This is the blog of India Haylor, writing on behalf of OCD First Aid.  OCD First Aid is a treatment centre based in London which offers highly effective treatment programmes for OCD. Uniquely, the treatment is designed by clinicians with OCD to provide tangible, lasting relief and is based upon cognitive behavioural and third generation techniques. OCD First Aid has 14 years of experience as specialists in treating OCD, supporting families and carers and raising awareness.

Christmas is a tough time

Post-Christmas is a notoriously tough time for OCD. The reasons are numerous but are connected with:
1. Having less to do for the holiday period. OCD loves an unoccupied mind. Christmas and downtime gives OCD space to create thoughts and obsessions and the time to think about them. Christmas can be an insular time. 
2. Less sunlight affects mood and has an impact upon ability to cope with OCD. This is otherwise known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and has an impact upon all mental health conditions and people's ability to cope.
3. Christmas can be an emotional time with movies and TV that are nostalgic, sentimental and emotion-focused. The media and advertising worlds use Christmas to generate an emotional response. This can be tricky for mental health. Images, themes and subject matter can make the lonely feel more lonely, the anxious more anxious and the depressed even more depressed. It is a sensitive time.
4. Seeing relatives and friends can be stressful if family conflicts exist. Expectations, responsibilities and self-downing can be a feature of family get-togethers and occasions. The idea that one should be having a good time and enjoying the Christmas can be a pressure. Add to that family conflict and the combination is troublesome.
5. Eating and drinking excessively doesn't help mood and blood sugar balance. Over indulging in drink or food as self-medication is tempting. Even those without mental health issues do it so it is understandable. The traditional foods available aren't necessarily conducive to your mental well being so just be aware that if you over indulge, you may feel the effects. Also remember that alcohol is a natural depressant (so can be putting on 5 pounds!)
6. Having to shop and buy presents can be stressful for people with mental health issues. For those with OCD who struggle to get out or order online, this can be a problem. Also OCD can mean that sufferers can't concentrate, select certain items or carry out tasks that trigger their anxiety. 
7. Being more sedentary isn't good for managing anxiety and it means that there is no outlet for nervous energy other than the TV or fridge. 

How to beat the post-Christmas lows

Categorizing OCD into sub-types is interesting, but...............