Having structure and a regular routine is important for everyone. When it comes to your mental health, the way you structure your days is crucial. It helps to reduce stress and makes your life feel more comfortable. Having a routine can also give you stability and promote your overall well-being. For people with bipolar disorder, routine is even more important.
When a person has bipolar disorder, creating some kind of structure throughout the day is more than just a convenience or a source of comfort. It can actually help to stabilize your moods and keep you from excessive worry and anxiety.
If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, knowing as much as possible about the importance of routine will help you devote more time and attention to your own. So with that in mind, let’s look at why structure is so important, so you can make sure you’re living out a routine that works for you each day.
Disruptions during the day can trigger manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder, but routine will greatly reduce this risk. You can start with something simple like waking up at the same time each day and going to sleep at the same time each night. When your brain is regulated with routine, you’re more likely to experience a state of calm. It can feel gratifying, even though it requires putting in a bit of effort.
Having a routine – especially when it comes to sleeping and waking – will also help your natural circadian rhythms. When your body is “ticking” the way it should throughout the day, you’re less likely to have dramatic shifts in your mood.
Feel in Control
It’s easy for bipolar disorder to make you feel completely out of control of your own mind and body. That’s especially true when you’re experiencing major mood shifts. But, instead of feeling helpless, a routine can give you more power. By creating more stability in what you do each day, you can find comfort in knowing you have control over certain things.
Even when your routine doesn’t always go as planned, you can get back on track faster, so you’re less likely to feel like things are spinning out of control. You’ll also be able to stay more focused. Feelings of shame, guilt, and other negative thoughts are common for people dealing with bipolar disorder.
It can sometimes feel like they’re playing on a loop in your head. But when you have a routine, you can focus on your daily tasks rather than negative self-talk. Again, that puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you gain more control.
Stay Relaxed and Feel Connected
It can be hard for people with bipolar disorder to find time to do things they enjoy. But, when you have a routine, that becomes much easier. You can schedule in time for social activities or things you really want to do. When you’re able to fit those things in without extra stress, you’re less likely to have manic episodes.
Additionally, a routine can help with your social life. Staying in touch with people you care about has been proven to help bipolar disorder recover faster from manic episodes. By making time in your routine for the people who matter most, you’re actually practicing self-care.
If you’re having trouble getting started with a routine, keep it simple. Write down a schedule for yourself, if that helps. It’s meant to make life easier, not to cause more stress. Whether it’s waking and sleeping at the same time or following things more strictly, a routine is beneficial for managing your bipolar disorder and feeling more in control of your own life.