When it comes to effectively managing bipolar disorder, the first step is to start with the basics. At first glance, these steps might look trivial and simple, but they take time, practice, patience, and self-compassion.
- Sleep: When it comes to monitoring and managing mood symptoms, sleep is both an anchor and an indicator. Sleep works as an anchor because it assists in mood management. Establishing regular sleep patterns is the starting point for regulating mood. Sleep also works as an indicator because sudden changes in sleep (i.e., quality of sleep and/or quantity of sleep) is a sign that the individual might be shifting into a mood episode.
- Arrangement: One challenge individuals with bipolar disorder experience is the temptation to go along with their shifting mood and to take orders from the body instead of following a healthy routine and self-care practices. For example, it would be unhelpful for an individual with bipolar disorder to follow their body’s urge to work on more and more tasks and to ignore self-care practices such as planned breaks for relaxation and a set bedtime, as this may exacerbate a (hypo)manic episode. Brainstorming, trying out, and applying adjustments for short- and long-term structure can assist you in shaping a lifestyle that you desire, instead of your life being dictated by mood episodes.
- Trying Again: Living with bipolar disorder can feel tiring and defeating. Some individuals might even feel like a failure. Learning how to live with bipolar disorder takes time and practice. If something doesn’t work out as you had hoped, that’s okay. There will be another opportunity to try again.
- Stress and Life Changes: Expected and unexpected stress and changes in relationships, school, work, and day-to-day life can impact your mood. A game plan for any upcoming stress and changes (or, as it happens) can be helpful. This game plan can include how you will take care of yourself, identify your limits, and make any other temporary or long-term changes to your life.
- Receiving assistance from a therapist can be helpful. I have been working with individuals who live with Bipolar Disorder and have helped them live successfully. If you are interested in receiving therapy with me, you can call, email, or self-schedule a phone consult. CLICK HERE to learn about telehealth. Ready to get started? Let’s work together!
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Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. The topics being discussed are meant as a self-help tool for you own use. It is not psychotherapy or counseling. This information is to be used based on your own judgment. If you need to speak with a professional, you should find one local to you and contact them directly.