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.
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?
🚫 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."
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)."
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).
😱 the presents have to be absolutely perfect for every single person, thoughtfully chosen and creatively wrapped.
😱 we want to be lively, sparkling and glamorous (despite being on our knees with tiredness).
But perfectionism is a CHOICE - and one we can choose to avoid.
❗️Kids won’t noice if their gift tags match their wrapping paper (and I learned early NOT to do fancy wrapping with ribbons and furbelows, because it just slows them getting in and they don’t like that!)
❗️No-one will care if you bought the mince pies or the sausage rolls - or even the gravy.
Let yourself off making ANYTHING perfect.
Instead, aim for “good enough” in most areas, plus maybe “great” in a few (limited!) priority areas.
Choose the ones that really matter, and really let go of the rest.
And NEVER make "perfect" your goal.
🤶 Your Imposter will be telling you: “It all has to be perfect!”
🤶 Instead, tell yourself: “no it doesn’t, no-one needs perfect, people just want things to be nice - and for me not to be too overwrought to enjoy it.”
If you’re a Natural Genius, you will be having the thought:
I should find it EASY to make it a brilliant Christmas (or I’m not a failure as a mum/ wife/ daughter etc).
This is one of those “shoulds” that we choose to lay on ourselves, and we could choose not to!
Ask yourself, WHY should it be easy? Whoever said doing Christmas was easy?!
Yes, they make it look easy on the adverts...
But we don’t live in John Lewis-land - we live in the real messy world with jobs, and a house to look after, and meals to cook.
We are not born with a Mrs Christmas gene, that enables us to cast glitter over everything with ease ✨
Christmas is A LOT of work. No-one finds it easy…
So be kind to yourself!
Lower your expectations of yourself, and get help on the bits you find more difficult.
Friends and family will enjoy being able to help you out - that’s part of the fun of Christmas (and everyone enjoys sharing their own knowledge and expertise…)
🤶 Your Imposter will be telling you: “I should be able to do this easily!”
🤶 Instead, tell yourself: “everyone finds Christmas hard at times, and in certain areas, and that’s OK!”
If you’re an Expert, you will be having the thought:
I should be BRILLIANT at baking my own mince pies/ making the house look like a magazine shoot - and I will buy another recipe book/ magazine/ watch more Nigella to make that happen (or I’ve failed).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way for you not to get found out is to taste test three different mince pie recipes to make sure you’ve got the absolute best one.
But the magazines and TV programmes are selling us an unreal perspective on Christmas.
🎄 My husband prefers shop-bought mince pies.
🎄 My daughter isn’t interested in an entirely new and tasteful decoration scheme - she wants to get out the old favourites, and put put them in their familiar places.
There is no need to be an expert at Christmas!
Instead, you can think about what matters to your family.
And if that’s a microwave meal on Christmas Eve (rather than Delia’s Christmas Eve gammon) so you’ve got time to do a tour of the local Christmas decorations, that’s absolutely fine.
A happy Christmas doesn't come from immaculate decorations, or Masterchef-worthy food...
🤶 Your Imposter will be telling you: “I should be really good at this, otherwise I've failed!”
🤶 Instead, tell yourself this: “it’s OK to be good at some bits, and less good at others. No-one needs a Christmas expert”
All of this can be summed up in two affirmations:
🎁 "help helps"
🎁 "good enough is good enough"
✅ Put these on post-its on the fridge.
✅ Make them reminders in your phone.
✅ Have them as a screensaver on your laptop.
You CAN choose not to listen to that Imposter voice.
Instead you can choose to focus on what exactly the joy of Christmas means to you, and your family.
And you can choose to be kind to yourself! 🤗
How much valuable would it be to have THAT in your head? 😊
Good luck with the next 29 days! 💖
Wishing you a Nakedly Confident Festive Season 🤶💪🔥
p.s. if you not sure which Imposter you are, you can take my Quiz here.
p.p.s. if you'd like my help so that you can banish your Imposter and discover your Naked Confidence™, you can find out more about my 3 month 1:1 coaching programme here.
And you can arrange your free 45 min intro call (so that you can experience some of my transformational tools, and we can see if we "fit"), by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org or booking into my calendar here.