How can self care help you to manage and overcome Imposter Syndrome? It might not be what you think.
Self care is a relatively new concept and many people are promoting this as physical things to do, such as spa days, long soaks in the bath and getting your nails done. I’m not saying these things don’t make you feel good and I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t do these things but the feeling you get from these things are short term. If you want to make lasting change then these are not the solutions for that.
So what does self care mean to me? It means you care for yourself. Simple right. Maybe to understand it but to implement it might be a little more tricky. You see if you are experiencing Imposter Syndrome you are highly likely to not always care for yourself. Some of the ways you think and behave do not support caring for yourself. Also you may have been brought up in a culture that says that caring for yourself before others is a selfish act.
So here are 8 ways that you can start to care for yourself that will also help to manage and overcome your Imposterism.
1. Stop avoiding things
Ways that you may avoid are things like procrastinating over doing important things, hiding away from sharing your views or not putting yourself forward for new opportunities. You spend so much mental energy thinking about these things, so the best thing to do to relieve that quiet nagging at the back of your brain is just do it. Sit down and do the hard work, speak up even if you are scared, say yes to opportunities that scare you.
2. Stop overworking
I don’t mean in actual hours although this could also be an issue. It’s doing more than is expected because you are subconsciously trying to prove your worth, it’s getting stuck in perfectionism, it’s not setting healthy boundaries, it’s allowing your personal commitments to be pushed aside for work. So remember done is better than perfect, it is ok to push back on things when people try and put things on you, it’s knowing when to switch off and allow yourself to rest.
3. Say no to things
You can fall into the trap of not knowing how to say the word no as if you say no to people you feel they may judge you and think less of you. There is nothing worse than saying yes to something, then regretting it and wishing you didn’t have to do it. You’re also reinforcing that you believe you come second to everyone else. It’s uncomfortable to start to say no but every time you say no to something or someone, you’re saying yes to yourself and that can feel good when you get the hang of it.
4. Talk things out
When you’re doubting your capabilities, you may find it difficult to share your thoughts and feelings but this does not help you care for yourself. Imposter Syndrome thrives in isolation so the best thing you can do to care for yourself is find your own fraud squad. People that you trust that will listen to you. Speaking out your thoughts and feelings takes away their power and just by talking you can feel better about a situation. You might even figure out a solution by talking it out loud too!
5. Ask for help
Asking for help can be viewed as a weakness, especially if you think you need to be able to do it all (think superwoman/man). If you need to ask for help then you can’t be enough. Capable enough. Smart enough. Know that asking for help does not lessen your capabilities. Every human needs help in some way. Let people in. Let them help you.
6. Speak nicely of yourself and to yourself
When you’re doubting yourself, you’re likely to put yourself down, in your head or out loud. Putting yourself down in this way is feeding your feelings of inadequacy so the best thing you can do is watch your words. Watch how you speak to others and start to use that language with yourself. Turn that compassion inwards.
7. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and failures
One thing you need to realise is everyone fails. One thing that doesn’t help is ruminating over our past mistakes and failures. The best thing you can do is to realise that you’re either winning or you’re learning. Look back and forgive yourself for the mistakes and failures you have had. When something hasn’t gone to plan, reflect on it, learn from it and move on.
8. Set healthy boundaries
It’s all to easy to over compensate and for people to take advantage of your “giving” nature. This can be in emotional support or physical support but either way it can be tiring and draining and have you running round like a headless chicken. So look at your relationships and decide where you might need to draw some healthy boundaries. Not being there for people 100% of the time does not make you a bad person. You can be there for people but you need to find a happy balance that allows you to take into account your own needs and wellbeing.
Ultimately self care is self respect.
Implementing these self care techniques will over time help you to change the way that you think, feel and behave. However, it may take some time so to kick start your self care, pick ONE that resonates with you the most. Then ask yourself how can I make changes in this area? What am I going to do? How will I keep myself accountable and the biggest most important part, how are you going to celebrate when you do it? Maybe that’s where the spa day comes into action.