The holidays are filled with what could be considered bipolar triggers for people with bipolar disease, and surviving from day-to-day becomes an even bigger challenge. From annoying family members to the increased stress, the holidays are not easy to handle. However, there are ways to avoid the triggers and still find a way to enjoy the season.
Figure Out the Routine Changes
Many people with bipolar disorder develop routines they like to follow at home, but even a minor change can be a trigger for mania or depression. It is important to try to manage the routine as much as possible and avoid doing too much in one day. Overstimulation is a problem for some people, so planning ahead can help.
Hosting Dinners and Parties
Hosting a dinner or party at home can be a trigger for people with bipolar disorder. The cooking, cleaning, scheduling and decorating can feel overwhelming. If you feel you cannot handle being a host, then it is time to let someone else take over. You may also want to think about going out to eat during the holidays to reduce the stress of trying to do everything at home.
Talk with the Family
If your bipolar diagnosis is new, the holidays are a good time to discuss the condition with family and friends. They need to be aware that you are trying to reduce stress and avoid triggers. The late night phone calls from your cousin who forgot the pie recipe or the demands from your great-aunt to drive her to the mall will have to be handled by someone else. You will have to make it clear that you cannot be their savior, driver or chef while you try to manage the illness.
Overspending and manic shopping are problems for some people who are bipolar. The holidays can make things worse with the constant barrage of ads, deals and sales. If you know shopping is a trigger, then consider letting another family member or friend handle it. You can also set a careful budget and use apps to limit your ability to overspend. You can still enjoy the holidays, but thinking ahead will help you avoid the bipolar triggers.
If you have found other triggers please list them in the comments! It will be a help to everyone and thanks.