• Julia Fernandez

How to: Get rid of imposter syndrome (in 5 easy steps)

The problem In light of #COVID-19, #WFH, and honestly just not being around other artists and having in-person critiques, imposter syndrome has been getting to me more often than not. As we’re constantly scrolling through constant highlights on social media platforms, we tend to forget about how different reality is—that we all have ups and downs, and people only like to broadcast their triumphs. However, thanks to the surplus amount of reflection that staying at home all day can do to you, I have devised a short instruction manual with 5 easy steps to help you get out of that cruel rabbit hole.

The solution After these 5 steps, you will (hopefully) realize how silly you’ve been spending the x amount of time moping about the lies that have been running around in your head. Your skewed perception of how you’re doing will pass, and you will come out of this with a cooler mind and a warmer heart. Hold tight, dear friend—all I ask is for you to trust this process. If it can work in the most stubborn of minds (I’m talking from personal experience), it should work on you.

Animation by Headspace

Step 01: Hit Pause

If you’re feeling like you’re about to slip into that hole of self-created doom, hit pause on whatever you’re doing. Sometimes it feels like pushing through is the right thing to do, but understanding that you can take a moment to yourself, for yourself is the first step to getting out of this rut.

Headspace Infographic

Step 02: Breathe in………… aaand breathe out.

Any moment that anxiety comes knocking at your door (whether or not you feel yourself hyperventilating), it is always nice to take mindful breaths in and out. Understanding that you have control of your body and that you are present and alive is an extremely grounding technique, and will help you feel at home once again. There are different techniques to mindful breathing, but I do have a favorite: the visual aid.

Animation by Headspace

Step 03: Eavesdrop on your internal conversation

Ask yourself about the kinds of thoughts that you have been thinking to yourself. How have you been beating yourself up about work? What are you really trying to say? Fill in the blank: I am not ________ enough. Once you have that in your head, ask yourself if you would say that to your best friend, your mother, or even your loving pet. Of course you wouldn’t, because that phrase is rude and nobody believes it’s true. Understand that your mind is undergoing a cognitive distortion; your emotional state is causing flawed logic. Sometimes it is hard to get passed this because internal conversations can lead to negative thought patterns, so when in doubt, simply ask your best friend, mother, or loving pet if they think it’s true. I’m guessing they’ll agree with me.

Animation by Headspace

Step 04: The Meditation Station

The next step is to now step back and ask yourself how you would feel about whatever you are stressed about in a week, a month, or in a year? What is the worst thing that could happen? Does that really matter THAT much? What are good things that are already happening? What compliments and words of affirmation do you last remember receiving? Even though it can take time for the mind to cool off, finding stillness and going through reflections enables you to come out with a clearer mind. Sometimes, when the internal conversation gets too complicated for me, I go online and find a mindful meditation to follow, or go on one of my favorite apps ever, Headspace.

Don’t believe that meditation works? Look how it’s been historically proven below:

Headspace Timeline Infographic

Animation by Headspace

Step 05: Have patience, a plan and press play.

Now that you understand that you’ve been replaying lies in your head about yourself, allow your mind to feel what patience is. Now, it’s time to set yourself up for success with a 3 ingredient recipe.

Plan = (getting up)doing something for yourself + a fool-proof work set-up

What is something that will help you begin again? What does pressing play look like to you? Is it a quick shower? A quick run around the block? A fresh glass of water? Whatever it is, do something physical that will allow you to literally get you back up on your feet again. The next half of the equation is very important; it is making sure you create a way to get to work without distractions. Whether that may look like setting up a to-do list, creating a calendar with reminders, or even clearing your desk, you need to put yourself in a place that will enable your productivity.

When in doubt, repeat this how-to, or if you are really in need, try out the Headspace app. It has hundreds of guided breathing exercises, guided meditations, and other ways to take care of your mind. It has allowed me to stay grounded anywhere, and anytime!

Try this method yourself—did it work? What do you do to keep yourself out of an imposter syndrome rut?

Until next time,

Julia

Credit where it’s due to Headspace for all the wonderful art!

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