Healthy Living with Bipolar I Disorder
When you have bipolar I disorder, you may think a lot about your mental health. But it’s important to think about the health of your body, too. A healthy lifestyle is important to your overall wellness. Be sure to talk to your health care professional about changes you want to make.
Here are some healthy-living tips you may want to try.
Eat for good health
Be sure to talk with your health care professional about your diet:
- If you have special health problems, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, your health care professional may put you on a special diet
- Even if you don’t have health problems, your health care professional may tell you to try to eat regular, balanced meals and to avoid eating “junk” or “fast” food
- You may need to eat less
- You may feel better when you limit sugar and avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate may contain caffeine)
Be physically active
You don’t have to be an athlete or join a gym. Any activity that gets you moving can be helpful. Even a short walk a few times a week can improve your health.
Be sure to talk with your health care professional before starting any new exercise or increasing your level of physical activity. You may want to:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get off the bus 1 or 2 stops early and walk the rest of the way
- Park your car at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the store
- Stand up and walk around while talking on the phone
- Walk in place for a few minutes while watching TV
Stay on a sleep schedule
Sleeping less than usual or being unable or unwilling to sleep can be a sign of a manic episode. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may want to:
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends
- Make sure that your bedroom is dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable
- Set up a bedtime routine that you can follow every night. (For example, you may want to take a warm bath or listen to music that relaxes you)
- Eat your last meal or snack at least 2 or 3 hours before you go to bed
- Avoid food or drinks that contain caffeine (like coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolate) close to bedtime
Following a regular daily schedule can also give important structure to your life.
Take time to relax
Relaxing may help you manage stress. You might want to:
- Listen to music
- Do some deep breathing
- Work on a crossword puzzle
- Read a book
- Watch a movie
- Write in a journal
- Draw or paint
Avoid substance use
Using alcohol or illegal drugs can interact in a dangerous way with your medicine. You may want to:
- Talk with your health care professional about any problems you are having with alcohol or illegal drugs
- Go to a support group for people with alcohol or drug problems
- Seek the support of your family members or friends
You may also want to use a chart to track your symptoms, treatment, sleep patterns, and life events. This can help you and your health care professional know more about how you are doing.