Gadgets and Gizmos

All the things that help with OCD besides treatment.


Oh my goodness, Loops!!!

Loops have been my absolute saviour!

Loops are fancy ear plugs, the pair I have are part of the Experience range. I cant remember how I found them – more than likely an Instagram ad on my feed – after reading reviews and taking out the all the moo point ones, I decided to take the plunge and get a pair.

They come everywhere with me, restaurants, family gatherings, vacations, day trips, you name it Loops are with me! I’m tempted to get another pair just to keep in the car because there have been instances where I’ve switched handbags and forgotten them! Experience Loops allow me to drown out background noise and stay engaged in the personal conversations around me, ever since my OCD diagnoses, I have struggled with hyper awareness, meaning any loud noises such as fireworks, tubes, TGI Fridays, hyped up screaming kids, motorbikes, basically anything loud rips right through me causing anxiety taking me out of present moments. Loops dim these sounds and I’m able to stay


Fidgets! Fidgets everywhere!

I’m a skin picker, always have been, I can remember my mum telling me off for picking the skin on my upper arms and I would literally just say: ‘I didn’t even know I was doing it.’ It wasn’t until about 18 months into OCD treatment that I figured out I have Dermatillomania, aka, Excoriation, aka skin picking. So fidgets were recommended by my therapist and although I have two solid favourites I have a whole range of them dotted around the house and in the car!

My faves are Tangles (I’m a sucker for a new design), I like twisting them, shaping them, pulling them apart and putting them back together.

Ooooh, maybe I could make one giant tangle just for fun then take it apart and put them all back together – I think this would require a very long film haha!

The other one is spinners with poppers, I am mesmerized by these things every time I pick it up – don’t ask me why, but if it saves my skin i’m all for it!

Others that I have include squishy animal things, jelly ball filled things oh and another fave are pipe cleaners!! Cheap and easy to get hold of from any craft store. I made loads of Easter table decorations for a family egg hunt I organised, it kept my hands busy for hours and was actually a productive fidget instead of mindlessness.

Alexa & Sand-timers

While I was ERP-ing the crap out of my entire life a lot of exposures required time limits.

I once spent 9 hours in the bathroom trying to get my compulsions “right”, it completely exhausted to me to the point of collapsing to the floor, I had no energy left to even hold myself up this was my absolute worst day with OCD and each day before I thought things couldn’t get any worse, but they did!

Whilst reducing the number of compulsions was a huge exposure I still struggled with doing things quickly or avoidance/ spacing out would take over and before I knew it 3 hours had passed. So, time limits needed to be introduced, and knowing what a bitch my OCD was I knew that by putting a clock in the bathroom OCD would get fixated on the numbers. So I bought a 1 hour sand timer this way I was aware of how long I was taking and that I didn’t have the time to continuously get compulsions “right” almost like a game of Crystal Maze, I had to be done before the sand timer was finished, that was the exposure.

After I’d got my time down to an hour it was time to up the ante and aim for 30 minutes, so half the sand timer limit.

Then it was to do everything for getting ready for bed within 4 songs worth of time which is where Alexa came in handy, I had previously avoided using Alexa because, you know, she records everything you say and then you’re totally done for! (Leaning in here :p).

Within 4 songs I had to pee, brush my teeth, get into p.j’s, remove make-up, wash my face, etc, all the basic stuff most people find easy and take for granted. then it was reduced to 3 songs, 2 songs, now I’m at a place of just using Alexa for a 2 minute timer – this is how long I have to pee and get out. The sand timer is now just a decorative item in the bathroom and Alexa still has her uses for timers and playing guided meditations for me. Oh, I also use Alexa for when I have a tonne of anxious energy and I will dance it out because no one is watching me and I can just let loose with some 90’s classics haha! Both the sand timer and Alexa I got on Amazon (obvs).


Fragrances can have very calming effects on our senses and there are loads of different combinations. Fragrances are great for bringing us back to the present when we’ve wondered off into the depths of our brains which if you have OCD you’ll know is a very scary place to be for too long!

Fragrances are also great for helping us sleep, I really struggled to sleep when I had to do hard core bedtime exposures – anxious sleeps are the worst!

I’m not a fan of, in fact, I hate anything that smells of lavender, the one scent highly recommended for calming aspects. So when I came across The White Company Calm range, not a hint of lavender in sight or smell! I cautiously bought the mini travel duo to try out- and my goodness it has me asleep within minutes! It comes with 2 products, a body & linen spray and a pulse point roll on.

I spray my pillow most nights, especially if I’ve had a rough therapy session or I’ve had to “contaminate” my bed for an exposure. The pulse point roll on I find really helpful for travelling, it’s easy to just throw in my bag and easy to grab if I get lost in my brain and need a bit of redirection. The absolute bonus of this little set is the fragrance, which is a combination of Juniper Berry, Ylang Ylang & Angelica – don’t ask me how this works, it just does and I love it!

