This Bipolar Life: Tips for a Good Day Even When You Feel Down

I definitely have days where all I want to do is crawl back under the covers and sleep the world away but have been working on trying new ways to shift my mood and thought I’d share them with you in case you find them helpful. I’ve done lots of searching online and here are some tips I’ve found that worked for me:

1) Get up and shower. Right away. It helps me feel awake and alert, something that is hard to do but can make a huge difference in how you start your day.

2) Eat regularly throughout the day. For us bipolar folks it’s even more important to keep our blood sugar stabilized so make sure you’re eating something healthy if at all possible (although sneaking in the occasional treat is fine – my faves are the Hostess Snowballs…yum!).

3) Get outside. Go for a walk. Yes, even in the rain. I actually especially like walking in the rain. It’s almost as though it’s cleansing in a way. It allows me more contemplation than the sunshine in a weird way. Anyway, walking also increases your serotonin levels which is always helpful, bipolar or not.

4) Write down at least one task you’re going to try to accomplish that day. Then make time and take care of it. Just one. It doesn’t have to be big. Some days my goal is just to clean the kitchen or even just to get my blog post out. Sometimes it’s just making coffee. Really, anything will make you feel like you’ve engaged with the day and that’s something that can be helpful when looking back to see what you did at the end of the day, a time when I know I need to reflect and feel like I’ve been productive.

5) Make sure to take time for self-care. Just one thing. Paint your nails, read a poem you love, color, journal, whatever it is that soothes your heart and heals your soul. Practice forgiving yourself and be as gentle as possible with yourself during the day. I know it’s hard (I practice and fail often) but it’s important that we all remember that we’re trying as hard as we can and everyone is doing their best, so be careful to pay close attention to your inner voice. Make sure it’s being kind and loving.

There! That’s my list. Although I do have one other trick. I practice mindful breathing. Just three deep breaths along where all I’m doing is paying attention to the feeling and sounds of my breathing. Nice and full breaths but done in a way that I just give myself permission to shut everything out for about a minute. Sometimes it is the difference between me being cranky or kind.

Remember to love yourself. You are important. You are worthy. You have value simply because you are here. You do not need permission to be unique and wonderful.

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