Last Minute Holiday Tips for the Bipolar
Friday, December 23 2011 Natasha Tracy
The holidays are no longer around the corner; the holidays are now here - on top of us. The holidays have overtaken us. They have lay siege to our everyday lives and they have won. The holidays! Ack!
And while this sieging of lives has its plusses (like prezzies) it also has its downsides - like instability.
So now that you're staring the fat man in the eye, here's what you need to know to have a safe holiday and an unhospitalized new year.
Surviving the holidays is a lot like surviving everyday - only more so. Rules are harder to follow but rules are still the same. But knowing this is a special time of year, there are a few things to accept going in, so you can survive the holidays with as much wellness as possible.
1. Bipolar Instability Happens
If there's one thing to understand about the holidays it's that instability happens and it very well might happen to you. The trick is to look out for the signs that you might be becoming manic or depressed. Has your sleep changed? Has your energy level changed? Are you feeling moody? Are you eating?
These are not magical questions, they are the same ones that you could ask yourself any day of the year, but they are questions that can indicate there is a problem - if you answer them honestly. And you need to. You need to answer them honestly in order to protect yourself from a holiday that spins out of control.
2. Holiday Stress Happens
You're under stress. You're likely feeling it right now. Preparing for the holidays, buying gifts, baking goodies, preparing for parties and on and on and on. It's all a lot to do on top of your normal life. And I can tell you to de-stress. I can tell you to take a candle-lit bath. I can tell you to meditate. I can tell you to do yoga. But the fact of the matter is you're likely to be stressed anyone. So prepare for it. Know the stress is coming. Acknowledge it and then do what you need to about it. If nothing else, you can always say to yourself, "I know I'm stressed. I will breath." And then take five, deep slow breaths. Those five seconds can help even when you can't avoid the stress that's on top of you.
3. Holiday Imperfection Happens
Your holiday will not be perfect. There. I said it. Your holiday will have flaws. There will be parts of your holiday that won't go well and even parts that you may not like.
But don't worry, this isn't about to kill you.
No holiday is perfect so stop stressing out thinking that you can create the single perfect holiday in the entire world. Just relax and go with the flow. What's the worst that can happen? So you burn the turkey and everyone ends up eating mashed potatoes and carrots for dinner. That's not a ruined holiday that's just the holiday that everyone remembers and laughs about later. You just created a memory not a catastrophe.
4. Bad Behavior Happens
Likely you're not going to be on your best bipolar behavior. You're going to drink alcohol - which you shouldn't do. You're going to skip exercising - which you shouldn't do. You're going to live on sugar -which you shouldn't do. But try to give yourself a little break and enjoy your "bad" behavior in moderation. If you're going to do it anyway, at least enjoy it and don't feel bad about it. Just keep in mind that whatever you do over the holidays you will pay for in the New Year. Don't write cheques your body can't cash.