Bipolar Self Management

Describes the nature of bipolar disorder, including various diagnoses and treatment options. Provides guidance on how to assist someone with bipolar disorder and offers strategies for self-care and management.

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Bipolar disorder might make you feel like you can’t control things. But, there are many ways you can help yourself feel better and take care of your health.

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Look after your physical health

Looking after our physical health plays a significant role in maintaining our mental wellbeing. 

Here are some tips to keep your health in check:

Prioritise Sleep: For many individuals with bipolar disorder, sleep disruptions can act as both a trigger and a symptom of mood episodes. Ensuring you get sufficient sleep is crucial for stabilising mood or reducing the duration of an episode. 

Maintain a Balanced Diet: Consuming a well-rounded and nutritious diet can enhance your overall well-being, aid in clear thinking, and stabilise your mood. 

Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Mild exercises, such as yoga or swimming, can aid in relaxation and stress management. Staying active is beneficial for:

  • Utilising excess energy during periods of heightened mood.
  • Stimulating the release of endorphins, also known as the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals, which can uplift your mood when feeling down.

Try to plan ahead

During a crisis, it might be hard to communicate to others what kind of help you need. Creating a plan for how you want to be supported during these times while you’re feeling good can be very beneficial.

Get to know your moods

Getting to know your feelings better can help you figure out how to handle them. Learning how to understand your moods could help you find ways to manage them. These tips may help:

Keep an eye on your mood 

Tracking your moods for a while could be beneficial. Consider recording your mood swings in a journal or on your smartphone. Bipolar UK offers a mood scale and mood diary that you can use at no cost.

Discovering what causes shifts in your mood might be useful. Triggers vary from person to person. For instance, they can be:

  • Adjustments or complications with your bipolar disorder treatment
  • Times of stress
  • Times of transition or doubt
  • Not getting enough rest
  • Additional health concerns, both physical and mental
  • Being too busy or feeling swamped
  • Major life events, such as marriages, welcoming a baby, or the death of someone close

Identifying these patterns can be beneficial. Once you do, you can take steps to either avoid the trigger or reduce its effects.

Learn your warning signs

You might begin to observe a pattern in how you feel leading up to an episode, which could include changes in your:

  • Eating patterns or appetite changes
  • Sleeping pattern
  • Behaviour

Being aware about these warnings and that you are aware of a potential mood change can help you make sure that:

  • You have support networks available 
  • You can concentrate on self-care 
  • You’re capable of alerting family and friends to warning signs so they can assist you

Take practical steps

Here are some useful tips for dealing with the impact of bipolar disorder on your everyday life:

Sticking to a routine 

Having a regular schedule can make you feel more relaxed when you’re very excited, help you get going when you’re feeling sad, and keep you feeling steady. Your routine can include:

  • Doing everyday things at the same time, like eating and sleeping.
  • Setting aside time to chill out, do fun activities, and hang out with friends.
  • Taking your medicine at the same time every day to help with any side effects and to keep the medicine working well in your body. I use an alarm on my phone to remind me to take my medicine at the same time each day.

Stress management

Stress is known to trigger mood episodes, but there are numerous tips you can use to minimise its impact. These include techniques to avoid stress, manage it effectively when it occurs, and ways to care for yourself during stressful periods. Embracing these strategies can help maintain stability and prevent mood disturbances.

Finances 

Managing your finances is important, especially when they seem overwhelming. If you find yourself facing financial difficulties, consider discussing your situation with a trusted individual who can provide practical advice. 

Additionally, there are organisations available to assist you. You have the option to reach out to the National Debtline for confidential and non-judgmental financial advice. Resources such as Bipolar UK and Citizens Advice offer guidance on money and debt management. Further information on managing money, making financial decisions, understanding your financial capacity, and navigating benefits can be found on dedicated web pages concerning money and mental health.

Get support

Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

Counselling Private Counselling