Everything You Need To Know About How to Stop Putting So Much Pressure On Yourself

Woman Laing by a pool relaxing

Hello everyone! As we dive into the vibrant energy of summer, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activities, social gatherings, and endless to-do lists. While summer brings warmth and joy, it can also amplify the pressure we put on ourselves to make every moment “perfect”. In this blog post we’re going to dive into why you put so much pressure on yourself and how to stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Let’s explore how to release that self-imposed pressure and reconnect with joy and flexibility.

Why Do I Put So Much Pressure on Myself?

As an anxiety therapist, that works with overachieving women, I can tell you that at some point the pressure you put on yourself will eventually become exhausting. It’s a tale as old as time… Girl grows up learning that her worth is attached to how much she can do, achieve or make others happy. Girl goes around putting pressure on herself to help her achieve the things she think will give her love, worthiness and appreciation. Girl spends her whole life being rigid, inflexible and struggling to maintain control by just pushing herself to be better.

If this sounds like you, I get it. I’ve helped hundreds of women just like you. The first step towards stopping putting so much pressure on yourself is understanding where this pressure comes from. Here are some common factors that contribute to putting excessive pressure on ourselves:

Societal Expectations

Society often sets high standards for success, beauty, productivity, and happiness. From a young age, we learn that these external expectations can create an internal drive to meet or exceed these standards, leading to significant self-imposed pressure. Social media, in particular, can amplify these expectations by showcasing curated versions of others’ lives, making us feel like we need to constantly measure up.


Perfectionism is a major contributor to self-pressure. The desire to be perceived in a certain way and to avoid mistakes can create an unrealistic standard that constantly leaves you striving. Perfectionists often set excessively high goals and feel a constant need to prove themselves, which can lead to chronic stress and burnout.

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure can drive you to put immense pressure on yourself to succeed. This fear often stems from a belief that your worth is tied to your achievements. The thought of failing can be paralyzing, leading to overworking and striving for perfection to avoid any possibility of falling short. This is all in the hopes that you will be deemed worthy and lovable, instead of already believing that you are inherently worthy just as you are.

Desire for Approval

Many people seek validation and approval from others, whether it’s from family, friends, colleagues, or society at large. This is a natural part of life, but becomes problematic when you’re so busy chasing external validation that you start to compromise your own wellbeing. And spoiler alert, while this may be helpful in the short term, it can be extremely damaging in the long haul.

Inner Critic

Your inner critic, that negative voice inside your head, can be a powerful source of self-pressure. This critic often emphasizes your flaws, magnifies mistakes, and downplays your successes. Listening to this critical voice can lead to a constant state of self-judgment and pressure to do better. Often times you aren’t even aware just how loud your inner critic is. I have a whole blog post on challenging critical self-talk if you want to learn more.

Lack of Boundaries

Without clear boundaries, it’s easy to take on too much and feel overwhelmed. This can happen in both personal and professional settings, where the inability to say no leads to overcommitment and the pressure to meet numerous obligations. Establishing and maintaining boundaries is crucial to managing self-imposed pressure.

High Personal Standards

Having high standards for yourself is not inherently bad; it can drive motivation and achievement. It’s often how you’ve managed to accomplish so much in your life. However, when these standards become unrealistic or inflexible, they can lead to significant self-pressure. Balancing ambition with self-compassion is key to maintaining healthy personal standards.

How to Stop Putting So Much Pressure on Yourself

Okay so now that we know why you put so much pressure on yourself, how do we go about making the changes you want and need. Below I’m sharing some of my favorite strategies that I use with my clients.

Practice Awareness and Self-Reflection

Self-reflection questions can be a great way to increase your awareness around something. I’ve included some helpful self-reflection questions for when you put too much pressure on yourself. These are all designed to help you evaluate the pressure you put on yourself and where it comes from. These will not only make you more aware, but also help you identify areas to direct your attention for change first.

  1. What are the main sources of pressure in my life?
  2. Are these sources internal (self-imposed) or external (from others)?
  3. What expectations am I setting for myself?
  4. Are these expectations realistic and achievable?
  5. How would I feel if I didn’t meet these expectations?
  6. Why do I feel the need to meet these expectations?
  7. Am I seeking approval or validation from others?
  8. How does the pressure I put on myself affect my mental and physical health?
  9. How does it impact my relationships with others?
  10. What are the consequences of this pressure on my overall well-being?
  11. How do I react when things don’t go as planned?
  12. Can I accept mistakes as part of the learning process?
  13. How often do I say no to requests or demands that overwhelm me?
  14. What are my non-negotiables when it comes to protecting my time and energy?
  15. Do I acknowledge and celebrate my progress?
  16. What activities or tasks can I prioritize or delegate to reduce stress?
  17. How can I create more time for rest and relaxation?
  18. What mindfulness practices can I incorporate into my daily routine?
  19. What kind of support do I need from others to manage pressure better?
  20. What are my core values and how do they influence my decisions?
  21. Are my actions and goals aligned with these values?
  22. How can I live more authentically according to my values?

