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How To Manage Self-Imposed Pressure: 3 Simple Steps

a women self imposed pressure on her self

I’ve been told by elders that life throws us curve balls but recently I’ve been questioning everything that was passed down or imprinted on me throughout my childhood.

Do life really throw us curve balls or do we create those situations for ourselves because we’re impatient?

I’ve had a rude awakening the past few weeks.

I lost my drive to write, I lost my will to stay awake throughout the day, and I lost the reason why I’d want to continue with anything.

I’m aware that needs further explanation so let’s dive deeper.

I’m the type of person who wants to do everything because I do have the skills to do everything I desire.

However, physically doing everything myself adds an unhealthy amount of self-imposed pressure that I can do without.

This is how it all started…

The Trap of Being a Perfectionist

the trap of perfectionist

I like things done a specific way, I’m sure we all can relate to that.

However, instead of saying what I want specifically, I’d rather do the work myself even though I can hire someone to help me lighten the heavy load I placed on myself.

The truth is, sometimes I see asking for help as a weakness, so even when my self-care alarms are going off, I keep pushing through a project alone.

Yes, unhealthy is the word you’re looking for that explains my behavior.

Even though I have written multiple articles advising you to ask for help, it’s like they only make sense to me with a few things.

I’ll create an excuse as to why I’d be the best person to do the entire project myself and then stubbornly push through till I burn out.

The thing is, I write these articles to remind myself, on top of helping you out, of the things I should be doing when my mind and body are too stubborn to listen.

I must say that I’ve improved a lot because a few years ago I’d be in a much worse place than I am now with self-imposed pressure.

So, if you’re feeling the same way that I felt and still feel every once in a while, understand that acknowledging that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself is a huge step forward in the right direction.

Recommended Article: 8 Realistic Ways to Overcome Burnout

How To Ease The Pressure in 3 Simple Steps

3 simple steps to erase the pressure

There are plenty of ways to get out of the trap of

  • applying pressure,
  • working too much,
  • burning out,
  • recovering,
  • re-evaluating your life,
  • adding more pressure,
  • and repeat.

At some point, you have to be honest with yourself and realize that you are causing everything that’s happening to you.

I’ve been thinking about all the pressure we apply to ourselves in the name of making money and being able to buy and do whatever we want.

We rush to do everything all at once while forgetting the most important thing, we have a lot of years on earth to live happily and make all the money we need.

Honestly, it all comes right back to our childhood traumas, we were taught to think and act a certain way and because we believed our elders knew best we never questioned it and instead crafted our lives around their limiting beliefs.

As an example, my parents or family never taught me to prioritize doing the things I enjoyed over everything else, instead, they instilled in me the scarcity of money and how I had to work till death to get a fraction of something livable.

That’s a lot to unpack and dissolve in one therapy session.

That’s a lifetime of limiting beliefs that keep getting repeated generation after generation.

The first step to changing that is to challenge what you believe by questioning everything.

If you find yourself repeating sayings (mantras) you’ve heard growing up, question why.

Start With Why

  • Why do you believe that wealthy people are all evil?
  • Why do we keep repeating, “Money is the root of all evil?”
  • Why is the first thought you have when you see something you truly like is, “I can’t afford it”?
  • Why is chasing your dreams a waste of your precious time while working in a job you hate for someone who will never appreciate you not viewed as a waste of time?

Challenge everything!

Life won’t change until we decide to change.

We’ve been doing things backward, we think that we’ll be happy if we accomplish this goal or if we make that amount of money but the truth is, until we decide to be happy with being exactly who we are, nothing will change.

Until we decide to indulge in the things that bring us so much joy that we can’t find the words to explain them to someone else, nothing will change.

Until we decide to change our core limiting beliefs and accept that we are the culprits who are holding us back, absolutely nothing will change.

Journal Your Thoughts

Journaling has saved my life more times than I can count.

Every time I’ve given up on life and I write all the thoughts that have been holding me down, I always walk away feeling a little bit lighter, more energized, and with a better sense of self-awareness.

Journaling also brings me joy because it reminds me that I can read and write and I have stories to tell my grandchildren in the future.

It also reminds me that depressive states are temporary, they never last forever.

It’s true, in the moment it always feels like the obstacle will never be removed or we’ll never be able to overcome the dilemma with our sanity in check but time and time again we prove to ourselves that we can do and overcome anything.

Journaling helped me to put things in perspective, it reminds me that every obstacle I face is a lesson I need to learn and every lesson I learn takes me closer to the life I imagine living forever.

If you haven’t purchased a journal or started your journaling practice I advise you to do so as soon as possible, because the longer you wait the longer you’re keeping yourself from improved clarity and greater understanding.

Recommended Article: How to Start Journaling for Beginners

Stop Everything In Its Tracks

When something is causing you pain, there’s a high possibility that the pain is an indicator to stop doing that thing.

Yes, there are exceptions, however, pain is a sign from your body to stop immediately.

I used to work at a retail store when I was in college and every time I had to go to work, I’d get a headache or a stomach ache.

This was a recurring theme. I’d be happy and perfectly fine all day but once the time started to get closer to work, my mood changed and my body would start to give me signs.

I knew that the job was temporary but at the time I couldn’t see any other way of making the money I needed so I’d ignore my body and dragged myself to work, long face and all.

A few years later I observed a family member going through the exact same symptoms that I had.

