Perfectionist Fantasy During Social Isolation

Perfectionist Fantasy During Social Isolation

It is April 2020 and we are experiencing a global pandemic. Where I live in Utah we also experienced our first large earthquake in mid-March with well over 200 aftershocks that we are winding down from. To slow the spread of the virus many people have been forced to stay home. Individuals have lost their job, are forced to not go in, or if possible work from home with the exception of front line health care workers, grocery store employees, and occupations needed to continue to work in public.

I’m fortunate in that I work in health care but I’m able to do my job from home. My husband works for a grocery store and is out in public doing his best to keep himself and others safe. With social isolation being the best way to prevent the coronavirus, people on social media are either fear-mongering or staying positive with suggesting to use the time to work on your goals.

I love a good goal, however, I usually have a lengthy list of goals with a tendency to forget I can’t do them all at once. In this season I realized that I fell back into the perfectionist fantasy of achieving all that I can with this extra time. I find myself trying not to drown with all the things I’ve set myself up to do.

When the list of to-do’s, groups to attend and participate in, commitments, and personal goals start to feel like you are drowning it’s time to take a look at what you are actually trying to achieve. I decided it was time to bring out my journal and remind myself of my main goal for the year. My goal for 2020 was to focus on intuitive eating, learning to love myself, my body, and who I am unconditionally, and to be present. I feel these goals are still something I want to focus on and are related in nature. Since being required to socially isolate I have signed up for any group I can find that works on personal growth, self-love, and overall happiness. I had this idea that because I had more time with this isolation order that I should use the time to do all the things. I saved roughly 5 hours a week on my commute time and socializing in person. And yet I really didn’t have as much time as all of those groups would require because I added 2 more groups, a few challenges, and an unachievable expectation to do them all. Meaning I was not as present or engaged as I would like to be. I reflected back on my original 2020 goals and realized my actions weren’t aligned, and that yet again that perfectionist fantasy reared its ugly head.

I consider myself a recovering perfectionist, but this was clearly a perfect storm to bring it back out. I also recognize that this is a coping method for me, and during these uncertain times, our coping methods are needed more than ever. You may find yourself reverting back to old coping methods yourself and I want to be the first to say give yourself some grace. If you gain a few pounds or you revert to perfectionist fantasies it’s okay! You are human and we are going through something we have never gone through before, so we are coping and doing our best.

But if you happen to be coping with perfectionist fantasies of being the best-isolated person, or with an unhealthy coping method that you would like to address here is what you can do.

  • Write out your overall goals for the year
  • Compare what actions you are taking to your 2020 goal
  • If your action does not align write down everything not in alignment with your goal
  • Give yourself grace!
  • Remove anything not in alignment with your goals: groups, commitments, and even Oreos
  • Create an action plan on how you will move forward with your goal in mind
  • Decide what mindset you want to embrace during the isolation
  • Take the necessary precautions
  • Find a coping method that nourishes you

I know this is a trying time for everyone, I also know that it is up to us to do our best for ourselves and others. We get to decide who we are and how we show up. I hope that when we come out of this pandemic that we are proud of how we handled it, and that we accept what this isolation offers with grace and good mental health. I hope you are taking the necessary precautions, being safe, but also embracing this beautiful, crazy life.

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