Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bipolar? How to Survive the Holidays

The countdown is on! A week until Christmas. For most, the holidays are a mixture of fun, festive and frantic. But people with bipolar disorder need to be especially careful to stay balanced during this season of parties, shopping and family gathering. Here are a few suggestions from a seasoned veteran of manic depression:

1. If at all possible, don't fund Christmas with credit. Anyone should avoid carrying an expensive, income-sucking credit card balance. But credit is particularly dangerous for those with bipolar disorder, since out of control spending is a common result of hypomania and mania.

2. Try making many of your gifts. There really are home-made, low-cost, yet super cool presents:
  • Make a calendar for friends and family, topped by personal photos, and filed with dates to remember, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Burn a CD collection of your personal favorite Christmas songs to give as gifts.
  • Give food and drink. Food: Home made Christmas candy and cookies. Drink: Make your own Kahlua, and bottle it in any cleaned used glass bottle. (Kahlua's easy to make with few ingredients: vodka, coffee, sugar & vanilla. Google for a recipe.)

3. Manage alcohol consumption. Speaking of alcohol, if you tend to consume too much, as do many folks with bipolar, try to reign in your boozing. A few tricks...
  • If you are partying, every time you start to feel a bit buzzed, switch to water. Being adequately hydrated will also reduce the potential pain of hangover.
  • If you are a white wine drinker, add ice, or ice water to your glass of wine. This will help you consume less alcohol and help to maintain hydration.
  • If you have the will-power, skip the booze altogether. Drink lemon water, tea or some other drink of choice. This has the added benefit of reducing calorie intake, which can easily get out of control with all of the yummy holiday food.

4. Get enough sleep! It is easy to become sleep deprived during busy times. But remember, sleep deprivation can trigger mania, so get plenty of Zzzzzzzzzzs.

5. Take your meds. Again, when things get busy, it is easy to lose your routine. But always take your bipolar meds, as prescribed, especially when your schedule becomes hectic.


Manic 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 depresseD
This blog is for informational purposes only, it is not intended to be used for the treatment of mental illness. If you are having emotional troubles, please see a human mental health professional, not a computer.