6 tips to beat the cube of perfectionism

Olav Ahrens Røtne

Olav Ahrens Røtne

I never, ever managed to complete a Rubik’s cube. Did you?

To be honest, it never really bothered me either.

Looking back, I don’t think I have ever been concerned about being perfect. That’s not to say I won’t try my very best whenever things are important.

 In fact, I think at times, accepting imperfection has been a bit of a life-saver for me.

 Take the birth of my first child. This comes to mind specifically today as she will be turning 30 years old at the weekend. How did THAT happen?

 I was nursing at the time, and so probably had a bit more insight into becoming a first-time mum more than most. I was convinced I was the earth-mother type and drew up a plan that was all about having a natural birth.

 Well …. You have guessed it. This was far from the reality. I had a long labor on a day with abnormally high temperatures for June in the UK. I was dreadfully dehydrated, never progressed beyond 3cms dilated and ended up with an epidural, and a VERY emergency C-section under general anesthetic.

I knew that the outcome, although not “perfect” was the best thing, resulting in a healthy mum and baby. I do recall being a bit sad that I couldn’t care for my little girl for the first couple of days due to the operation and the post-op pain.

 What was extraordinary, were the comments from other women that I had somehow “failed” and that I should not feel guilty about needing help to give birth. WOW.

Fortunately, my natural confidence and somewhat laid-back attitude towards accepting imperfection as a reality meant that I didn’t take these comments to heart. But I can imagine, this would not be the case for everyone. Especially in the current climate of social pressure to have, be, do and expect perfection in all areas, at all times and on all levels.

 Now, leaving my views about the rise in the frequency of C-sections aside. My point here is about the pressure to be perfect, especially on our young men and specifically women these days. Social media has its part to play in this of course, and whilst I am in support of equality for women, there must be some reference to the fact that having a family and working involves making compromises if we are to bring up the next generation of children without attachment issues, increased anxiety levels, rising levels of obesity, behavioral disorders and shortened life-spans.

 I believe that as a woman in her 50’s, my peers have been the pioneers for equality for future women. However, there is also a responsibility to set a good example to the next generation of mothers by showing them, not telling them, that creating a healthy work/family/life balance is the MOST important thing for the health of themselves and the whole family.

 Being superwoman, trying to be perfect, is too high a bar to set for ourselves and those around us that are watching and following our every move.

 Stress, whether perceived or unperceived is the major cause of mental and physical decline, and so until we know how to manage this, we will see rising levels of disease.

 Here are my top 6 tips for stress management:

 1. Find time in the day for some peace … practice mindfulness …. meditate …. breathe deeply …. get into nature

 2. Develop a good sleep regime

3. Eat fresh, wholesome meals sitting with family, friends or colleagues and add high quality food state supplements to support the immune system.  

4. Turn off the phone/laptop/tablet and be fully present with those important to you.

5. Do appropriate exercise for your age, sex and physical ability.

6. Accept that your best is enough and so it is for your children.

Is it time to set the Rubik’s cube aside and enjoy the ride?