Inviting OCD for the Holidays!

This holiday, make sure to set one more place at the table! This guest will be someone you know, but someone you would rather not have over for Christmas dinner!

That guest will be none other than OCD!

We know OCD likes to join us at the most inconvenient times. And the holidays are a time when we certainly don’t want OCD around.  We recognize that gatherings of any sort bring forth anxiety, especially now that we are returning to family get-togethers after being apart for a few years. When it comes to the holidays, OCD has ample opportunities to appear. One might find themselves dealing with the stressors of extended family, gift giving and the holiday shopping for loved ones. You may also be experiencing a change in your routine, all of which can open the door for OCD to heighten. The holidays can be a time of great importance for us – so again, why invite OCD over for the holidays? 

Well, simply wishing away something often makes it stick around. And knowing how badly we might not want OCD around, or the fear of experiencing an obsession or completing a compulsion, we end up making the situation worse.  The more you fear OCD presenting and try to push it away, the more it will be right there beside you.

So, let’s invite OCD to the holidays. 

How do you do this you may be asking? Well, here are a few ways:

  • Practice saying exposure statements by welcoming OCD to show up on the holidays. Say your exposure statement before the holiday, during, and after.
    • i.e. “Happy Holiday’s OCD, I hope you join me for all the festivities today!” OR “Bring it on, OCD!”
  • Welcome OCD to the holidays figuratively but also literally. Pull up a chair and let OCD be around you.
    • Packing OCD in your suitcase or setting a plate at the table. Let’s truly be in the mindset of inviting OCD. Make a mental note as you throw OCD in the car for the long car drive up North. Lean into the uncertainty OCD brings you during the holidays! 
  • If you are already fearing certain triggers, find ways to start facing those triggers to lean into the fear before you leave. This will help build your strength for when the real triggers arise.
    • If you are nervous to see a specific relative, practice looking at their picture and welcoming your fear with an exposure statement. 
    • You can also complete an imaginal about the holidays. Writing a short script of worst-case scenario OCD is saying will happen.
  • Talk about OCD with a loved one you feel comfortable with. Sharing your experience with supportive loved one’s help address shame and adds one more person to help you conquer OCD.

Now, are you a loved one of someone living with OCD? That’s okay too because we have some tips for you to help support your loved one with inviting OCD to the Holidays. 

Firstly, if you are aware your loved one faces OCD, offer to be a support. 

How does this look? Well, here are a few starting points. 

  • If you noticed any behaviour that may be OCD, DO NOT acknowledge it or point it out. OCD does not need more attention and your loved one knows it is happening.
  • If you catch yourself becoming frustrated, remember to take a step back and acknowledge the behaviour as OCD.  There is a good chance your loved on is frustrated as well and wish they could stop.
    • Show your support by validating their experience and instilling confidence, “I see this is tough, but I know you can handle it.”
  • Have a game plan with your loved one on how to conquer OCD triggers over the holidays. 
    • Consider developing a code word that can be utilized if your loved one requires a little extra support. 
    • Offer a chance to step away with your loved one to use the tools, or for your loved one to discretely ask for extra support.
  • Make statements together to help lean into the uncertainty. These statements can include “maybe” or “I guess I will have to wait and see.” They can also include humour.

As the Holidays approach us, try and invite OCD to join you this holiday season! Wish OCD a Happy Holiday while you take back your holiday! Lean in and enjoy the uncertainty the holidays can bring! OCD may have some surprises for you this holiday, but you can let OCD know that all it’s getting from you this year is coal in its stocking and a seat at the dinner table!

Contact OCD Wellness to start conquer OCD with an expert by your side. OCD Wellness currently supports individual in Ontario and New Brunswick.

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