One common suggestion for people with bipolar is to document how you would like things to proceed when you are unwell. This is my plan. Feel free to adapt it for your use.
Wellness Strategy (ongoing pretty much daily – this are the minimum actions I have to do to keep me well)
- Eat a balanced diet and watch weight
- Exercise and move as much as possible
- Practice mindfulness and listen to podcasts
- Drink water and avoid soft drinks
- Take meds religiously
- Track moods
- Go to my psychiatrist at least fortnightly
- Nurture my support system
- Do not let work become higher than #3 on my priority list
- Do essential self-care (shower, brush and floss, shave, iron, do hair)
- Freeze healthy meals or have meal replacement shakes handy
- Keep sleep schedule as normal as possible (9 PM – 6 AM)
Depression Strategy (when I rate a 3 out of 10 or less). Do the above when possible plus:
- Attend doctors visits more often, if needed
- Get help with tracking mood
- Ask friends/family to check on me
- Have good work excuses ready
- Ask for help on self-care items and try to eat healthy, easy food
- Avoid bingeing
Super-low Depression Strategy (for when I rate a 1 or lower).
- Make sure there is someone there to bring me healthy food
- Have someone around that can be with me to try to keep my sleep schedule normal
- Have someone around that will help me get out of bed and walk short distances
- Arrange with psychiatrist to do transcranial magnetic stimulation (1st try of this, ECT done and didn’t work in the past)
- If I’m an inpatient, have someone call me once or twice a day and visit me once a week
- Have someone that can tell work that I’ve been ill and make arrangements for my role to be covered for 2-6 weeks. Talk to work about this to plan (if/when appropriate/safe)
Hypomania or Mixed State:
- Avoid going on social media. Use crisis lines, blogging or journalling instead.
- Listen or watch positive TV, music or podcasts
- Avoid negative people
- Call into work or adjust work schedule for the week. Re-arrange client appointments.
- Focus on repetitive cleaning or doing creative projects that are towards bigger projects that have already been started instead of starting something new.
- Exercise more.