As a psychiatrist in Augusta County, VA, I know how difficult managing symptoms for bipolar disorder can be. As much as you work with your doctors on identifying manic and depressive episodes, and finding the correct medication and care plan—it can still feel incredibly difficult. At Shenandoah Psychiatric Medicine we don’t believe you should have an isolated experience. We believe there should be an open conversation to help everyone with mood and thought disorders. That’s why we’re happy to provide three tips to help you on your journey.
1. Create a Self Care Routine
If you spot any warning signs of mania or depression, act quickly by having a set of self care activities to draw from. The phrase “self care” is probably popping up more and more on your social media lately. From listicles with tips on Buzzfeed to awareness weeks, you’ve probably heard of it before but don’t quite know what it means for you. Essentially, self care is having coping skills and activities to do to maintain a stable mood. This can help you get better when you’re feeling a little “off”. Your routine can depend on your situation, symptoms, and preferences. It takes experimentation and a lot of time to find a good one for you. However, our psychiatrist has noticed that many with bipolar disorder in Augusta County, VA benefit by having the following activities in their routine:
- Talking to someone who supports you
- A full 8 hours of sleep
- Attending a support group
- Expressing yourself creatively, like drawing or writing in your journal
- Increasing exposure to light
- Cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
Whatever you do, you can talk with your doctor about what works and you both can make a game plan.
2. Be Mindful with Your Body
Believe it or not, the food and drink you put into your body affects your mental state as well. To help manage your system it’s super important to eat a healthy diet. For the best possible mood, eat lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains, while limiting your fat and sugar intake. In addition, make sure to get your Omega 3’s- they can decrease your mood swings. Do this by getting supplements or eating plenty of cold water fish, soybeans flaxseeds, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.
Of course, it’s super important to be cautious with taking any medication. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines can trigger manic episodes. Be sure to talk to doctors about your bipolar disorder and how that can affect what medication you should be taking.
3. Always Be Learning
Another great way to take control is by learning what you can. The best way to do that is by contacting Shenandoah Psychiatric Medicine to set up an appointment. By teaming up with our dedicated psychiatrists in Shenandoah County, VA, we can work together to create a plan that works for you. From check in, to therapy plans, to self care routines— we can get you there. In addition, here are a couple more sources to check out:
- Personal Wellness Tools– From the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a set of tools to help you learn about and manage your symptoms
- Self Monitoring for Relapse Prevention– A workbook to help you work through and identify relapses before they happen, via the Centre for Clinical Interventions at the Western Australia Department of Health
- Healthy Lifestyles: Improving and Maintaining the Quality of Your Life– A Guide to making healthy choices from the DBSA
There are plenty of other things you can do and learn. Don’t hesitate to ask one of our professionals. We’d be happy to go over your symptoms with you and help you with a plan. If you’re thinking of coming in, don’t forget to fill out all the necessary forms as well.