If you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), your symptoms may sneak up on you when you least expect them. Perhaps you are going about your day like usual only to suddenly find yourself engaging in obsessive thinking or other types of compulsive behavior. Not only can this interfere with your ability to get things done but it can also leave you feeling drained and discouraged.
The primary treatment methods for this condition include counseling and medication. It is equally as important to take steps to care for yourself, as well.
* Food plays a key role in managing your mood. If you don’t follow a regular eating schedule, you can experience sharp drops in your blood sugar levels. This can leave you feeling crabby or fatigued. Get your day off on the right foot by eating a healthy breakfast. Then, continue to eat five or six more small meals throughout the day rather than just eating large meals at lunch and dinner.
* Increase your nutrient intake by eating plenty of nuts and seeds.
* Fill up on healthy protein from sources such as lean meat, beans, and eggs.
* Keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible by eating foods with complex carbohydrates. Options that you may want to consider include whole grains, fresh vegetables, and certain types of fruit.
* Avoid caffeine. Skip coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate in favor of non-caffeinated beverages and treats. Caffeine can contribute to an increase in anxiety.
* Only take medicine that was prescribed by your doctor. Avoid falling into the trap of thinking that you can beat OCD with alcohol or drugs. Even though you may feel like alcohol helps reduce your anxiety levels, it actually can wind up making things worse. The same is true for nicotine.
* Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleeping through the night can be challenging if you have anxiety. Getting enough rest is absolutely essential, however. To make falling asleep easier, stick to a regular routine, performing the same actions every night before bed. Try putting away your phone or computer, turning off the TV, and reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to soft music instead. Turning down the lights and lowering the temperature a little bit in your bedroom can make it easier to fall asleep.
* Get some exercise. Anxiety triggers the release of cortisol, which is a stress-related hormone. Although it is beneficial in small amounts, cortisol can have harmful effects when it reaches higher concentrations. You can lower your cortisol levels by following a regular exercise program. As an added bonus, exercise can help keep the rest of your body healthy, as well.
* Always take your medication. Even though it sounds obvious, the importance of taking your medication can’t be overstated. Follow the dosing instructions provided by your doctor as precisely as you can. Avoid skipping doses or taking doses too late. If you are experiencing unwanted side effects, discuss them with your doctor rather than discontinuing the treatment on your own.
* Get help if you need it. Trying to deal with everything on your own can be overwhelming. There are more resources than ever available where you can get assistance in dealing with your anxiety. Reach out to your doctor, your therapist, or a support group anytime you are feeling too overwhelmed.
* Master the art of relaxation. If it has been a while since you truly relaxed, you may need to retrain your body on how to let go of tension. Try using practices like meditation or yoga to relieve stress. Taking walks outdoors or making art are other ways you can retrain your body to relax. Aim for at least 30 minutes of relaxation each day.
* Acknowledge your successes. Mastering life with OCD is something that doesn’t happen overnight. For every success that you have, you may also experience setbacks. To keep yourself motivated, be sure to acknowledge your progress, congratulating yourself regularly for everything that you have achieved.