Saturday, September 21, 2013

Success #1: Relax, Refresh, and Try Something New

One thing about my OCD is that it always tells me that relaxing--sitting down and doing nothing—is NOT OKAY!!! My brain always feels the need to have a to-do list a mile long, and I always feel the need to be doing something that I consider productive. 

It has always been difficult for me to sit down and enjoy my favorite tv shows, just chill out on the couch with my puppies, or do absolutely, positively nothing. I would worry that if I wasn't doing “enough” schoolwork, I wasn't a good enough teacher. If I wasn't cleaning my house all the time, then my house wasn't clean enough. If I wasn't planning the grocery list, thinking about what needed to get for the next week, thinking about the projects that I needed to do next on the house, then I wasn't doing something productive and it didn't need my attention. The problem was, I was working myself so hard, that I would end up exhausted by mid-afternoon and fall asleep and then feel like I failed at my crazy to-do list for the weekend.

This is really what was making me tired and emotionally drained. I was not taking the time I needed to refuel and refresh myself for my job, the people who love me, and myself.

So this past summer I made a goal for myself: I was going to be okay with no plan AND doing nothing.
I have to say I scored a 100% on this goal! I went full-out on this one and gave it my all! I had an AMAZING summer full of fun, relaxing, and doing whatever the hell I wanted! I told my OCD brain to shove-it and we went from there…

Well, I told it to shove it, but it was not always that easy. The OCD brain always creeps up when you don’t expect it and pokes at you, trying to get you to believe its lies. “You shouldn't be relaxing. You have better things to do. You need to clean the house. If you don’t, you’ll be a horrible person!” I know it doesn't make any sense, but the anxiety it causes is horrible, and it’s not easy to just turn it off—I actually can’t. I just have to sit with it, realize the anxiety will go away, and continue on with what I want to do, and literally, then, tell it to shove it!

So here is how I found my happy this summer and shushed my OCD brain for a little while…

I read books—lots of books! I love reading!! I sat down on the couch whenever I felt like it to read. Some of my favorites were The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, Escape by Carolyn Jessop, The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, Dwarf by Tiffanie DiDonato, and Bossypants by Tina Fey.



I cooked. My husband and I love cranking up the music in the kitchen and cooking together. It’s been one of our favorite things to do together since college. We tried some new recipes, especially on Pinterest. We have a few favorite recipes, like beer can chicken below, and then we like to "jazz up" ones that we find on Pinterest.

Beer can chicken with jalapeno cornbread
For the jalapeno cornbread recipe follow this link
Bjorn flambeing some sweet vidalia onions in bourbon for our sliders.
See the recipe on Pinterest here!
Follow my board Great Food...Tried it...Loved it! here
I offer suggestions for how we "jazz up" the recipes ourselves!

We went to fun places in Cincinnati! We went to Findlay Market (can you believe I've never been!) and the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Gyros and mixed olives at Findlay Market.

Our favorite place in the world (and where we got married!)--the Cincinnati Art Museum!

We took a vacation! We went to Disney World and Naples, Florida, in July with my mom, Bjorn, my sisters, and their husbands/significant others. It was SO FUN!!! I did so many things that I never thought I’d try. My OCD usually tells me not to try new things, but this time, I didn't listen!

Beautiful beach in Naples, Florida

I HATE flying because I don't have control of the situation. My OCD brain loops the ENTIRE flight thinking, "The plane will crash. Something will go wrong," with every small bit of turbulence. I was so proud of myself for this flight! I had my OCD thoughts, but I talked myself through them! I seriously told myself, "The pilot is competent. He knows what he is doing. He is trained. He is a safe flier. I trust him." I was great the whole flight! I had a few anxious feelings, but I sat through them, and they went away. I even slept on the way home!

Sissy, Rachael, me, and Bjorn pooped out on the flight. No anxiety while we're sleeping!!

I used to always worry, especially when I was in high school and my early twenties, about what people thought of me--if I looked silly or incompetent or just plain dumb because of something I said, or did, or the way I acted. I have to say, I have been much better about this as I've gotten older, but my OCD does still tell my crazy irrational things as I replay things that I've said over and over in my head, questioning if I did it "the right way." This summer, I let go and did silly things with my sisters and just had fun! I didn't care, even though my OCD told me I should.

Dancer pose at the "Singing in the Rain" umbrella, even though people stared at me :)

Accepting our Greatest Sister of the Year Oscars after the Backstage Movie Tour ride at Hollywood Studios.

When I was younger, I LOVED the villains in the Disney movies. I was crazy :)! So I had to try on this Cruella de Vil hat!

I also tried some new things that I never have before. I usually don't try new things because my OCD tells me that I will be a failure, but I have always wanted to do some of them. So I did it! Some of them, I haven't done in a long time, so I refound how much I liked doing those things too!

I haven't fished since my grandpa took me when I was little. We relaxed and fished with the boys off the back deck in the bay. The boys caught a fish. I just smiled pretty and sat in the fishing chair. It was fun!

I went canoeing! Usually I don't get into lakes, or bays for that matter, because my OCD tells me strange things lurk in them. Well, I got in the bay and went canoeing. It was super fun!
This I am the most proud of! I went paddle boarding! It was so much fun! I wasn't going to try, but I just went for it. I LOVED it! It was so much fun!

Me and Rachael in the water.

Okay---this sounds nuts too, but I usually don't get in to ocean either. My OCD tells me crazy things lurk in oceans too--who knows what could be in there, right? Well, motto of the summer, shove it, OCD! I went swimming in the ocean! It was fantastic!

We also got a new camera, so I tried taking some pictures with it. I've always wanted to learn about photography. No fear of failing! I just had fun! Here's me practicing with my camera. A seashell on the deck.

And here's me practicing again--my sister Ashley and her husband Luke canoeing down the bay.

Overall, I had a great summer! I think I did such a great job controlling and handling my OCD and anxiety. Now I'm looking forward to this year and next summer :) and all the great fun and relaxing things that I plan on doing in my free time. I know that my OCD and anxiety still find their ways to sneak up on me, but I feel so much more confident in being able to handle them when they do come around.

Have a FABULOUS Saturday!!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

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