We’ve all heard the phrase “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
But how is that relevant to Imposter Syndrome?
This blog sets out why it’s so important to prioritise your fun as well as your "needs".
I talk a lot to my clients about Filling Your Tank - nurturing yourself so that you have the energy and resilience to do the work around re-wiring your brain.
But it actually goes further than that.
Work can be hard.
Life can be hard.
Especially when you’re wrestling with those Imposter gremlins in your head.
And if all you ever feel as a result is "poor me", or resentful of others - it's not a supportive foundation from which to make changes...
So it’s really important to make time and space for the stuff that makes you happy (not just rested).
I have a client who is feeling pulled in all directions.
She is going to have a few months where a lot of her time, energy and financial resources are going to be focussed outwards, on other people.
People-pleasing is a big part of Imposter Syndrome!
There is always that risk that you will prioritise others’ needs over yours - either because you want the positive feedback, or because you don’t value yourself enough.
So in this situation, we worked to make sure her boundaries were as strong as possible - to limit the burden this situation is placing on her as much as possible (and to make sure it's not coming from a place of people-pleasing...).
But after that, it’s about understanding that she would also benefit from focussing time, energy and financial resources on herself!
If you feel you are giving out all the time (even if it’s for good reason), you will end up feeling resentful.
One of my favourite quotes (from Carrie Fisher) is:
“resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”
And you can definitely mentally CHOOSE to avoid resentment - because ultimately it only harms you.
But you can also choose to rebalance the scales in your favour, so you are giving YOURSELF something.
Actions to take
Follow this process to help make sure you are focusing enough time and energy on YOU.
Map out the hours in your week into clumps: working, cooking/ eating, sleeping, doing the washing/ cleaning, dealing with family responsibilities, driving/ travelling - whatever it might be. Then work out exactly how many hours in the week you spend doing things just for YOU.
Allocate yourself some You Time - even if it’s just half an hour or an hour. And don’t just do something that’s “good” for you, do something frivolous and fun! Whether that’s watch crap TV, read Heat magazine (my favourite), go shopping, or sit in the garden. And if you can do more than that (within whatever COVID restrictions still apply), then do it! Go for coffee/ lunch with a friend, book that yoga retreat, or even just a massage.
Think about how you reward yourself. Do you ever do anything, or spend money, just on YOU - not the house, or family outings, but something that purely benefits you? If not, start now! Allocate a You Budget - a certain amount of money that is affordable, but allows you an indulgence, and - crucially - spend it with a glad heart. No guilt here! You deserve this. (For me, it would be having my nails done: I struggle to justify the time and money usually - there are so many "better" things to be doing or buying - but actually, I feel happy with bright-coloured nails... 😁)
With these actions, you are rebalancing the scales to make sure YOU also feature in how you spend your time and money...
A final note - I am aware that the examples I'm giving you are from my, slightly stereotypically-female brain, because they're the ones that would work for me.
You find the actions that work for you!
Last but not least, remember, if you are in a state of resentment (because you aren't looking after yourself), you can also CHOOSE a better state.
Gratitude is an amazing alternative - if you are focussed on what YOU have, you won't be resenting others for what THEY have (and you don't).
My favourite is to remind myself of three things I'm grateful for every night just before I go to sleep.
It takes 10 seconds, but is such a powerful way of keeping my brain in a positive state - and out of resentment. Try it for a week and see! 😁
Imposter Syndrome is like a poison.
But you can not just find the antidote (a short-term solution to the negative thoughts); but you can also build up your long-term resilience so that you reduce the amount the thoughts come back.
But this takes consistent action, over time - which takes energy, and positive motivation!
When you feel like you have nothing left - because you're so busy pouring it out for other people - not only are you not able to use that energy to make the changes you want...
...but you're so eaten up with your resentment that you don't have any positive motivation to make the changes.
So look after your energy, through nurturing and self-care, AND look after your positive motivation by making sure you also make time for some indulgent fun - whatever that looks like to you.
(Just do it within a budget so you don't add a new problem! 😉)