Contributed by – Healthians team
As someone who is living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you might already be dealing with obsessions and behaviours that may interfere with your everyday life. Hence, it is not a stretch to imagine that in these current times where infectious disease is wreaking havoc across the globe, your mental state might be a little fragile.
The most important thing to understand is that the coronavirus pandemic is a reason to worry for everyone, so, there is a clear need to draw a line between what you need to do for safety and what you might be doing as a result of excessive thinking and anxiety. Here are some tips that can help you curb this coronavirus anxiety when you have OCD.
Monitor your thoughts and behaviour
To break any habit that is potentially dangerous for your well being, your first step should be to identify it. Start noting the patterns and fluctuations in your anxiety accompanied by an urge to do something to relieve the anxiety. Make a note in a diary every time this happens to have a better insight about your behaviours which will in turn help you understand where you need to put a stop. Your diary need not be perfect. Just make sure that you record your thoughts regularly to make a solid history to determine your patterns and triggers.
Get back to basics
The best way to maintain your health is by keeping yourself properly fed, hydrated and rested. These basics will not only help you physically but mentally as well. What you can do here is aim to eat every three hours. Make 3 meals and 3 snacks a standard for yourself. And every time you eat, have a glass of water along with it. As far as sleep is concerned, it can be difficult to fall asleep when anxiety levels are touching the sky. Soothing music and podcasts can help you relax and sleep better. Once you follow all of these with consistency, you’ll be surprised by the results you’ll see in yourself.
Stay informed, not over-informed
While it is important to stay informed and up to date about coronavirus, you need to understand that this information can ignite your anxiety and your OCD tendencies. Yes, it can be hard to not check the news and social media every hour to see the latest development on the matter. But, you need to try to limit your social media time and news intake for your own benefit. Just an hour a day reviewing the news is more than enough to stay informed.
Understand and follow the guidelines given by the government
Guidelines given by the government, WHO and other experts are fairly comprehensive and if followed properly can reduce the risk of transmission to a large extent. So, to keep your anxiety at bay it is best to follow these guidelines for safety.
Continue taking your medication
If you are on medication, do not stop or change the dosage. If you feel the need for adjustment, discuss it with the physician first. Otherwise, continue as you have been advised. Any changes in your medications can put your neurochemical balance at risk. If needed, you can set alarms or post-it on your fridge to remind yourself regarding dosages.
Following all the rules and going beyond, may feel like the best thing to do to curb the anxiety around coronavirus but, in all honestly, it’s probably not. In these challenging times, the best thing you can do for yourself is to implement self-care into your routine. Exercise, bake, read, sing, dance or do whatever that makes you happy. Self-care as a way to manage anxiety will increase your threshold for dealing with this crisis and in the long run, is the best way to relieve stress.
Accept the reality
Uncertainty might be the last thing you would want. But the truth is, life is uncertain. No matter what you do or how much you prepare, you cannot avoid what life throws at you. The answer to deal with this uncertainty is to accept reality. Even in this pandemic, there’s only so much that you can do to keep yourself healthy. Constantly remind yourself of the efforts you’re making when you feel the discomfort and tell yourself that what you have done is enough.
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