3 Steps to Less Self-Pressure

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It’s Monday night, and my daughter has been sick for seven days. The fever, cough, and sore throat have left her exhausted and grumpy. (And let’s face it; I’m grumpy, too.)

In an attempt to tame the cough, I slather on some Vicks and get her snuggled in bed. Of course, not tooooo much Vicks, because I’ve recently read yet another terrifying parenting article on the internet, this time about how Vicks can be deadly if swallowed.

The next morning, somehow, the Vicks has migrated to her hair. I decide not to worry about it, because she can definitely rock the greasy Vicks ‘do for one school day. It’ll be fine. (Though I secretly cannot wait to get her in the tub and pour at least a gallon of shampoo on her head.) The question is, how did a little Vicks turn into this amazingly thorough coating for every hair on her head?

Tuesday night arrives, and bathtime inches closer. My hands are itching to scrub that cute little head.

Then, it hits. A kid-meltdown of epic proportions. My daughter is really good at these, and this is one of her finer performances. I have had the audacity to consider making blueberry scones; apparently the most offensive food on the planet.

There is no way I’m going to get her in the tub. I’ll be lucky to get teeth brushed before I get this tired kid in bed.

As I tuck her in, I have a little chat with my inner perfectionist. We discuss how we’re going to have to lower our standards today. We’re going to have to let go of the thoughts about what people will think when my daughter shows up at school with Day 2 Vicks Hair, looking pretty much like this:

My inner perfectionist can be incredibly helpful. She has high standards and holds a vision of what’s possible. (She’s also responsible for forcing me to read terrifying parenting articles about Vicks, however.)

Ironically, she often gets in the way of the very vision she holds.

She starts putting pressure on me, and the more pressure I feel, the harder it is to create the vision of excellence.

So, I’ve learned that quite often, I have to lower my standards, tune in to my inner wisdom, and cut myself some slack. Surprisingly, this often helps me create the very excellence I couldn’t achieve under all that pressure. That’s why I call this Slacker Magic.

In this case, my vision of being a good mom who’s on top of everything and sends her kid to school with clean hair was admirable. However, to be a really great mom, I had to release the pressure on me and on my daughter. I had to let us be in the mess of life, connecting as humans and letting go of things that don’t matter so much.

Sometimes, you’re going to have to lower your standards, and they won’t meet your inner perfectionist’s approval. You’ll know it’s one of those moments when you feel super stressed out and overwhelmed.

Here’s what to do when you need to let go of self-pressure so you can have less stress:

  1. Listen to the voice of the inner perfectionist. Notice how her plan feels to you, in your body. Does it create more tension? Do you feel a tightening or heaviness in your body?
  2. Take a moment to step back. Check in with your heart. What matters most to you in this situation? What’s a less pressure-filled approach you could take?
  3. Wait to take action until you find a plan that creates relief instead of tension. This is a sign you’re now aligned with your inner wisdom.

Want support with this and other Slacker Magic techniques? Come join me in the Mind-Body Magic Facebook Group!