Bipolar? What are Your Stress Relievers?

Hi, how’s it going? Hope you are doing well.

There have been times lately that I have been really stressed out about a few things. It’s gotten me thinking. Do we handle stress the way we should? I started to realize after thinking about it for a while that there are two ways to handle stress: natural ways and good ways. The natural ways aren’t always horrible (although sometimes they are.) But the good ways are always healthy.

I’ve seen some people reach for caffeine when they’re stressed. Natural, and not horrible, but probably not the best thing either (especially if your nerves are already on end.) I’ve seen some people reach for sugar and carbs when they’re stressed. Unless they happen to be one of those lucky few with a really high metabolism, this can be devastating to their weight and their health – especially if they do it often.

But, it does get worse than that. Some people, when stressed, will reach for alcohol or drugs. Some people when they’re stressed will engage in risky behavior. I’ve heard of people with bipolar who are stressed decide that their medications must not be working, and just cut them off! I’ve heard of supporters who are stressed get so frustrated that they either blow up on their loved ones, or just leave! (Or both!)

Stress can serve to exasperate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It doesn’t do a whole lot for the supporters, either. And when both the loved one and the supporter are stressed, they (naturally) tend to bump heads a lot.

All this sounds like bad news, huh? Well, there’s good news, too. We don’t have to stick to the natural when it comes to stress. There are ways we can relieve stress that are good for us. Taking breaks, for example. There are times when taking a break from a situation can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes you have to schedule those breaks in ahead of time, and then force yourself to follow the schedule.

It’s not always easy to get a break. This is especially true if you are a parent. At that point, you may have to plan an activity or event which your children can do with little or no supervision. Make sure it’s one that will keep them entertained, or your break will be short-lived!

Another good thing we can do when stressed is to make a point to eat correctly. Catch yourself reaching for the caffeine or the carbs, and instead reach for a piece of fruit or some whole-grain carbs. This will make you feel physically better, which will help your stress levels. It will also give you something to be proud of yourself for.

Then, find a positive activity to help you relieve some stress. This can be anywhere from a relaxing and meditative activity (such as yoga) all the way to a strenuous activity (such as running or weight lifting.) It needs to be something that you enjoy doing, and that you will feel more relaxed and/or energized after doing it.

There are many, many other positive ways to reduce and deal with stress. Can you name two or three of them?

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


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