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How to Beat Imposter Syndrome at Christmas



Christmas can be a stressful time for everyone.


But if you have Imposter Syndrome, you can pile on the “shoulds” to make it even harder.


And this year it’s going to be very different to usual...


As a friend said to me, “I just want to make sure the kids have a great day, but it’s so hard this year!”


But all of these "shoulds" are just your unhelpful Imposter voice, telling you things that aren’t true.

So it’s worth taking a step back and thinking calmly about what will give you a good Christmas.

Here are some tips to help you get through this COVID festive season in the most positive and Imposter-free way as possible!


🔥 If you don’t know yet which type of Imposter you are, you can find out in my Quiz here.

Superwoman


If you’re a Superwoman, you will be having the thought:

I should do EVERYTHING AMAZINGLY WELL to make it a brilliant Christmas (from immaculate decorations and present-wrapping to astonishing my children with elaborate Elf on the Shelf antics).

But no-one can do everything amazingly well!


If you try, not only won’t you succeed (because it’s impossible).


But you’ll also run yourself completely ragged trying, and end up an exhausted, frazzled and emotional mess on Christmas Day.


(If this sounds vivid, that's because this has been me: still wrapping presents until midnight on Christmas Eve, then up at 5am for the turkey - then in tears by teatime…😭)



So PRIORITISE your effort and energy.


Which are the elements of Christmas that matter the most to you and your family:


🎄is it the lunch, is it beautifully wrapped presents, is it writing 300 Christmas cards?


Choose!


Remember:

🚫 Presents don’t NEED homemade wrapping paper with homemade gift tags and metres of ribbon to be enjoyed - unless this is your particular favourite thing.


🚫 Lunch doesn’t have to include 5 different types of green vegetable - unless this is your everlasting family tradition.


So choose which parts of the festive season mean “Christmas” to you and your loved ones, focus on them, and let yourself off the rest.


🤶 Your Imposter will be telling you: “it ALL has to be brilliant”

🤶 Instead, tell yourself: "what makes it a wonderful Christmas in our family is [fill in your priorities, max 3!]. Anything else is less important."

Soloist


If you’re a Soloist, you will be having the thought:

I should do it ALL ON MY OWN to make it a brilliant Christmas - asking for help means I’ve failed.

Like with Superwoman, remember no-one can do everything!


Your challenge is to be willing to ask for help.


We can resist this for many reasons:

  • I don’t want them to think I can’t cope

  • that’s always been my (or “the wife’s/ mum’s) job (traditional expectations can be very unhelpful!)

  • they won’t do it right, and then Christmas will be ruined.

But you know that none of these are true - they are reasons you’ve made up and BELIEVE to be true.


So challenge them.


Work out three areas of Christmas that you can delegate, or ask for help with.


🎄 Is it stamping and addressing the Christmas cards?


🎄 Is it pre-preparing the vegetables, or collecting the turkey?


🎄 Or is it wrapping the presents?

You can always choose the ones that are harder to mess up, if you’re really worried ;)

The great thing about Christmas is that there are so many jobs, big and small, complicated and simple, that it’s actually very easy to delegate responsibilities to other people.


Otherwise you’ll also be exhausted to the point of tears by teatime…

🤶 Your Imposter will be telling you: “I have to do this all on my own otherwise I am a failure as a mum/ wife/ partner.”

🤶 Instead, tell yourself: "getting help doesn’t make me a failure, it means I am cleverly using all the family’s resources in the best way to make sure we all have a great Christmas (including me)."

Perfectionist

If you’re a Perfectionist, you will be having the thought:

it should all be 100% PERFECT and I will kill myself to make it so (or I will ruin Christmas).

I think that Perfectionist can come out in all of us at Christmas:


😱 we want just the right napkins to match the table-setting (the rest of the year, there are no napkins at all, or mismatching paper ones at best).