insights: Personal Growth

Priorities – The Prescription for Perfect Holiday Syndrome

What’s a perfectionist suffering from PHS supposed to do? PHS sufferers can get immediate relief by taking time today to create a list of priorities. Part of what makes perfectionists, well, perfectionists, is that there is a significant need to control situations. When a perfectionist feels in control, an internal voice tells them everything will be “all right.” So, in a way, they are using this control in an attempt to calm their anxiety. It doesn’t work. But, to the perfectionist, the illusion of control gives them a “perfectionist calm” that keeps them going and going and going.

A Proven Treatment for PHS:
Creat a List of Priorities.

If you’re a perfectionist, the holiday season marks the time of the year when you go into hyper-drive: filling the season with anxiety, panic attacks, tense muscles, irritability, and much more. Whether you’re attempting to bake the perfect cookies, buy the perfect gift, write the perfect holiday letter, craft the perfect hand-made holiday gifts, cook the perfect meal or capture the perfect family holiday moment, PHS (Perfect Holiday Syndrome) hits its peak during the holidays.

What’s a perfectionist suffering from PHS supposed to do? PHS sufferers can get immediate relief by taking time today to create a list of priorities. Part of what makes perfectionists, well, perfectionists, is that there is a significant need to control situations. When a perfectionist feels in control, an internal voice tells them everything will be “all right.” So, in a way, they are using this control in an attempt to calm their anxiety. It doesn’t work. But, to the perfectionist, the illusion of control gives them a “perfectionist calm” that keeps them going and going and going.

By creating a list of priorities, before full-fledged PHS sets in, the perfectionist is able to create healthy boundaries and tasks so they can enjoy the holiday season without going crazy. Yes, it’s possible to manage perfectionism over the holidays!

Ready to ease your PHS symptoms? Download the free “Letting Go of PHS” worksheet here.

On the worksheet (or a piece of paper), write down your top five holiday priorities. For example, one of my priorities is to host my extended family for Christmas at our cabin. I use that priority to create a list of everything required to pull off that event. Next it’s time for the Three D’s – Do It, Delegate It or Dump It.  Circle which items you will DO. Underline the items you will DELEGATE and finally, cross out the items you are choosing to DUMP this year. DUMP?! You have to DUMP things from the list?! YES! Creating healthy boundaries and tasks is all about staying hyper-focused only on what’s most important to you – deep down in your heart. Is it an absolute requirement that you have the perfect ice globes lining the sidewalk as your guests approach the house? OR, is it more important to stay focused on maximizing your time with your guests?

Delegating responsibilities, even down to who will help with cleanup, can help perfectionists ease the symptoms of PHS and reduce the constant need to be in control. Perfectionists try to manage too many things and inevitably end up exhausted, sick or depressed because the holiday season didn’t live up to expectations. Be kind to yourself this holiday season. Take time today to ease the PHS this holiday season.

 Looking for more ways to treat your PHS? We can help.