Having Bipolar Disorder I or II can feel like your life is a never ending series of hills: sometimes you’re down in the valley (the dumps) and others you’re on a peak (mania/hypomania). Wouldn’t it be great to walk a more even path and have fewer mood swings? Of course it would.

This post is designed to get you on a more even keel. Leading you down a path that is flatter and easier to navigate.

  1. Have a daily routine. This gives you a sense of purpose and keeps you on track throughout the day. I suggest using the first few minutes you’re awake to determine what needs to be done today. Then write those things down in your schedule.  Another great way to start the day is with a “Grateful List” where you write down all the things you are thankful for.
  2. Sleep hygiene. Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy mind. Make sure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene by using your bed only for sleeping (no reading or playing on phone). Having a wind down routine is also helpful in getting a good night’s sleep.  Be sure to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day.
  3. Journaling/mood charting. Keeping track of your moods helps you see triggers and patterns. You can also use journaling/mood charting to determine if changes to your medication combination are working.
  4. Say affirmations every morning (https://www.mentallyinteresting.com/positive-affirmations) and repeat throughout the day.
  5. Question your self-talk. Take a few minutes to sit and clear your mind. What are you telling yourself? Is your self-talk negative? Take this time to turn it around. For example, if you have a project to complete and find yourself saying, “I can’t do this”, turn it around to, “I have the skills, intelligence and perseverance to see this through.”
  6. If you find your mood heading south, don’t panic. Moods and emotions are impermanent and will change soon.
  7. As always, deep breathing and grounding are effective tools to bring you back to center. Grounding is when you connect to your environment with your five senses: hearing, taste, smell, feel and sight.
  8. Take a break. Sometimes you just need to shut down for a few minutes and reboot.
  9. Spend time with family and friends. Being around people you enjoy can instantly lift your mood. And spending time with other people is healthy; it gets you out of your own head.
  10. Strike the words, “always” and “never” from your vocabulary since either is rarely true and just makes you feel more helpless.
  11. Exercise.   Talk a walk. Ride your bike. Participate in an aerobics class.  Anything to get those endorphins moving.
  12. Eat well.  Whether you eat six small meals or three larger meals with snacks, its important to keep your body full of energy.
  13. Limit caffeine.  No Red Bull (TM) for you.
  14. Avoid alcohol and drugs.

Staying in the middle of the bipolar poles takes some skill. But you will find that you get better at it the more you practice.  And don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself swinging between the poles.  Just regain your balance and start again.

What are some of the things you do to keep yourself stable?  Please tell me about it in the comments.

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