I’ve struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder my whole life, the severity waxing and waning as life stuff happens. It’s a not-uncommon disorder, especially in the modern West, where slowing down and giving oneself a break is not yet popular. I don’t have the hand-washing, or oven-checking varieties, although I’ve worked with many patients who did. It’s a challenging disorder to treat; it takes thought-rewiring and lots of practice.
My OCD routine has been about perfectionistic house cleaning, and task completion. Although I’ve been mostly retired for four years, OCD can still interfere with my joy. I never loll around in bed in the morning, although I could! (I often take an afternoon rest, but only after Tasks are Completed). I don’t take my first coffee with a favorite novel, to ease into the day, although I could.
I roll out of bed like any normal 60-something person, then tend to the morning drill: splash face, apply anti-hairloss goop, take my vitamins, and air out the bed. So far, pretty normal. Then I make coffee and plop in front of the Mac, not to browse the comics like my husband does, but to jump into unfinished business. The low-level anxiety buzzes in my head, until I’ve “accomplished” something. How exhausting!
I’m changing my morning routines, to add the zen, and to practice some of the techniques I used to exhort my patients to try.
I now remind myself to take deep breaths, and look out on the Atlantic Ocean, different every day. I tell myself that almost nothing I do or don’t do today will change the world. I can relax and enjoy the beauty. I think one of the reasons we are here at all is to appreciate the beauty.
I’ve also cut down on my blogging schedule, and I post to Instagram only twice a week. I don’t check my phone until after breakfast. These changes help diminish my first-thing-in-the-morning “gotta get this done” mentality.
I have a new favorite morning quote, from a good article about morning routines:
“ . . . frankly, the thought of reducing my existence to output is thoroughly depressing.”
I’ve simplified my makeup to eyes and lips only, letting my face go bare except for sunscreen. It feels wonderful.
Some other habits I’ve changed: I drink less alcohol – maybe one small glass of wine every other day. That makes me feel healthier and calmer. Your mileage may vary, and I have no judgment about your drinking or lack thereof, only my own. I’ve simplified my household routines by using my Roomba vacuum cleaner. I have not hand vacuumed in a month, and the house seems as clean as ever.
I’d love to know: do you have a morning routine? Do you feel pressured to “get going” or do you let the morning wash over you?
Let your dreams lead you, and stay fabulous, xo,
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