Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can affect your personal and professional lives in a variety of ways. It can interfere with your eating, walking, showering, and even sexual experiences. It may appear first thing in the morning or late at night, and it can interfere with everything from eating to walking. It is not a conscious decision you make but rather a disturbance. Even the simplest activities or those that seem to be the most relaxing can seem overwhelming and stressful because there are no limits to where and when OCD may appear. How, then, can you take proper care of yourself as you struggle to defeat it?
What is OCD?
OCD is something many people are familiar with, but a lot of people haven’t actually experienced it. Many individuals use the term OCD to describe their preferences and habits, even if they don’t have OCD. The phrase OCD does not signify an adjective. For example, a person might say that they are “OCD about cleaning” or “OCD about organizing.” This type of narrative belittles the real difficulty and creates OCD sufferers feel alone and misunderstood. The resulting condition causes those with OCD to feel misunderstood and alone. It’s not what anyone wants or needs, and it can make living with a mental disorder even more difficult. You have OCD if you suffer from intrusive thoughts that don’t jibe with your self-understanding or worldview. Your actual goals, needs, and desires are contradicted by your pervasive thoughts.
OCD can affect nearly every aspect of your life, both at work and at home. It can appear at any time of the day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. It can even get in the way of you eating, walking, showering, or having sex. It is not a choice you make consciously, but rather an intrusion. There are no limits on where and when OCD may appear. Even the simplest of plans or the most relaxing days may feel overwhelming and stressful as a result. So, how do you take care of yourself in the midst of this struggle?
Four Things You Can Do For Better Living with OCD
1. Practice being kind to yourself
Before anything else, you must establish a foundation filled with compassion and understanding. It’s difficult enough to live with OCD; your inner judgment and shame can make it even more so. When you are self-compassionate, you are better equipped to counter the inner critic who may be speaking to you or the shame and embarrassment you may be feeling.
The compassionate voice within is understanding, empathetic, and gentle. It does not chastise you for the weird and unpalatable thoughts you have. It does not advocate that your thoughts are accurate or that they are inaccurate. It welcomes you where you are.
Choosing how to have self-compassion is dependent on what framework works best for you. You may have a favorite strategy or a combination of several. What you need to do is picture yourself speaking to a loved one rather than to yourself. This approach is never intended to imply that you are not worthy of the same love that you give to others. Remember that this technique has nothing to do with whether you are willing to speak to yourself in an empathetic way. In this approach, you are taking a step out of your self-image and the pressure you put on yourself to have a new perspective on the issue. You might discover that you are harsher on yourself than on other persons; this exercise helps you come up with the correct things to say to yourself. When you’re familiar with how you would answer a friend with the same issues, you can write it down and read it to yourself. You may wish to make a voice recording and play it back for yourself. It might be beneficial to create some affirmations to say while looking in the mirror.
- What do you think self-compassion looks like?
- Is taking care of oneself part of taking care of others?
- Do you think you can be compassionate to yourself if you are not being caring towards yourself?
- Is it possible for you to believe that you deserve compassion unless you are taking steps to show yourself that you deserve care?
2. Practicing mindfulness can help you reduce your stress levels.
Self-compassion is critical as a mindfulness practice with OCD. This is because you learn to link certain thoughts to OCD as a result of your mindfulness practice. Your intrusions are not necessarily a reflection of how you feel; they just come and go. This fact is supported by research on brain imaging. When you have OCD, you are constantly assaulted by thoughts and compulsions, even when you seem still and silent.
The benefits of mindfulness are that it will assist you to become self-aware. Mindfulness is the ability to look at our thoughts and consider them as they occur. When you view your thoughts as they occur, you can decide on how you want to react to them. You do not have to have the thoughts you have, but you must respond to them in a manner that is consistent with your values. You must remember your values as you look at your thoughts non-judgmentally, so that you can determine whether you can act in accordance with them or with your OCD. For example, you may ask yourself, “How may I act in line with my values rather than OCD?”
