Stress is a huge trigger for bipolar mood episodes. The problem is stress is unavoidable. No matter how hard my husband advocates that we all hibernate in the winter, we still have to face this dreary season. Winter is usually a time of stress and depression for him. So how can we combat stress in light of bipolar disorder?
Today we’re going to talk about dealing with stress and bipolar disorder.
I’m Angela Howard, my passion is to break the stigma of mental illness among fellow Christians. I’m here to help you live a more purposeful life with God, and with one another. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can get the first updates of new content and connect in community.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life, whether you have a mental illness or not. But when you living with bipolar, adding stress to the mix can increase your symptoms or even trigger something worse.
Let’s look at four practices that will protect you during stress, and one mistake that can cause increased stress.
4 Practices to Protect You during Stressful Times
- Do what you love. For my husband, it’s umpiring high school baseball. For me, it’s making sure I have time to read and spend time with my family. For you, it might be hiking or traveling.
- Simplify your schedule. Make sure you have white space on your calendar so you can include days of rest and restoration. In addition, give yourself permission to cancel plans when needed. People might not always understand, but the most important thing is to protect yourself from further episodes.
- Pay attention to your body. Watch your sleep patterns and eating habits. Make sure you’re getting regular check-ups and taking mental health days. And exercise—endorphins help regulate moods.
- Make sure you are established with a trusted counselor. Don’t leave yourself stranded during a stressful time like a job loss, or health crisis. You’ll want to build that relationship so that you have shared your story and you have a counselor who really gets you.
The Biggest You Can Make During Stressful Times
- Refusing to ask for help. Don’t be too prideful to reach out: ask someone to come with you to therapy, do your grocery shopping, take a walk with you, or watch your kids. Isolation might your knee-jerk reaction, but in a community will you heal.
And don’t forget to ask God for help. We can ask Him for peace in stressful times.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
How do you combat the stress trigger? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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