As the days get longer and the weather warmer, people with Bipolar Disorder have to be cautious of (hypo)mania. Not everyone prone to (hypo)mania is affected by the seasons, but for those who are, circadian rhythm plays a key role. Circadian rhythm influences things such as sleep/wake cycle, when you are hungry, and when you are feeling alert. There are some steps one can take to help keep away mania as the seasons change; below are 5 tips that I have found helpful.
1. As always, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene. This means not only going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, but also getting enough sleep each night and avoiding blue light from phone and other electronics before bed.
2. Being aware of your own patterns can also be helpful. Using a mood tracking app (I’m currently using eMoods) can help you see patterns. It can also be good to have someone close to you let you know if they notice any changes in your energy or mood.
3. Work with your prescribing doctor. Let your psychiatrist (or whoever you have prescribing your psych meds) know if you notice a change in your mood, energy, anxiety, or any other important symptoms. This allows for a potential med adjustment if needed, or for them to at least be aware that something needs monitoring.
4. Be kind to yourself. Part of being human is making mistakes. It is also normal to have good days and bad days. One bad day here or there does not mean that you are hitting a manic or depressive episode. Catastrophizing and negative self-talk does more damage than good; so give yourself a break.
5. Have fun. Having fun does not mean that you are manic, and it can do a lot for relieving stress. Giving yourself time to enjoy life is important for everyone.
With all of that said, I can’t wait for the weather to warm up and for the flowers to bloom. Spring is my favorite season!