It may be helpful to remain connected to your current experience by using your senses. What do you see? Can you look carefully at something within arm’s reach, noting the amount of purple? What about your senses? Can you wiggle your toes in your shoes to feel connected to the earth? Can you touch or hold onto a piece of fabric or a steering wheel? Are you able to hear something beyond your own body, such as birds, traffic, or a muffled conversation in the next room? Your initial sound may be your thoughts and your heartbeat. Is there anything you can eat or drink in order to increase your consciousness of that sense? Is there anything you can smell besides fresh cut grass, cleaning solution, or freshly roasted coffee?
Using our senses to ground ourselves and find peace is sufficient sometimes. When we address issues or avoid compulsions, for example, we may ground ourselves in our environment and find peace. At other times, we must address the issues directly in front of us. When we are grounded in our environment, it does not distract us from or eliminate our problems. It reminds us, however, to stay focused and seek solutions rather than getting distracted by other issues out of our reach.
3. Build a network of supportive people:
No one goes through life’s challenges alone, and OCD is no different. Your thoughts feel like your greatest foe when you have OCD. You may feel like you have no one to assist you or that you are a burden on those you care about. Even worse, you may feel that you are the only one who has these thoughts about dogs, children, and family members. You may feel excluded, misunderstood, and lonely. While all things require support to survive, building and maintaining the system is critical.
You probably have a variety of people in your support system. You may have your loved ones as part of your support system. These individuals know, trust, and support you. Your loved ones may or may not know everything about OCD, but they may have seen the way it has affected your life and have experienced it. Your loved ones may play a significant role in defining who you are and where your values lie. Your loved ones may assist you in your fight against OCD by reminding you of why you want to share your goals, plans, and dreams with them. You may obtain assistance from people in your support system who do not have OCD by receiving love, attention, and distraction from them.
Technology allows us to connect with people who have the same experiences as us and therefore feel more understood. It may be beneficial to join an online or in-person group where you can connect with people who have OCD in order to feel better understood. These groups are great for feeling seen and feeling that your experience is real, rather than all in your head. You can leave behind the struggle to describe how a compulsion feels when it becomes intrusive and connect with others immediately, instead of feeling isolated and disconnected elsewhere in your life.
Having a therapist in your support network is a good idea. A therapist who is unbiased regarding your OCD history and whose primary goal is to help you live a more fulfilling life is what we suggest.
4. Relax and Celebrate Victories
Your body needs to know how to relax in order to do so. Yoga, meditation, walking in nature, and drawing are all effective relaxation techniques. Try a few and see which works best for you, and devote 30 minutes a day to it. Living with OCD takes time. You’ll have successes and failures in any goal. It is crucial to work on your OCD, but it is also critical to acknowledge the small steps you have made along the way.
Taking care of ourselves can be a significant problem for anyone, particularly if we have OCD. It is difficult because we have so many reasons to neglect ourselves. We feel we must be able to handle everything on our own or that we need more assistance than others. We may have been raised to believe that we are deserving of self-care, or we may not have been. When you combine OCD with this, it is very difficult to set aside time for self-care. Perhaps you feel like you already receive ‘too much care’ because you struggle when your compulsions take over. You might think that you do not deserve care if you cannot follow through on what you value. Self-care is a little different for everyone, but it is identical for everyone in terms of how we feel we need to treat ourselves. You must accept that you are worthy of self-care, just as everyone else is. It is your greatest self-care tool to admit that you are as worthy of self-care as anyone else.
Self Care Impact offers OCD Therapy
We hope you will join us in exploring how your life would be different if you had more control over your thoughts and emotions. We hope you will consider accepting things as they are and embracing their imperfections, resulting in a more peaceful environment in your life.
Let’s figure out what triggers your OCD and find the methods that help you deal with life in a non-obsessive, healthy manner. Please contact our Client Care Coordinator for your complimentary 20-minute phone consultation today and read more on the Anxiety Page on our website.
Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.