Building a daily routine whereas maintaining in thoughts my triggers for bipolar has allowed me to scale back anxiousness, handle signs, and work towards long-term temper stability.
Resilience & Routine
Resilience thrives on ritual. I do know this firsthand. After my bipolar I diagnosis in late 2008, I felt damaged. But the method of crafting and modifying a collection of habits round taking higher care of myself helped saved my life.
Central to the success of this course of have been my morning and night routines. While they’ve advanced over time relying on my moods and circumstances, they’ve by no means led me astray.
Knowing how my days will start and conclude—and revising the main points of these beginnings and endings as wanted—has helped stabilize my moods over the previous dozen years whereas filling my life with function and route. During this time, I’ve improved my total well being, maintained robust relationships, and flourished personally and professionally in ways in which beforehand appeared out of attain.
In brief, my life has turn into extra fulfilling since my prognosis, not much less. Because understanding and naming my psychological well being situation has allowed me to construct routines that each accommodate its burdens and harness its advantages.
Patterns, Habits, & Long-Term Mood Stability
Soon after my prognosis, I noticed patterns in myself that I knew facilitated depression (mainly oversleeping and overeating) and mania (mainly undersleeping and undereating). Having learn loads of books about bipolar by then, I knew this was comparatively widespread. I additionally knew, nonetheless, that simply telling myself to cease wouldn’t work.
If I needed long-term stability, I must set up higher habits that made it practically unimaginable to indulge these triggers. By doing so, I may enact modifications that caught, counting on rituals as an alternative of being compelled to depend on the restricted useful resource that’s willpower.
Enter my morning and night routines. While they’re totally different in the present day than they have been 10 years and even 10 weeks in the past, they’ve at all times addressed and proceed to handle the identical primary human wants all of us share.
In addition to regular and enough sleep and vitamin, these wants additionally embrace correct hydration, dependable shelter, respectable hygiene, common train, day by day publicity to nature (particularly pure daylight, which might enhance temper and sleep), in addition to a way of function and significant human connection.
In my case, I get up and go to mattress early, at roughly the identical instances each day and evening, as a result of doing so wards off the oversleeping and undersleeping that may trigger depression and mania for me. I additionally get up to mild as an alternative of noise: two lamps in my bed room mechanically activate at 6 a.m. due to an old school mild timer that price me lower than $5. This kicks off my days with way more peace and fewer anxiety than my telephone alarm ever afforded me.
Every morning, after getting up with these lights, I brush my tooth, drink a mason jar of lemon water with my day by day medicines, pray, write, and take a stroll with my husband. This improves my temper, hydration, cardiac well being, publicity to nature and daylight, in addition to my sense of function and human connection for the remainder of the day.
Every evening, I cease consuming and dim the lights in my home just a few hours earlier than bedtime, fill a mason jar with lemon water, tidy up my workplace to organize for tomorrow, observe my temper and medication consumption for the day in a spreadsheet, spend at the least a couple of minutes journaling about how the day went and itemizing a number of issues for which I’m grateful, take a sizzling bathe, brush my tooth, and pray. This retains me calm, clear, grounded, grateful, and enthusiastic about tomorrow.
In sharing how I begin and finish my days, I’m in no way suggesting you begin or finish yours the identical means. Nor am I suggesting I at all times observe my routines completely. I’m merely inviting you to think about the way you would possibly higher attend to your individual primary human wants because the solar rises and units in your nook of the world.
I do know from expertise that prioritizing your well being by constructing day by day routines that revolve round these wants will do excess of assist you survive bipolar. It will assist you thrive with it.
Printed as “Flight of Ideas: The Power of Routine,” Winter 2022