting this spark of self-esteem in your internal narrative every day.

There are geniuses who have low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem doesn’t mean you are worthless—it only means you don’t see your own goodness. Your beliefs may make you believe you aren’t worthy but that is just a perception; not a fact. It turns out that our perceptions about ourselves are more about our habits of thought than they are reflections of the reality of who we truly are.

Healthy self-esteem leads to self-confidence and assertiveness. Low self-esteem holds you back from achieving your dreams, from creating the relationships you yearn for, and from becoming the best possible version of yourself. Focusing on developing positive, supportive beliefs naturally raises self-esteem.

Living with low self-esteem doesn’t feel good. As your therapist helps you develop positive beliefs about yourself, your self-confidence will increase. What surprises many people the most is how much better their mood feels and how easy laughter wells up once the pressure caused by self-deprecating beliefs eases.

At Affinity, we see the goodness in you, and we acknowledge your inherent worth. Our clarity helps you see the truth about your goodness and worth, too. New self-confident beliefs develop through repetition, which we will help you practice. With our professional guidance, you will begin feeling more at ease in the world, and as your self-esteem grows, you will find yourself more able to be assertive in your quest to get your needs met and reach your goals.

When you feel the spark of inspiration to begin taking the steps to become more self-confident, act on it! If you’re feeling hopeful right now, reach out to us through email or text to help with your anxiety. It’s the only step you’ll have to take on your own. We’ll help you the rest of the way.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder / OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD, is a commonly misunderstood condition. You may feel like you can’t even open up to people about it because of all of the myths they’ll incorrectly assume are true about you. Left untreated, though, OCD tends to get worse. There is help available. You are not alone in this.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

There are two key components to obsessive compulsive disorder: obsessions and compulsions.

The obsessions are your endless, persistent, constantly looping thoughts. The stereotypical OCD patient is the one who is obsessed with germs. They have thoughts about how dirty things are, or how sick they may get from touching something. This is definitely one type of obsession in OCD, and you may have it. However, you may not relate to this at all. People’s OCD obsessions are many and varied. They include:

  • Fears about personal safety including break-ins, mugging, fire, etc.
  • Fears around loss
  • General feeling that something bad is going to happen
  • Repetitive religious thoughts that are upsetting
  • Thoughts about harming self or others
  • Unwanted thoughts about sexual behavior

The second part of the condition is the compulsions. The compulsions are the behaviors that you do in order to cope with the anxiety that the obsessions cause. In the case of the person obsessed with germs, the stereotypical compulsion is frequent handwashing. Compulsions may include:

  • Checking things repeatedly, such as whether or not a door is locked
  • Counting items aloud or in your mind
  • Hoarding items
  • Organizing and re-organizing items to be symmetrical, alphabetical, color-coordinated, or “just so”
  • Repeating certain phrases, sentences, or passages

Living with OCD is distressing. You don’t want your mind to keep obsessing. You wish that you could just shut it off and stop engaging in the compulsions. The more you try, the more distressing it can feel. The people around you don’t understand. We understand.

Myths About OCD

One of the biggest myths of OCD is that people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are dangerous. In particular, if you have the kind of OCD filled with intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or others or engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior, then you might worry about judgment. You might even give in to the myth yourself that you are a bad person who can’t control yourself from harming others. However, we know that this is just a myth. People with OCD are not any more likely than anyone else to harm others. We can help you see the goodness in yourself.

We understand that there are different types of OCD and many different ways that OCD manifests for people. We will never make assumptions about what it looks like for you. Instead we will learn from you how the condition presents in your life, how you’re already managing it, and how you’d like for it to be different.

We understand that every person’s experience of OCD is unique, and your path forward will be unique as well.

We offer a safe non-judgmental space where you can express your thoughts, fears, and obsessions. People with OCD sometimes worry that the people around them would be horrified to hear all of their internal thoughts. We welcome you to share these so that we can help you get past them.

Can Therapy Help with Your OCD?

Therapy for OCD is often highly successful. OCD is a form of anxiety, and therapy can help you to cope with that underlying anxiety so that you can find relief. We work with you to assist you in reducing the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive behaviors. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

https://affinitypsych.com/grief-counseling/

Many people struggle with eating disorders. In fact, even people who don’t have a full-blown eating disorder often have challenges with food.

We live in a society that really challenges us when it comes to body image and eating. You may feel like you’re only worthy of love and success if you look a certain way. Even if you come to some acceptance of your body, you may struggle to figure out what’s right for you to eat.

Moreover, you might feel like you’re the only one who faces this challenge. Especially in the age of social media, it can easily look like everyone else is getting life right. You might feel totally alone, however eating disorders are unfortunately very common. You very much are not alone. You can get help. More importantly, you deserve to feel comfortable in your own body!

What is an Eating Disorder?

