Maintaining wellness while living with bipolar disorder usually means minimizing the risk and maximizing the protective factors. Since people who do best over time implement more self-management strategies, here are some you can start today to get you on your way:
#1 Keep a mood chart
This is simply a daily diary of your mood states, with times indicating when these moods start and stop. This type of chart will urge you to be more aware of subtle changes in your mood and help you recognize a relapse into either mania or depression. By observing your fluctuations within your tracking, you may be able to prevent any episodes from happening. Your doctor will also find the mood chart of great use in helping to identify stress or environmental triggers.
#2 Track your sleep hygiene
It’s extremely important to record how many hours of sleep you have each night and what time you went to bed/wake. It’s good to also track the quality of your sleep, if it’s intermittent, or if you take naps during the day. This charting can be used along with your mood chart to see how your sleep and mood are related.
#3 Take daily notes on life events and social stressors
If you feel that your mood has been influenced by certain events, make a note of it. Do this for significant events, like if you broke up with your partner, or you quit your job and also for seemingly minor events like getting stuck in a traffic or you’re having a change in work hours. The purpose is to notice the connection between specific mood changes and the stressors of events.
#4 Record your treatments
Keep a daily chart of the time and dosages of your medications you are supposed to take, including those not specifically for your bipolar disorder (like blood pressure pills). You may also be taking some meds on an “as needed” basis i.e. for pain or for sleeping purposes. These are also important to track as it will help you and your physician to know if inconsistencies in your use of medication are affecting your day-to-day mood.
#5 Maintain regular daily and nightly routines
Athletes need to stick to well-regulated training schedules, as do accomplished professional musicians. The are myriad benefits too for bipolar mood stability for maintaining regular routines. In fact, some health professionals would argue it’s one of the most important behavioral changes you can undertake, aside from regularly taking medication. It’s also helpful to record this in your daily chart as well, or better still, print out your schedule and keep a few copies around (on the bathroom mirror, or refrigerator).
#6 Keep a social rhythm chart
With the Social Rhythm Metric (SRM) chart, you keep track of when you eat, sleep, exercise, and socialize, and make ratings of your daily mood. Over time, you’ll be able to stabilize your daily routines in order to balance your moods. The purpose of social rhythm tracking is for you to discover an association between changes in your daily routines, levels of interpersonal stimulation, sleep-wake cycles, and mood.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community