Monday, November 23

You don’t want to be perfect: 3 simple steps to reduce stress amid the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has already left more than 50 million infected people in the world and more than one million two hundred thousand fatalities.

Those who have not been directly affected by the virus have probably had to make changes in their lives to adapt to the family, economic or work pressures that the pandemic has imposed in a context of uncertainty.

According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 130 countries, the demand for consultations related to mental health problems has increased, while the health systems are not enough to respond to these requirements.

The specialists talk about an “unprecedented mental health crisis”, where one of the causes are the high levels of stress.

Tanya Dalton, consultant specialized in labor productivity, founder of the American firm Inkwell Press and author of “The Joy of Missing Out” (“The joy of missing things”), has specialized in working with women.

In these months it has been his turn to see how many of them have increased their self-demand to respond to the demands of work and their family life, particularly those who tend to be perfectionists and, for that reason, they are not allowed to fail.

“We have to be aggressively imperfect,” says Dalton in dialogue with BBC Mundo, referring to the urgent need to accept imperfection as part of our lives in a frontal way.

It is not enough, he explains, to slow down and reduce the number of tasks. What is required is a profound change in mindset that allows to accept the imperfection in our lives as natural.

An illustration with people wearing face masks
“It’s okay to feel vulnerable,” Dalton argues. (Photo: Getty)

And now, in times of pandemic, is the best time to do it. It’s okay to feel vulnerable because we are all feeling that way. “

“In all my years of experience, I have seen how that change in mindset helps them enormously at work and in their lives,” he says.

These are three simple steps to being aggressively imperfect and lowering stress levels, according to the consultant.

1. Prioritize what is important and urgent

It’s about identifying tasks that lead us toward long-term goals and that have a pressing deadline.

For that, you have to put them at the top of a list and give them top priority.

The problem is that when people are racing against the clock, there is no room to innovate or to find creative solutions. That’s where the second level comes in.

2. Develop what is important, but not urgent

At the second level are the activities that bring us closer to our final goals because they focus on future planning and self-improvement, but they do not have an imminent deadline.

And precisely because they do not have a deadline to meet urgently, it is very easy completely disappear from the radar.

It’s important to give them space, Dalton says, because it’s about the activities and projects that will eventually increase the possibilities. better performance work and personal.

3. Adapt (putting aside the unimportant things)

In the third level, things of little importance enter, which do not help to achieve long-term goals but they make a lot of noise.

For example, any everyday household chore like washing dishes. Or fulfill a commitment outside of work simply because we feel compelled to do so.

An illustration showing a woman sitting in a yoga position in front of a clock
Dalton argues that it is necessary to prioritize tasks starting with things that are important and urgent at the same time. (Photo: BBC)

Therefore, there are times when you have to say no. “It’s okay if the kitchen is a mess,” says Dalton. If it has to be done later or even tomorrow … it will have to be left for later.

The nice thing about making a list of important things, he adds, is that we stop wasting energy thinking about what comes next and instead work by priorities.

“Focusing on our priorities is what separates the busy from the truly productive “, aim.

“I spent years feeling that every day was falling short. I finally woke up and realized that there is no such thing as perfect. “

“It is time to break free,” he concludes.

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