Staying well in bipolar II disorder

What can I do to help stay well and prevent relapse?

my GP has encouraged me to manage the illness myself and develop lots of outlets outside of the illness. to find different ways of developing a sense of self outside of that...

- Mark, 25 year old, diagnosed 6 years ago.

I feel that exercise can make a difference to the way I feel for the better... a good diet and mindfulness can also make a difference.

- Khalid, 18 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago.

...

There are many strategies or activities that you can engage with to help stay well and prevent relapse. Often over time these strategies become easier as they become a part of your every day life. Most Australian young adults with bipolar disorder say that it takes time to find out what works best for them. There are many ways to find out what will work for you:

  • Talk to your clinician (psychiatrist, psychologist or GP)
  • Look at trusted websites or books
  • Talk to other people with bipolar disorder, friends and family.

Below are some of the main ways that Australian young adults stay well and prevent relapse. For each item in the list select to show:

  • if you have already tried this strategy
  • if you found this strategy helpful or unhelpful
  • if you would like to try this strategy but need more information or help getting started

Complete the list and bring it with you to the next consultation with your clinician. Your clinician can use this to help you work on your plan to stay well.

Strategies young adults use to stay well and prevent relapse

Already tried Helpful for me Unhelpful for me Want to try but need support
Have/ Keep up a healthy life (including, exercise, diet, self-management, routine)
Go to bed and get up at a similar time each day.
Try to have a daily routine
Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity/exercise each day
Make time for relaxing and take “time-out” when I need it.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet based on a different vegetables, fruit, lean protein and whole grains.
Cut down or avoid caffeine, alcohol and drugs
Stick to my treatment (including, medicine, psychologist)
Take medicine as prescribed by my clinician
See a psychologist
Contact my doctor/s as soon as I need to
Take part in meaningful activities (including free time, work/study)
Be creative! (for example writing, dance, art and design)
Try new activities to replace those that I may have lost (for example, volunteering if I am unable to work)
Try yoga or meditation
Stay in touch with my friends and family
Talk to supportive family and friends.
Use the internet for support (for example, forums, message boards)
Meet other people who have bipolar disorder
Keep track of symptoms
Think about how I usually feel so that I know what is normal for me and what is not
Keep a journal or mood calendar
Have a stay-well plan, which helps me stop an episode (mood change) if I or others notice early warning signs
Learn about bipolar disorder
Accept and understand bipolar disorder and what this means for you
Teach other people about bipolar disorder
Find ways to view bipolar disorder as only part of who I am
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