Home Mental Health Practicing Self-Care With Bipolar Disorder

Practicing Self-Care With Bipolar Disorder

by Gauri Kolhe

Bipolar disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is a mental illness that causes one’s moods to shift from manic highs to depression. The treatment plan for bipolar disorder usually includes medications, psychotherapy and self-care.

A study shows that when people diagnosed with Bipolar disorder practiced self-care strategies, they had significantly lower scores of stress, anxiety and depression. Consistency is key when practicing self-care.

Here are some pointers to help you get started.

Setting a routine

The structure that comes with having a routine has been proven to have a positive effect while treating bipolar disorder. However, disrupting this routine can potentially trigger a mood episode.

A good routine generally includes having a fixed time to take your medicines, sleep and eat, and setting aside time to relax and calm your mind.

Maintain a proper sleep cycle

Bipolar disorder affects sleep greatly. A manic episode may lead to very little sleep, whereas a depressive episode makes you want to sleep all the time. A poor sleep cycle could trigger more depressive or manic episodes.

Setting up a bedtime routine that calms your racing mind before you sleep, will help restore a normal sleep cycle.

Managing stress

People with bipolar disorder are usually more sensitive to stress since it can trigger symptom relapses. You need to reduce stress in your life to maintain self-care.

You can reduce stress by taking small breaks throughout the day so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Techniques like meditation and tai chi can also help you unwind.

Mood tracking

Your moods can be quite unpredictable when you have bipolar disorder. Logging your moods throughout the day in a journal will help you understand your condition better.

As you track your moods, you may start noticing patterns and signs before an episode is triggered. This will help you predict when your mood is about to shift. You can even use apps like MoodPanda or Moodfit to track your moods.

Incorporate physical activity

Exercise need not be vigorous, even a simple walk can be a great mood booster and reduce stress. It has been known to aid persons who have bipolar disorder and enhance their life quality.

Choose an activity that you like so that you’re motivated to be active. It is necessary to incorporate a little activity into every day, even on the days you don’t feel like it.

Avoid substance use

Substance use disorder affects nearly half of persons with bipolar disorder. Substance abuse can make treating bipolar disorder more difficult. Speak with your doctor if you believe that substance abuse is complicating your treatment.

If you need help stopping your substance abuse, go to your doctor. It’s likely to have an impact on a person’s ability to stick to or respond to their treatment plan.

Maintain a close and informed support system

Having a close group of friends and family may act as a safety net in times of difficulty. Create an action plan that includes your warning indicators and episode triggers, and addresses and phone numbers that have previously been helpful. When an episode begins, have your doctor on standby.

Strategies to manage manic and depressive episodes

You can attempt these particular self-care practices to manage manic and depressive symptoms as you implement these basic guidelines into your routine.

In a manic episode, try taking small breaks throughout the day and avoid excess stimulation. Set limits and some time aside for relaxation. Reach out to a friend if necessary.

In a depressive episode, try something as small as changing your environment, as hard as it might feel. Talk to a friend and tidy up your space to relax your mind.


Self-care is not always challenging, but it is essential while living with bipolar disease. It helps decrease the effects of your illness daily. Pick one or two self-care methods, to begin with, to prevent being overwhelmed.

Once you’ve incorporated these habits into your daily routine, incorporate something new. Regularly check in with your doctor and therapist to inform them how you’re doing, and seek support if you need it.

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