The big shifts in mood and behaviour that you experience when you have bipolar disorder can leave you feeling both mentally and physically drained. Fortunately, there are some coping techniques that can help maintain your energy reserves and prioritise rest.
If the ups and downs of bipolar disorder are leaving you physically and mentally exhausted, then you are dealing with a common and sometimes debilitating symptom known as bipolar fatigue. Here are 8 different things you can do to help fight the negative impacts of this symptom while also honoring your body’s need for rest:
Focusing on the Basics to Beat Bipolar Fatigue
Managing bipolar fatigue involves honing in on some essentials that our brains and bodies need to stay energised and alert. Making sure you have proper sleep, activity, and nutrition can help take the edge off of your fatigue and make getting through the days possible. However, if you are incorporating these basics and still find yourself struggling, check in with your doctor or a mental health specialist to see what other options may be available to manage bipolar fatigue.
Basic Need 1: Sleep
Bipolar disorder can wreak havoc on your sleeping schedule. Lack of sleep during manic episodes can leave you exhausted during the day, but subsequent depressive episodes can make you feel unable to even open your eyes and get out of bed. Establishing a sleep schedule where you are getting into bed and getting up in the morning at the same times each day, avoiding screens for a full hour before bedtime, relaxing in a warm bath or with some light stretching, and trying to limit daytime naps are all critical elements in reclaiming regular sleep. Budgeting enough time for sleep is also important (about 7-9 hours), as well as making sure you are not oversleeping, which can actually exacerbate feelings of fatigue. It can be difficult to get this started, and so having a loved one who can help you come up with a plan and stick to it can be useful.
Basic Need 2: Activity and Exercise
Getting up and moving, whether it is to clean the house, get some work done, or try to get a workout in, can feel impossible when you are fatigued. However, compelling your body into action can actually generate energy and boost your mood. The key here is to start slow, and try to follow what your body is telling you. Feel a little less tired in the mornings? Set that as your time to be more active. Worried that exercise is going to be too much? Start with a light, gentle routine that doesn’t overtax you but gets you moving. Strike a balance between gently pushing yourself towards consistent activity, and giving yourself ample time to rest.
Basic Need 3: Eating Healthy and Staying Hydrated
When you are feeling fatigued, it’s easy to rely on fast foods or snacks for a quick pick-me-up, or a bottomless cup of coffee. Foods consisting of simple carbs and sugars tend to burn quickly however, leading to a crash that leaves our bodies feeling even more tired. Additionally, caffeine in coffee and energy drinks is dehydrating, which also contributes to fatigue.
Consuming high-energy foods – things like bananas, brown rice, fatty fish, spinach, beans and avocados – can help give your body the fuel it needs to fight fatigue. Staying hydrated by keeping a bottle of water near you throughout the day is also important. Remember the recommended water intake per day is 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men – and more if you’re exercising!
Managing Bipolar Disorder at The Dawn
If you feel like you need some help managing symptoms of bipolar disorder, consider reaching out for professional support. At The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab, a mental health retreat in Thailand, we specialise in providing customised, holistic treatment programmes for a range of mental health conditions including bipolar disorder.
Bipolar fatigue can be a debilitating aspect of bipolar disorder, but the right treatment can make a world of difference. Call The Dawn today to learn more about how we can help you fight bipolar fatigue. treatment options.