Embrace Imperfection

One of the first steps to reducing self-pressure is to embrace imperfection. Life is not about achieving perfection but about enjoying the journey. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to have off days, and to not have everything figured out. Remember, it’s the imperfections that make life interesting and uniquely yours. News Flash: no one is perfect.

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations can significantly reduce the pressure you put on yourself. Break down your goals into manageable steps and make sure celebrate small victories along the way. Understand that it’s okay not to accomplish everything at once. Prioritize what truly matters and let go of the rest.

Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is essential in the journey to stop pressuring yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend. Acknowledge your efforts, forgive your mistakes, and give yourself grace. Practicing self-compassion can create a more positive and nurturing inner dialogue. If you’re wanting more help with self-compassion and don’t know where to start I have a whole Journey to Self-Love Workbook on it, that you can download. It’s filled with self-compassion and other strategies to help you improve your relationship with yourself.

Create a Self-Care Routine

Summer is an excellent time to establish or revitalize your self-care routine. Incorporate activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. Whether it’s taking a relaxing walk in nature, practicing yoga, reading a good book, or enjoying a hobby, make time for things that bring you joy and relaxation.

Set Boundaries

Learning to set boundaries is crucial in managing pressure. Be clear about your limits and communicate them to others. It’s okay to say no to activities or commitments that overwhelm you or that don’t align with your values. Protecting your time and energy allows you to focus on what truly matters and reduces unnecessary stress. Setting boundaries is crucial when it comes to taking some of the pressure off.

Mindfulness and Presence

Practicing mindfulness can help you stay present and reduce the pressure of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Engage fully in the moment, whether you’re spending time with loved ones, working on a project, or simply relaxing. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the present and let go of the need to control everything.

Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talking about your feelings and getting an outside perspective can provide clarity and relief. Remember, you don’t have to navigate everything alone.

Let Go of Comparison

Comparing yourself to others can increase pressure and diminish your self-worth. Focus on your unique journey and celebrate your individual progress. Everyone’s path is different, and that’s what makes each journey special.

Reflect and Adjust

Take time to reflect on your progress and adjust your approach as needed. Regularly check in with yourself to see what’s working and what needs to change. Being flexible and open to adjustment can help you find a balance that feels right for you.

Time Management Techniques

Effective time management can help alleviate pressure by making your tasks more manageable. Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, or creating a prioritized to-do list can help you stay organized and focused. By breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable parts, you can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. The key with this is to try to find the balance between structured and flexible.

Practice Gratitude

Cultivating a gratitude practice can shift your focus from what you haven’t achieved to what you already have. Each day, take a few moments to reflect on 3 things you are grateful for. Write them down.This can help you appreciate your progress and reduce the pressure to constantly strive for more.

The Importance of Mindset When It Comes to Putting Too Much Pressure On Yourself

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

Adopting a growth mindset can help you view challenges and failures as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than as setbacks. This perspective can reduce the pressure to be perfect and encourage a more resilient, adaptable approach to life.

Positive Self-Talk

Replacing negative self-talk with more positive, realistic self-talk can help build self-esteem and reduce the overwhelm and pressure. Practice speaking to yourself with kindness and encouragement, just as you would to a friend. Over time, this can transform your inner dialogue and reduce the burden of self-imposed pressure.

Final Thoughts

That's So Well Therapist Arielle
That’s So Well Therapist Arielle

As you move through this summer, take this as an opportunity to release the pressure and embrace the beauty of imperfection. By setting realistic expectations, practicing self-compassion, and prioritizing self-care, you can enjoy a more relaxed and fulfilling season.

If you’re wanting to dive deeper into this topic, I have a Journey To Self-Love Workbook that helps you work through a lot of the topics we went over in this blog post. It’s an amazing resource if you’re looking to improve your relationship with yourself and filled with so many amazing strategies to help you learn to treat yourself with love and kindness. Let’s make this summer one of growth, joy, and self-discovery.

That's So Well Therapist Arielle

It's me, Arielle!

Holistic Therapist, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Yoga Instructor in Elk Grove, California.

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