If you have an eating disorder, then you experience some kind of persistent challenge when it comes to food. Perhaps you eat too much or too little, but it’s less about the quantity of your consumption and more about your emotions and behaviors around eating. If you’re constantly thinking about, worrying about, and obsessing over your food or your weight, then you might be dealing with an eating disorder.

There are different types of eating disorders. If you struggle with anorexia nervosa, then you’re probably terrified of getting fat. You severely restrict your food intake, probably counting calories, and consistently try to eat less and less. No matter how much weight you lose, you feel like you’re still too fat. People tell you that you’re too skinny, but you still feel like you’re not skinny enough. You’re frightened that if you stop being so vigilant about what you eat then you’ll immediately gain weight.

People with anorexia usually end up becoming very thin. In contrast, if you have bulimia nervosa, then you might be thin, but you might also be average weight or overweight. You might go through periods of restricting what you eat but then binge and eat a lot of food all at once. Then you feel bad about eating, so you purge. If you eat a lot of high-fat, high-sugar, carb-rich food all in one sitting, especially if you eat it really quickly and barely even notice how it tastes, then you might be living with bulimia.

However, there are other types of eating disorders besides these common two. For example, binge eating is similar to bulimia but without the food restriction or purging. On the opposite end is purging disorder, which is like bulimia without the binge eating. There is also orthorexia which is an obsession with trying to eat healthy, where the focus is on types of food not necessarily calories or weight control.

In other words, there are many different types of eating disorders. You don’t have to fit in a specific box. If you struggle with food, then you face a daily challenge. You deserve to be free of the pain of that challenge.

The Dangers of Eating Disorders

At a minimum, eating disorders make each day a little bit harder. When you spend your time, energy, and mental focus consumed with your food, you don’t have as much of it for other things. You can’t enjoy the wonderful things in life because you’re preoccupied with what is going into your mouth. You have so much to offer the world, but you don’t get to express those great traits, because you can’t stop thinking about your food. You deserve better than that.

Additionally, eating disorders can lead to a wide range of other issues. Your entire body can suffer. If you don’t eat enough, your body can actually start to eat its own tissue in an attempt to survive. You might think it’s great that you’re getting skinnier, but your body isn’t just eating away at its own fat. It’s also eating away at your heart and other organs. This can lead to pain and discomfort at the very least and suffering and death if it continues.

Plus, your brain needs healthy eating to thrive. Eating too much or too little can drastically affect your brain function. As a result, you might not be able to concentrate or perform your best. You are so important and valuable in this world. Therefore, you shouldn’t let an eating disorder cut short your life and potential.

Therapy to Help with an Eating Disorder

We understand that eating disorders develop for a reason. We want to help you figure out the reason that this has affected your life. We don’t have any judgments or preconceived notions about what food you should eat or what amount you should weigh. Instead, we simply believe that you deserve to have the best quality of life possible, and we want to help you work through your eating disorder so that you can have that great life.

You might discover that trying to get past eating disorders brings up all sorts of thoughts and emotions. It can feel very overwhelming. However, you have the strength within you to work through whatever comes up. We can provide you with support and resources so that you can develop your own insight to allow you to manage whatever life might throw your way.

If you are interested in learning more about therapy for eating disorders, then reach out to us for help today.

Managers, Executives, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners

The work that you do is so important, which is exactly what makes it so incredibly stressful. Even when you love what you are doing, believe in it, and are successful at it, work creates extra pressures in your life that didn’t exist when you had fewer responsibilities and fewer people looking at you to lead them. There are times when it can feel as though the stress will break you. You keep going, but it’s at the expense of your relationships, happiness, and health.

We understand.

Therapy for Executives

Executive therapy comes from a place of deep understanding that the many successes you enjoy in your career can also cause problems in your life. You may feel like you are thriving in your business but never have time for family. Or you may grapple with the feeling that even though you’re at the top of your game, you could lose your footing at any second.

Professional therapy for executives empowers you to utilize all of your strengths while also addressing the more vulnerable side of your personality. Many professionals worry that tapping into this softer side will damage them professionally. If you’ve spent your life in competition to get to the top, then you may fear that you’ll lose your edge.

That fear is lying to you. All of the strengths you come to the job with are there within you and won’t go away. On the other hand, if you have underlying emotional issues that you aren’t addressing, you may actually be compromising your job performance in the future. Executives do burn out.

When You’re the Boss, Who Can You Confide In?

In so many ways, it is wonderful being at the top. You’ve worked hard to earn that place. Whether you’re the CEO of a large company or an entrepreneur with your own small business, you put in long hours and made many sacrifices to get where you are. It comes with many benefits.

However, there’s a reason for that saying “it’s lonely at the top.”

