If you have OCD, taking care of yourself every day is very important when you are dealing with this disorder. This includes making sure to take your medicines as directed every day and doing the homework your therapist may give you to do at home, such as self-directed exposure and response prevention exercises. For these, you may need to repeatedly expose yourself to an obsession, such as something that you fear is contaminated, and deny yourself the ritual compulsive act, which in this case may be washing your hands. It is also important for you to involve your family and loved ones in your treatment plan, especially if your doctor suggests that you participate in therapy together. Keeping lines of communication open can also help you to deal with relationships that might have become strained during your illness.
Reducing the overall stress in your life, while not a proven treatment for OCD symptoms, just might be help you cope with your systems at home. Here are some stress and anxiety relieving tips that could help:
- Taking slow, deep breaths
- Soaking in a warm bath
- Listening to soothing music
- Taking a yoga class or going on a walk or some other form of exercise
- Getting a massage or back rub
You can also help reduce your stress to help manage your symptoms by eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding certain foods or drinks:
- Avoid or limit caffeine: While they might be delicious, coffee, tea, certain sodas and chocolate all contain caffeine. Caffeine can make stressful situations seem more intense. If you happen to drink a lot of caffeine, try to reduce the amount gradually.
- Make mealtimes calm and relaxed: Try not to skip meals. When you skip meals, your blood sugar may drop, which will make other stress-related symptoms worse; such as headaches or stomach tension. Use mealtimes to relax, enjoy the meal and reflect on your day.
- Drink Alcohol in Moderation. If you are feeling stressed, you may be turning to alcohol for relief more often than you realize. If you do drink, try to limit yourself to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
- Avoid eating to relieve stress: Some people tend to turn to food for comfort when they are under a lot of stress. While the food may taste good, it can lead to overeating and guilt. If this is a problem for you, try to replace the eating with other actions that can relieve stress; such as taking a walk, playing with a pet or taking a bath.