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Apologies that this post is long overdue because it has been so busy, but there were so many great ideas in our group in June about creating a 'toolkit' of resources and activities that you can draw upon in difficult moments and I said I'd post them, so here they are! Thank you to everyone who contributed towards this and feel free to add your own to the list 🙂

If you weren't at the groups that week, the idea of this is to collate resources that will be helpful when treatment has finished or more generally for when we are moving towards recovery but may still experience low mood, difficult life events that throw us off balance or OCD trying to exert control over our lives again. The suggestions below are all from group members:

  • Adding structure to days so OCD has less space to creep back in
  • Being in nature - the garden or going for a walk
  • Naming OCD – the bully, the parrot, a tv villain – whatever works!
  • Self care activities - especially the day after undertaking challenging exposure tasks which can be really draining
  • The reminder that ‘thoughts and feelings aren’t facts’
  • Similarly, reminding oneself not to give meaning to thoughts
  • Allowing anxiety in/getting used to discomfort
  • Acknowledging thoughts without getting lost in them – passengers on the bus/leaves on the stream
  • Meditation
  • Movies (especially those that feel inspiring)
  • Music - creating a playlist
  • Apps to support mindfulness, meditation, relaxation or distraction. Examples offered by group members: Headspace, Insight Timer
  • Radio and podcasts – useful as a distraction, for company, and to learn more about interests
  • Reading – something engaging or something comforting
  • Alongside the above suggestion of reading, specifically reading memoirs by other people with OCD (Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey was recommended in the group)
  • Putting helpful reminders in our physical space eg: phrases, quotes, activities for hard moments
  • Keeping a note of successes to remind ourselves how far we’ve come
  • Reminding ourselves that everyone has intrusive thoughts (this conference presentation explains that well: https://www.ocduk.org/conference/conferences-across-the-uk/2021-virtual/main/its-not-the-thought-that-counts/
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Creating a wellness and recovery action plan. A group member provided an example here, with pages 1-7 particularly helpful: https://webstore.cwp.nhs.uk/recoverycollege/workbook/Wrap3.pdf 
  • Reading and revisiting books that have helped move us towards recovery: Brain Lock (https://www.ocduk.org/shop/brain-lock/) and Break Free From OCD (www.ocduk.org/shop/break-free-from-ocd/)  were mentioned
  • Using SMART goals. They are described in relation to treatment here https://www.ocduk.org/overcoming-ocd/preparing-for-ocd-therapy/  but can be adapted for anything we are working towards 
  • Using CBT exercises: Theory A and Theory B, the Cost Benefit Analysis, and The Vicious/Virtuous Flower exercise. The website https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/ has lots of worksheets and exercises in the OCD section that may be useful. 
  • Creating a physical toolkit containing reminders of CBT exercises you’ve found useful, positive statements, and any comforting and inspiring items like those above. There are also some ideas here: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/compassionate-kit-bag/ and here https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/emergency-or-soothe-box-first-aid-for-distress/ which may help you build a bag/box that is personal to you. I have made one – it is currently under a pile of paperwork (😳) but I’ll dig it out and take some photos! 
  • Using the support groups and these forums to reach out for support if you need it ❤️
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