Hand Cream

So many hand creams!!!

I’ve gone through loads of different ones thanks to my compulsive hand washing which has near enough destroyed the skin on my hands, and I need to buy a tube every couple of weeks.

The good thing is, the best one I have come across doesn’t cost a fortune!

The first one I used was Aveeno Skin Relief hand cream, this was great until OCD took it from me and it was months before I found anything just as good – yes, I know, I should have ERP’d the hand cream but at this point I was lucky if I could get myself dressed let alone use a hand cream!

At the moment the best hand cream I have found is Cerave Reparative hand cream, it’s not greasy and doesn’t wash off straight away (much to my OCD’s dismay). I do find that if I stick to one particular product my skin gets used to it and doesn’t do as good a job as it did in the first place so I like to have a back-up especially if one is out of stock or hard to get hold of, currently the back-up I was using has been discontinued so I am on the lookout for a new one.

An ingredient that is a must for me is Glycerin this stuff is magic on extremely dry skin! If you don’t mind a hefty price tag, I know that Crabtree & Evelyn’s Hand Therapy range is top notch but at about £20 a tube every couple of weeks it’s just not financially friendly. The other 2 hand creams I’ve mentioned are £4.50-£6.50 but if you’re a savvy shopper you can usually get them at about 20% off on sites such as Look Fantastic & Amazon (these are the 2 main places I get mine from anyway).


You might think that this is a bit of a weird product to be recommending for someone with OCD but I actually did have some significant hair loss mainly due to stress and also as a rare side effect of Sertraline (don’t worry, luckily it was temporary)!

I have always had super fine/thin hair so the stress of OCD at its worst just exasperated it and I would notice hundreds of strands every day in the bathroom sink, then more coming out when I washed it. I have spent an absolute fortune on hair care products claiming to reduce hair fall or promising thick lustrous Kardashian hair, most were absolute BS and did nothing except rinse my bank account! However, I found 2, technically 3, shampoos that actually work on reducing hair fall or helping it to look fuller.

The first and best is Kerastase Anti-hair Fall Shampoo, I noticed a huge difference in the rate of hair fall within a week of using it, this made me so happy, and I’ve been using it for about 2 years now. Kerastase has a whole selection of products in the anti-hair fall range, including masks, serums, conditioners and a 2nd shampoo, which is why I said, ‘technically 3’.

The second shampoo is OUAI shampoo for fine hair (created by hairstylist to the stars Jen Atkin) whilst I don’t think this shampoo has anything to do with reducing hair fall it does certainly help my hair to look fuller, it smells incredible (great for grounding) and you only need a tiny amount for each wash making it last ages.

Now, for the stinger- both of these shampoos come with hefty price tags both in the £20-£25 region but in my opinion, they are worth every single penny and because only small amounts are needed, I only buy these every 4-6 months. Again, if you’re smart with discounts you can usually get 20-30% off (more so on Kerastase than OUAI) and I sometimes buy 2 or 3 bottles if the discount is exceptionally good, which then means I don’t have to buy anymore for almost a whole year. Similar to the hand creams, my hair gets used to the product and it no longer has the same original effect, so these are the 2 that I switch between. My fave places to buy these are Look Fantastic and Sephora.

Puzzles, colouring, sewing and diamond art

These are just little things I found useful to help redirect me if I was spiralling and also because my days were no longer filled with compulsions I had nothing to do but I wasn’t at the stage where I was well enough to get a job or start the projects I was planning, like this website! I was still afraid to touch anything without the consequence of sanitizing objects or washing my hands.

I started small and got a colouring book and a set of pens to use to simply activate my brain into a different activity and this was the start to believing I was capable of doing things without assistance from my husband or therapist. Next I think was puzzles, something my husband and I could do together other than sitting on opposite sides of the couch watching TV! Yup, OCD only lets me sit in one place on the couch - ERP is currently in progress for this. Puzzles taught me that I actually enjoy them, before my diagnoses I had zero patience for things like this and my brain would convince me that I wasn’t smart enough to finish it so I would just not bother, I LOVE puzzles!! They’re fun, creative and require some simple strategies to complete.

Moving on, I was looking into other hobbies that I might actually like so I looked in to cross-stitch, something my mum always tried to get me into but again, zero patience and a lack of self belief meant the frustration of not being able to get it right first time was not even worth the mental energy! Whilst I found that I did enjoy doing mini cross-stitches it’s definitely not one of my faves but I was proud that I completed a cupcake all on my own and taught myself how to do it.

Finally, Diamond Art! OMG I freaking love this, it’s weirdly satisfying and really hard to tear myself away from! All you have to do is stick tiny little plastic dots on an already made picture to make it sparkle in the light. All of these activities are super simple, but they actually started off really complicated for me- that’s the power OCD can have, it turns the simplest of things, things that 3-year-olds can easily do, into the most complicated, challenging and difficult things. All of these activities I got off of Amazon but I have also got them in book stores and craft shops.