We know that being bipolar is a legitimate and crippling mental disorder — so, here are some simple lifestyle changes as prescribed by the Malaysian Psychiatric Association that can minimise mood swings and the stressors that lead to more severe manic episodes.
Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs
More than 50 per cent of those with bipolar disorder abuse alcohol or drugs, which may trigger episodes and interfere with prescribed medicines. If you have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs, ask your doctor for help.
Moderate exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming will help you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress levels and boost self-esteem.
Stress can trigger manic or depressive episodes, so it is important to avoid or reduce stress in your daily life. Exercise is often part of a stress-management programme. Other techniques which may help you to lower your stress levels include relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing.
Establish a daily routine
Disruptions in daily routines or social rhythms (for example, loss of sleep or changes in meal times) may make people with bipolar disorder more susceptible to new episodes of illness. Establishing a daily routine will help to minimise potential triggers.
Maintain a stable sleep pattern
Loss of sleep – even a single night’s sleep – for any reason can trigger mania. You should make sure to get between six and eight hours of shuteye every night; sleeping too much may contribute to an episode of depression. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing a sleep disorder.
*This article was written by Liyana Zamzuri and first appeared in the Her World July 2016 issue