I thought that for my first proper blog post I would discuss something that has been playing on my mind A LOT lately: preparing to go on a holiday (with OCD in my case).
Next week I will be travelling 9 hours to go to Scotland for 2 weeks with my family and I am TERRIFIED! OCD has been going mad for the past few weeks which has been making it a lot harder to prepare and get excited, however I am going to use this as an opportunity to prove OCD wrong and do some of the things that it doesn’t want me to. That being said, there are some things that are scaring me more than others, for example, the 9 hour journey is pretty scary but nowhere near as scary as the thought of going swimming in a public swimming pool (which I don’t think I will be able to do at the moment) or going in a cable car to the top of a mountain. Some things I will be able to overcome and prove to myself that I am stronger than OCD, however that doesn’t stop the anticipation building. I have decided to compile a list of things that I am doing to help me prepare, and hopefully they will help you (whether you suffer from OCD, another mental illness or just find travelling difficult) to enjoy the holiday you deserve!
- Talk to the people around you so they know how you feel.
This is something I find extremely difficult which makes it slightly hypocritical, however I am going to make sure that I tell my step-mum just how difficult I may find some things. I know for a fact that this will help me because it will mean that she knows why I might be reluctant to do things, and also as a reassurance that I don’t have to push myself past my limit which will definitely help me relax!
- Do a bit of research.
This has helped me massively! I have been looking at the website for the holiday site that we are going to be staying at just so I know a little bit more about it. I know what our cabin will look like (more or less), I know that there are cycle paths and loads of places I will be able to go if everything gets a bit too much and I know that there is a playground I can take my little sister to if she gets a bit bonkers. I honestly feel so much better about this whole holiday now that I know what’s there so I really recommend this! There is one warning about this tip though: try not to let it become disordered. There is a difference between learning a little bit about where you’re going and needing to know every detail possible. As long as you keep it healthy, this tip could help!
- Prepare for the journey.
I am currently doing a lot of prep for the 9 hour journey to Scotland I shall be taking at the end of this week. My family have decided that we are going to get up at 4am so that we can sleep for the first bit of the journey, however I have a few tips for the rest of the journey. Make sure you are comfortable! Plan what you are going to wear and ensure that the clothes you choose are loose (unless you want to wear leggings) and won’t make you get too hot. Another thing that I have decided to try for this journey is audiobooks, which I know isn’t exactly new but I’m just not very good at concentrating so I worry that I’ll zone out and miss half the plot, but I am going to try it and see what happens!
- Make a brilliant holiday playlist!
Make a huge playlist with all of your favourite songs, songs that you can dance to, songs that comfort you, songs that you can sing to at the top of your lungs. I don’t know about anyone else, but music is one of my biggest comforts (Hamilton is a personal favourite of mine) and is definitely something that has helped me block out the OCD thoughts for a few moments. Life is better with music.
- Take time out
If there is ever a time in your holiday where you find yourself doing nothing, take advantage of it! Go for a walk, sit outside and meditate, even just watching a few YouTube videos can make you feel calmer and happier to help you enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
- Focus on the exciting bits
I know how easy it is to dread something like a holiday, how easy it is just to notice all the things that could go wrong, but part of recovery is learning to let things happen. We all need to remember that in order to truly recover, we need to be able to let go of a bit of control and relax into the “great unknown”. Even if your brain starts to race, distract it, tell it that it can worry, but it won’t change what is going to happen. Accepting that some things are out of your control is really difficult, but the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Those are my main tips, I really hope that these have helped at least one of you and that maybe, the holiday will be a lot better than you think it is going to be.
I’m going to Scotland on Saturday so there is a possibility that I won’t be able to post for the next two weeks, I’ll try my best, however I may just leave the blog here for a bit and then start to post more regularly when I get back.
I hope you’re all doing well, remember that you deserve recovery!