As the boss, you may feel that you have to maintain a certain image. You don’t want to appear weak, indecisive, or faltering. Of course, naturally, you have those human emotions just like everyone else. Each day you deal with myriad decisions and stressors, and it’s only normal to react to them.

Your staff are likely the people you spend the most time with. Yet you may feel like you can’t reveal these parts of yourself. Your family doesn’t want to hear about your problems because they already feel like they don’t get the best parts of you. So, who do you turn to? Therapy can help.

Don’t Manage Your Mental Health Alone

You are not alone in this. We recognize your fundamental strengths and want to help you utilize those in ways that allow you to thrive not only at work but in all areas of your life. We respect and honor where you are in your career while also helping you attend to your mental health.

You may find therapy for business owners helpful if you:

  • Are a minority leader struggling with diversity issues “at the top”
  • Feel unfulfilled despite all external signs pointing to your success
  • Find that your relationships are suffering due to a problematic work/life ratio
  • Have days when you just don’t want to answer the phone or deal with the job
  • Want to take your own business in a new direction but face fear

Reach out today to make an appointment if you are experiencing anxiety or depression. We want to support you as you continue to grow.

College Students and Graduate Students

The pressures of pursuing higher education can take a toll on your mental wellbeing.

As a college student or graduate student, it may seem to some like you are a privileged member of society because you have the opportunity to pursue higher education. They may perceive you as being free of the worries that plague those who are working full-time, but you could tell them a thing or two about that.

You worry about doing well in your classes. You worry about how you compare to your peers, who may be your job competition one day. Speaking of that, you worry about getting a good job when you graduate and, now, you worry about a job that will allow you to repay your loans, too. You feel strongly about the education you’re pursuing, but it’s not necessarily reducing your anxiety about the future.

Undergrad and graduate students often aren’t living the college life portrayed in the movies.

The high demands you experience are relentless. There is always more to know and understand about the world. Your workload is larger than any previous generation, and many students are working their way through school at the same time, so there is less space in their lives to relax and rejuvenate. The pressure can even make it can feel difficult to allow yourself to take a break, and when you do rest, you feel guilty for it because the voice in your head says you should have been spending that time working.

You have high expectations of yourself and work every day to achieve them, but your resources are often limited. Has the constant stress from trying to balance work and studies made you anxious, depressed, or feel burnt out?

If you feel that way, you aren’t alone. Research has reported depression and anxiety rates among college students and graduate students that are six times higher than the rates in the general population. Something in the culture and the higher education system is broken. These problems cause you to feel constant stress, which can even interfere with your ability to sleep.

When sleep deprivation and stress are combined, it is more difficult for you to deal with the stress, which can leave you feeling unhappy and depressed at times. This combination also makes you feel less resilient and less able to solve problems that arise. It can rob your day of enjoyment.

While we can’t fix what is broken in the culture and the higher education system for you, we can help you deal with it more effectively. Healthy coping and stress management skills are required to endure the rigors of higher education.

The skills you’ll learn at Affinity provide you with the ability to minimize the amount of stress you experience, so you can work smarter and not harder.

When stress and pressure take up less space in your life, you’ll have more space for other priorities that are important to your overall success and wellbeing. Priorities like restful sleep, meaningful relationships, pleasurable activities, and a sense of satisfaction and pride that you have rightfully earned.

We will help you focus on your strengths so you can use them to help you achieve your goals. You’ll stop borrowing trouble from the future and leave worrying about your first post-grad job until the time when you can take action. You’ll know the difference between an unsolvable problem and a problem that you can’t solve today.

There is much you can do to make college and graduate life less stressful and more enjoyable. You’re likely to think you don’t have time to address the struggles you’re having, but that’s because you’re not factoring in how much easier and faster your work will be when you’re less stressed. Use our online scheduler or contact us to set-up an appointment today.

“Type A” Personalities

You have a “Type A” personality and you accomplish a lot. But sometimes you have difficulty truly enjoying those accomplishments. As soon as you reach a goal, you’re off to conquer the next challenge because relaxing is a waste of time—doing nothing elicits feelings of guilt or waste from you. You’ve got things to do and you’re in a hurry to get them done.

Not only do you not have time to stop and smell the roses, you don’t see what doing so would accomplish. Taking a break to do something fun doesn’t help you accomplish your goals and it might give someone who doesn’t take a break an advantage over you that allows them to win.

While you’re taking care of your career, who is taking care of you?

Your sense of urgency makes you a reliable employee who is trusted to get things done, but you don’t take time to relax. You often delay personal care tasks such as haircuts, dinners with partners or friends, and annual physicals because they take time away from your work.

You may feel as if you’re the only one who can accomplish the goals that need to be met at work. When others fall short of the high bar you set, you can get frustrated quite easily, which doesn’t always win you a lot friends. This can make you seem bossy and controlling because of the increased tension you feel when things aren’t going the way you think they should.

