If you’re a Type-A person, you’re probably used to setting pretty high standards for yourself. Setting ambitious goals and accomplishing a daily to-do list can be motivating, energizing, and totally satisfying. And yet, when your expectations are unrealistic, your goals are too lofty, or you try to take on too much and can’t get it done, it’s easy to feel like a failure.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted virtually every facet of our lives. And let’s face it, for a lot of people, things are nowhere near ideal. But I’m not here to be a Negative Nancy. I’m here to tell you that you should go easy on yourself when things are less than perfect.
Things Aren’t Perfect — Embrace It
Maybe you made a few New Year’s resolutions or outlined some career objectives at the start of the year. Or perhaps you have a five-year plan you can’t imagine letting go. Come March, some of these targets might have begun to slip away from you for reasons out of your control.
But listen, you’re not a failure, and you can still live a fulfilled life both now and in the future. Here’s how you can embrace your sub-optimal circumstances.
Eat (and Drink) What You Want
Eating delicious food and drinking some wine are perfectly acceptable coping mechanisms. Now’s the time to whip up your favorite dishes or try out some new mouth-watering recipes. And if they’re high-calorie or fall outside your typical diet parameters, it’s OK. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and it’s one of the only ones we have right now. This isn’t the time to be hard on yourself about what you eat or drink.
To Hell with Vanity
Haven’t had the time or motivation to look your best? There’s no better time than now to ease up on vanity. When you look in the mirror and only think about how long it’s been since you had a haircut, remember that you have nowhere to be. If you see people on social media boasting about their pandemic at-home fitness routines, remind yourself that you don’t have to keep up. If working out makes you feel good right now, great. But if you dread it, it’s OK to give yourself a break.
Do you usually have your nails done, wear a full face of makeup, or get regular beauty treatments? Think of the time and money you’re saving going without these things, and try to appreciate the opportunity to not fret about your appearance.
It’s Okay If Things Get Messy
Since sheltering in place requires us to spend almost all of our time at home, things are bound to get a little messy. There’s certainly something to be said about the positive impacts of keeping your house tidy. However, when things get cluttered and laundry piles up, try to give yourself permission to accept it. Leaving things messy for a few days won’t hurt you.
Maybe this isn’t the year you’ll be in the best shape of your life or renovate your bathroom or advance your career. And that’s okay. Go easy on yourself. After all, self-compassion is a form of self-care.
This isn’t to suggest that you stop caring about the things that are important to you. What I’m trying to say is that easing up on the standards you set for yourself might be exactly what you need. Think of it as a vacation—now’s the time to take a load off, and when things return to normal, you can dive back into your Type-A ways.
Theresa Holland is a freelance writer and lifestyle blogger specializing in wellness, beauty, relationships, and personal finance. Her work has appeared on Verywell Health, The Spruce, TripSavvy, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and The Financial Diet. Theresa lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and son.