Despite having doctors, therapists, friends and family around; the best person to help you is… You!

You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Self-care is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling. You are best positioned to recognise areas of your life that needs change.

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What lifestyle changes can I make?

Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.

Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose.

This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week. Just building habits and creating a plan can make a world of difference.

Your healthcare professionals should offer you a combined healthy eating, exercise and sleep programme.

What are support groups?

You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support. Just as the SharingBipolar Community is an online support group helping people across the world, a local support group will help you focus in the area where you live.

You might be able to find a local group by searching online. Currently the charity ‘Bipolar UK’ offers face to face support groups in some areas of the country.

What are recovery colleges?

Recovery colleges are run by healthcare providers. They offer free courses about mental health to help you manage your symptoms. They can help you to take control of your life and become an expert in your own wellbeing and recovery. You can usually self-refer to a recovery college. In the UK the NHS runs recovery colleges.

Unfortunately, they aren’t available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area; use a search engine like Google.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)?

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP for short, is a self-designed wellness process. Use a WRAP to get well, stay well, achieve your goals and make your life your own.

It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. Since then it has become a tried and tested method leading to a better life for many sufferers worldwide.

Learning to spot early signs of mania or depression is important in self management. The WRAP looks at areas like how you are affected by your illness and what you could do to manage them.

There are guides that can help with this. You can ask your healthcare professional to make one with you or ask them for a template of one.

Only I know aspects of my life that need improving, it's time to make changes!
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Set Goals, Celebrate Wins!

No-one likes to feel that they have failed at something. Especially when you have no control over the obstacle you are attempting to overcome. Understand your limitations and set boundaries, if you can’t manage to do something alone, ask for help.

Ensure your progress is bitesize and achievable. Create an action plan with steps to manage your condition. If you need to, you can do extra each day but celebrate the small wins; with every success you are closer to climbing a mountain!

A win could simply be getting up in the morning, or speaking on the telephone. Making a meal or doing your weekly shopping are challenges you should be proud of.

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