Do you remember the last time you truly relaxed?

Where were you? What were you doing? Was someone even more demanding than you in charge of the outcome? Do you remember how your body relaxed as if a weight was lifted from your shoulders? Do you wish you could feel that way again, but can’t trust anyone else to get things done?

Do you resent not being able to trust others to do what needs to be done, which leaves the burden on your shoulders? Are you always in a hurry, whether you’re walking, eating, or in a meeting? Do you take work home with you almost every day? Do you take work on vacation with you?

What if taking a real break is the key to winning?

You accomplish a great deal because you work hard continuously. You don’t have time to absorb the lesson in the books written by great leaders who describe the moments when life-changing insights occurred when they took a moment to relax. Or, you think they would have achieved the insight sooner if they worked at it.

People who have Type “A” personality traits tend to be on the less creative side. The reason for this is because creativity requires space. When you’re constantly working, you don’t leave room for insights to come to you. Your worry about missing out may cause you to miss out.

Despite, and often because of, all your accomplishments and hard work, you are statistically more likely to have serious health problems. What if you could accomplish even more with less effort by making some changes in the way you approach your life and work?

How Therapy Can Help You Do More with Less Stress

Think back, in all the training you’ve had over the years, did anyone teach you how to use your mind to maximize both your achievements and enjoyment of life? We don’t want to dissuade you from your goals, we want to help you achieve them without giving up your joie de vivre along the way.

Making an appointment is quick and easy. You can email, text, or schedule an appointment online if you are struggling with anxiety over your work ethic. It may be one of the most productive moves you ever make.

Perfectionists

Is it possible for you to be simply “good enough?”

If your inner voice responded negatively to that provocative question, you may be a perfectionist. You set high standards and you work hard to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. Do you sometimes notice, though, that you are more focused on what you did wrong or what isn’t working instead of everything that is going well? You want things to be flawless, but are they ever truly perfect?

Sometimes you may find it difficult to take in praise from others because it doesn’t ring true for you. You know the things that weren’t perfect, so it can feel difficult to celebrate the outcomes or connect to others’ excitement about them.

You may also find that you put off doing things because you know it will be difficult to do it just right. Or, because you worry you will make a mistake, you decide it’s easiest to simply not start something in the first place.

Do you consider being a perfectionist a strength?

Doing well is important, no doubt. But as a perfectionist, the challenge is that you may never think you’ve done well enough. You find it hard to appreciate your accomplishments because you focus more on what you haven’t achieved. Or, you compare your achievements to the artificially retouched and edited versions of others’ lives on social media and decide you aren’t actually living up to high standards after all.

Sometimes it feels like your life is a never-ending treadmill that stopped being fun a long time ago. Despite the high standards you set, you never feel finished with your projects because you continually think of things you should do to improve the final result.

It is constraining to constantly be thinking about all the things you should do, or do better, or do again.

For instance, you decide you want to go on an exciting and enjoyable trip, but then your perfectionist brain goes to work and it immediately becomes a stressful prospect. You will have to find a lovely place to stay, with all the right amenities, in the most centrally-located spot, at the best price, during the time of year offering the most ideal weather, with the most convenient and affordable travel to and from the place. And all of that is just to get you there, so those stresses are only the tip of the iceberg. Once you work out all those details, you realize you need the perfect clothes to wear or the trip will be ruined. Your stress spikes again as you judge your closet, and later, as you judge yourself in the harsh florescent department store lights as you look in the dressing room mirror. And on and on it goes.

The trip is an analogy for every aspect of your life—college, a party, a date, buying a home, planning a wedding, creating an exercise routine, finding a job, and even grocery shopping. Everything you do is haunted by the idea that you will need to do it perfectly.

Setting and achieving high standards seems rational to you. After all, everyone sets standards that they live by, and yours have led to a lot of successes so far. Who dislikes a person that can make things go so well, after all?

Our standards play an important role in guiding our behavior. Sometimes, our environment or experiences taught us that making mistakes or being less than perfect isn’t acceptable. Or maybe we have difficulty coping with the distressing feelings that happen when something doesn’t work out exactly as we intended. Instead of recognizing that humans are designed to make mistakes and learn from them as they grow, we can internalize standards that require us to be flawless.

Adopting perfectionist standards may help you at times, perhaps many times, but there is a cost to that perfectionism that only you pay. The cycles created by perfectionism ultimately make your life harder. The more you show up perfectly, in your personal or professional life, the greater the expectation from yourself and others that you will continue to show up perfectly.

Conversely, when you avoid things because it will be difficult to make them perfect, those commitments build and build until the stress you feel about them becomes overwhelming. And because you’re a perfectionist, you can’t easily let yourself out of any of those obligations either.

If you are struggling with anxiety because of your perfectionism, you are not alone. Please reach out to us so we can help.