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How can I take care of my physical health if I have bipolar disorder?

You must take care of your physical self, including getting proper nutrition, exercise and sleep, as well as organizing and planning daily routines in order to reduce the stress in your life.
Take care of your physical self by exercising, eating right, and maintaining healthy sleep habits, which can help to prevent relapse.
  • Exercise: Exercising is good for both your physical and mental health; it releases the chemicals in the brain (serotonin and dopamine) that depressed people lack. Establishing a regular exercise routine will help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress levels, important for someone with the disorder. In addition to exercise, other techniques to help lower your stress include relaxation, meditation and deep breathing. These techniques, widely used around the world, are a low cost way to reduce stress on your own.
  • Develop and stick to a nutritious, healthy eating plan: Some medications for the disorder may cause you to gain weight. A healthy diet which includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and is low in fat will help you to maintain a healthy weight. See your doctor for help in planning healthy meals.
  • Healthy sleep habits: Loss of sleep (even one night) can trigger mania, and sleeping too much may contribute to an episode of depression. Set and stick to bedtime and morning routines to be sure you are getting enough sleep. If you have trouble sleeping or are sleeping too much, tell your doctor.
  • Avoid and reduce stress: Stress, both at work and at home, can trigger episodes of illness, so it is important to avoid or reduce stress in your daily life. Keep your working hours predictable so as not to cause a change in sleep habits, and an onset of illness. Openly communicate with family and friends about what is going on in your life to foster better relationships.
  • Substance abuse: Unfortunately, many people with Bipolar Disorder abuse alcohol or drugs during their illness. Use of these substances may trigger episodes and may interfere with your prescribed medications. If you think you may have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs, seek treatment immediately. Do not wait.
  • Organize and plan your day: Avoid stress by creating daily routines. Planning your day's activities will help to manage the many daily life tasks you have to do. Create and maintain a monthly calendar to help to track daily medications, therapy appointments, and other events.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.