Kick The Habit: Wrapping it Up

For those of you new to the blog, I’ve spent the month of August participating in the Kick the Habit campaign by Freely Be, an initiative that encouraged participants to work at freeing themselves from some sort of bad habit. You can read about my experience in those three posts.

It’s been 31 days since I began my journey towards kicking my OCD tendencies and habits. This month has been a really interesting learning and growing process, so I thought I’d share some of my insights from all of this.

I decided to kick a habit that doesn’t always manifest itself in my life. The degree of my OCD varies based on a lot of factors, so “kicking this habit” may not have been a challenge on par with, say, giving up an addiction or something along those lines. However, when my OCD flares up, it has a tendency to take over my life in an unhealthy way. I didn’t have many OCD incidents this past month. Part of that may have been due to outside circumstances, but I think my mentality made a big difference as well. I had made up my mind ahead of time that I wanted to live freely, and I think that helped in my journey.

Though Kick the Habit may officially end today, I have every intention of keeping up my journey to kick my OCD tendencies. I’ve felt more free and less anxious this past month than usual, and that was a fantastic experience. OCD and anxiety don’t go away overnight (wouldn’t that be nice!), and I imagine that this will be a lifelong journey. However, if this past month was any indication, this is a journey certainly worth taking.

Have you freed yourself from a bad habit? What was the experience like for you?

Kick The Habit: Letting It Go

Before we get down to business…

So beautiful.

Sorry about the screen/blurriness, but whoa. It was a pretty dreary day around here, so this was a wonderful and unexpected surprise that I just had to share.

On to Kick The Habit: Week Two!

As you may remember, last week I had some trouble letting a few ritualistic habits of mine go. I mostly struggled with this because the one or two previous days I had altered my habits had ended with thunderstorms. While logically I recognize that that’s just coincidence, not causation, changing this up was a pretty big step for me. I also did not wear red on Monday for the first time in weeks. I’m all about baby steps 😉

This post is not about letting those things go, however. Over the course of the summer, I have received three pieces of exceptionally shocking work-related news. Two of these pieces of news were bad while one was neither good nor bad, just really unexpected. My boss announced the two pieces of bad shocking news to all those where I work at early morning meetings before the day really began since they affected all of us directly. In both instances, he told us because he wanted us to hear the news from a reliable source, not through rumors or hearsay, but he wanted the issue to be dropped and for us to focus 100% on work for the rest of the day.

While I’m sure it’s normal to not be able to let shocking news go instantly, in all three of these cases I’ve found myself spending my entire day obsessively thinking about the news. Though I’m able to focus on my work in the sense that I’m able to get things done that need to be done, all day my mind is on the news I received. I don’t know if this is an OCD thing or if this is a normal human reaction, but it seems to me that being trapped in a cycle of the same thoughts about the same news is the opposite of freeing. It’s stifling, upsetting, and has resulted in lots of crying on the way home from work.

What I’ve learned through all of this is the importance of processing outside of myself. When I let myself think and think and think about these things, I get nowhere. Writing and talking with others about them, however, make a world of difference. I make progress towards freeing myself from the weight of these burdens when I share the news with others. I know we hear all the time about how unhealthy it can be to bottle up emotions, but I’m coming to see how doing this also keeps us from being free. Communication, people. It’s a powerful thing.

What helps you let things go?

Kick The Habit: Unexpected Outcome

Here we are on day five of my month of kicking my OCD tendencies as part of Freely Be’s Kick The Habit campaign. Since we’re at the end of the work week, I thought I’d do a little recap on my first weekish of doing this.

Monday went really well. I allowed myself to make decisions rather than letting my OCD tendencies dictate a lot of what I did. While Kick The Habit was constantly on my mind throughout the week, in reflecting over what I’ve done this week I realized I missed some pretty big opportunities to kick some OCD habits of mine. I have a ritual at work every morning that I’ve been doing the same way for quite some time now. Even though I’ve thought about changing, the two mornings I recall mixing things up were followed by afternoon thunderstorms. The logical part of me knows there is no correlation between these two things, but it’s a pretty tough thing for me to overcome. I honestly didn’t realize this until I started thinking back on what I’ve done this week, so that is something I’m definitely going to work on next week.

Last night, something surprising happened. I was defrosting a sandwich thin for my sandwich for lunch today (I freeze all my bread products, so I have to pop things like bagels and sandwich thins in the microwave before making a sandwich to break the halves apart) when I remembered that I had pita bread. I don’t often have pita bread and got it with the intention of mixing my standard lunch up as part of kicking my OCD habits. I had already defrosted my sandwich thin, so I had a baby dilemma: put the defrosted thin back in the freezer and have the pita, or have the exact same sandwich I’ve been having every day since…a long time. January or so, probably. While thinking about what to do, I realized that I wanted the sandwich thin, not pita bread. I think sandwich thins are seriously the best thing since sliced bread–they don’t squish like bread on pre-made sandwiches does, they fill me up really well, and they taste fantastic. What’s not to love? I mean, pita bread has most of those qualities, too, but I just honestly like sandwich thins a lot. Though having the pita could’ve been “kicking my OCD,” it wasn’t what I wanted to do. The whole point of kicking my OCD is to live freely. I want to have the freedom to make my own choices about these sorts of things, not feel compelled to do what I’ve always done. I’m fine with freely choosing to do something I’ve done a thousand times before. I just don’t want to do things out of compulsion. I know this whole example may sound really silly, but it was a pretty big ah-ha moment for me in this process, so I thought I would share.

Oh, my first 5K is in less than 12 hours. nbd. 🙂