So for most people the word holiday probably conjures up happy thoughts, memories and general excitement. For me however (and I’m guessing most people with OCD) holidaying over the years has been a real challenge for so many reasons.
Straight away a holiday is a break from routine, for someone with OCD routine can be very important. For me, for a very long time it was the thing that kept me steady. Knowing I would be going to work everyday and that my mind would be occupied with work and away from OCD thoughts kept me calm and in control. Add onto that the fact you’re going to a new place with different, well potentially everything and then to top it all off you get lots of ‘lovely’ free time just to think, arghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
So sadly a holiday can quickly become something which you’re paying a lot of money for, to cause yourself a lot of stress – hardly seems worth it – and this is why sometimes it’s easier just to hide away, sigh.
I’ve been on holidays in the past where it’s gotten so bad we’ve come home mid week because I’ve not been able to cope or I’m so touchy the whole experience is just unpleasant for everyone involved.
So do I have any tips for helping with holidays?
I think the first thing I would do, if I could feel everything getting too much for me is take a step back, take a deep breath and break everything down into baby steps. Don’t think about the entire day, hour, even minute if it helps, just the next few seconds, all you have to do – either mentally or physically – is put one foot in front of the other.
If you’re in the middle of a task which is causing you to be compulsive, stop doing it (if you can) and return to it later. If you can’t then get someone to come and talk to you or sing a long to some music to distract your mind from the task and OCD thoughts.
Take some deep breaths and be mindful, take in and appreciate your new surroundings, unless it’s the surroundings which are stressing you out, in which case focus on something familiar, which you’ve bought from home.
Do something that makes you happy, you’ve paid for this free time so fill it with something you like doing. If that’s sitting and ready a book, going for a relaxing walk or even just having a hot drink, then do it. Focus on making yourself calm and happy.
As with all the things I write about this is still a working progress for me, so if anyone has any other tips for dealing with new situations then please do share.
As always, Stay Strong xxx