It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas, and there’s no place like Home for the Holidays. It may be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year but it can also be a Nightmare Before Christmas. Don’t get Scrooged or you may end up Home Alone… five times. You can Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas even with bipolar disorder. You may need a Breath of Heaven or a Silent Night, but This Christmas you can have a great Christmas Story with these Die Hard tips:
1 Mind the countdown to Christmas.
The key to managing the stress of preparing for the holidays is managing your time. Most things will take more time than you think they will. Make an actual checklist so you’re not relying on your memory. Make a schedule according to your checklist with time buffers added in. If you’re traveling, remember that it is winter and you may run into winter weather. Knowing you’ve given yourself the time to deal with obstacles will help maintain your cool.
2 Don’t wait up for Santa.
The same goes for waking up early to see what Santa brought- just don’t do it. Maintaining a regular sleeping schedule is a vital part of remaining functional with bipolar disorder. Sleep disturbances can trigger bipolar symptoms, either depressive or manic. So, make it a priority to stick to your regular sleep schedule and to have a good sleeping environment. The sofa bed in the living room next to Uncle Snores-a-Lot won’t cut it.
3 Make your eggnog unleaded.
Alcohol intake increases during the holidays (it triples in Australia). There are a lot of opportunities to imbibe- work parties and getting together with friends and family. This can be a real problem for anyone with bipolar disorder. Almost 30% of people with bipolar disorder are alcohol dependent. For those that aren’t, drinking alcohol can trigger manic or depressive episodes.
4 Go play in the snow.
Being surrounded by the lights and songs and family can sometimes get to be a little much. People with bipolar II are more susceptible to overstimulation than those with bipolar I, but everyone needs some quiet time. You may not even notice how keyed up you were until you get out of the situation. Stave this off by taking regular breaks. Take a walk; run an errand; go lay down. Do whatever works for you to keep from letting your environment get the best of you.
5 Put your favorite Christmas flick on repeat.
Seeing family and old friends can be rejuvenating. It can also take a lot of precious energy. For an alternative, seek out a favorite movie or t.v. show. These fictional worlds can provide that same feeling of camaraderie you need to refuel.
Above all, make sure you take the time to take care of yourself. May you have One Magic Christmas and believe It’s a Wonderful Life.
You can find me on Twitter @LaRaeRLaBouff
Photo credit: Kevin Dooley