The crazy part was all their symptoms started to happen when it was time for them to get ready to go to work.

I recognized the signs all too well because I lived it.

I hinted to them that they won’t be at that job for another year and of course, confusion followed. I refrained from explaining more because I was not going to take responsibility for another person’s actions.

A few weeks later, they told me that they quit their job.

I reminded them of what I said and explained exactly why I said it and how I knew that their body was telling them to stop but they couldn’t understand the language of their body.

It’s true, when something isn’t right for you, your body will be the first to tell you.

The aches, pain, discomforts, and everything in between are your body’s way of screaming at you to stop.

When you do experience those feelings, stop everything you were doing for at least a month and evaluate how you feel then.

What urges do you get?

What do you start to focus on?

What things have you started to do that genuinely bring you joy?

Make a mental and physical note of all these things because those urges and activities are your guide to the path you should be on and they are absolutely in tune with your body.

Prioritize Self-Care

prioritize self care

Your top priority should be to take care of yourself no matter what situation you’re in.

Self-care comes in many forms, these can include:

  • working out (the gym is my happy place)
  • eating high-quality foods
  • getting enough sleep
  • releasing pent-up thoughts through journaling
  • speaking with a therapist to work through traumas
  • reading a book to escape into another reality for a while
  • laying under a tree with your bare feet on the ground
  • having quiet mornings to think about no one but yourself
  • setting healthy boundaries and eliminating toxic people from your life

When you take care of yourself first, you are setting the standard of how you want to be treated, not only on a human level but a universal level as well.

It doesn’t matter what your life looks like, how many kids you have, or what your job is, taking care of yourself should be non-negotiable.

You Are Responsible For Your Life.

an illustration showing that you are responsible for your life

This advice is as much for me as it may be for you.

Time and time again we need to be reminded of the basic things that we forget in the frenzy of projects, work, school, and other activities.

If you’re too busy to sit still for twenty minutes without doing anything or thinking about doing anything, you need to re-evaluate some things.

Applying too much pressure on ourselves is only making things worse, not better.

What are you doing to release some of the pressure you’ve placed on yourself?

Let me know in the comments below.

Before you go, sign up for my newsletter here to receive more honest advice on how to navigate life challenges.

Thanks for reading!

Questions You May Have

What is self-imposed stress?

Self-imposed pressure is when you place too much pressure on yourself to achieve a goal or make something happen in your life or work. This could be in the form of overworking, taking on too many tasks, or setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.

How can I stop putting so much pressure on myself?

The first step is to identify the source of the pressure. Is it coming from within you or from external requirements? Once you’ve identified this, you can begin to work on making changes to relieve the stress and pressure.

How do you deal with self-imposed pressure?

Deal with self-imposed pressure by taking a step back from everything. Give yourself at least a month break from the source of stress to evaluate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Take this time to focus on your self-care activities, nothing else.

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Jody is a creative writer, artist, graphic designer, and a digital nomad who also helps people live more fulfilling lives by finding creative solutions to their personal growth and development problems and lifestyle challenges.

19 thoughts on “How To Manage Self-Imposed Pressure: 3 Simple Steps”

  1. Kirsten Smith

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can completely resonate with this article. I constantly find myself imposing pressure on myself by setting unrealistic expectations and deadlines for myself. Only for me to get depressed and lose motivation because I did not meet them. While it is great to know that I am already doing some of the tips outlines here. I do appreciate the reassurance and new tips I just learned. Thank-you for sharing.

    1. Jody

      I’m happy you learned something new Tyler, thanks for sharing your experience as well I truly appreciate that.

  3. This is such an awesome post and amazing tips. Thanks for sharing

  4. Thank you for being so transparent. This is something I needed to read for sure. It is easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself and ignore the advice we give to others. Your tips are very helpful and could be the change needed to a more peaceful life. Thank you!.

    1. Jody

      It’s my pleasure to share the good, the bad and definitely the ugly Lindsey, so thank you for reading consistently, I truly appreciate you.

  5. This is exactly what I needed to read today since I put so much stress and pressure on myself to be productive. The stress is overwhelming and your post helped me re-evaluate my life!

    1. Jody

      I’m happy my words were able to help Pantea, thanks for reading.

  6. Very helpful and well put together post! I find journaling really helps me the most to keep my thoughts in check.

    1. Jody

      Journaling is just a magical thing Tracy, I wish more people would indulge but until they do, we’ll enjoy the benefits 🙂

  7. Putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves is more common than we think I believe. When we recognize and make the necessary changes we can have better results. Thanks for sharing on this important topic. 🤗

    Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)

  8. I find that the self-imposed pressure is the worst kind. It can be so hard to move past those thoughts and feelings when they are with you all day long!

  9. I needed to read this today. No one is putting pressure on me, but me and it’s so hard stopping it.

  10. Chims

    Thanks for reminding me of managing my self-induced pressure

  11. It seems that once we get inside our own heads, it can be hard to get out. Thank you for these tips. I know that there are times that I give myself the most pressure to get things done or to figure things out instead of just letting them flow.

  12. Julie Russell

    Informative post about self-imposed pressure! I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself recently trying to make the right decision to start my career path. These are great tips to combat the pressure. I love the ones about journaling and prioritizing yourself. I look forward to reading more articles!

  13. Nicolle

    I totally resonate with this post. In situations like this, I try to take a break and journal it out. Not always easy, but journaling really helps me to calm down and structure my thoughts.

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