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bipolar mental health wellness tips
Wellness
Published Monday Sep 09, 2019 by Paula Hoss

I Have Bipolar Disorder and Here’s How Wellness Saved My Life

Personal Growth
Expert Advice

The first time I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I sat across from my psychiatrist and watched her draw a wavy line on a piece of paper.
 
“These,” she said, “are your moods.”
 
The line immediately made me think of the ebb and flow of calm waves in a harbor. I cocked my head to the side and thought, “That doesn’t seem so bad.”
 
Then she reached for a thicker pen and began drawing again. This time the waves were bigger, the peaks much higher, and the valleys dismally lower. The bay turned into a violent ocean, whipping debris from all the ships stranded at sea.
 
“These,” she corrected, “are your moods when you have bipolar disorder.”
 
This simple illustration landed hard.
 
It explained the days of elation, like I could conquer the world. It also helped me understand the dismal depression that I often felt. Those waves explained why one moment, I could be charging hundreds of dollars on plane flights and then be suicidal just hours later.
 
I’ve lived with bipolar disorder for almost two decades now. Like many chronic illnesses, there are days where it’s seemingly unbearable. There have been moments when I’ve been convinced that my brain was broken beyond repair. But, more than that, there have been stretches of months where life is good. Where I’ve built a family, a career, a life that I love.
 
Trust me, my path to wellness has been a journey. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way that have helped me manage my mental health: 

 

Get a diagnosis. 

It’s easy to disregard our mental health symptoms as “having a bad day” or as “being too emotional.” If your mental health is impacting your daily life, I suggest seeing a specialist for a diagnosis. A specialist has experience with the nuances of different mental health issues and can provide you with more effective treatments than a general practitioner.

 

Find someone you can vent to. 

Perhaps it’s coffee with a friend, a heart-to-heart with a trusted family member, or (my favorite) a weekly session with a licensed counselor. Maybe it’s a combination of all of those. Either way, find someone that you can trust and confide in on a regular basis.

 

Move your body in a way that feels good to you. 

Find what feels good for you in this season and go with it. It could be walking your dog. Powerlifting. Perhaps it’s swimming laps or playing soccer. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps increase your brain’s serotonin production, so try to exercise 3-5 times a week.

 

Find your triggers. 

A mental illness trigger is something that tends to make your symptoms worse. For me, it’s lack of sleep. For other people, it can be alcohol, spending too much time on social media, or perhaps a toxic person from their past. Take some time to learn what your triggers are and work hard to navigate around them.
 
At the end of the day, I encourage you to remember that mental illness is a diagnosable disorder. It is not a lack of personal discipline, an inability to shift to a more positive perspective, or a weakness of character. All illnesses can benefit from wellness practices such as movement, meditation, and self-care. Often, though, these practices must be balanced with professional medical supervision and medications. Repeat after me: there’s no shame in my SSRI game.
 

Want more mental health and wellness talk? Follow Paula on Instagram at @paulatamarahoss to read more about her story and tips! 

Paula Hoss
Written by
Paula Hoss
Founder | CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare
About the author
The founder of CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare, Paula Hoss is a mental health and substance abuse recovery advocate. Featured in Beauty Independent and Brit + Co, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and a flock of chickens.
Woman reading on red couch with dog
The Latest
Published Tuesday Mar 31, 2020 by Mindbody Team

What Mindbody is Reading/Listening to Right Now

Mindbody Community
Personal Growth

At Mindbody, we’re all trying to do our part, right now, WFH-ing, social distancing and spending as much time at home as possible. All that extra time confined at home makes it particularly tempting to mindlessly consume—whether it be a 10:15 AM lunch, out of boredom, or scrolling titles on Hulu for hours before giving up and re-watching The Office, again. 

It’s important to mix up the content we’re consuming and try to ensure we’re getting a balance of enriching content. We compiled a list of a few of our favorite books and podcasts that the Mindbody team is consciously consuming to try to keep ourselves enlightened and balanced during this time—that is, when we’re not bingeing Tiger King or Love is Blind. 

Hidden Brain [Podcast] with Shankar Vedantam 

“Makes you think about your unconscious decisions—for example, why do we all feel compelled to stockpile toilet paper right now.”  – Megan Incorvaia (Sr Manager, Advertising) 

Host Shankar Vedantam focuses his weekly shows on human behavior and social sciences. Diving deep into sociological & behavioral research to get listeners to understand the headlines through the context of human perception, memory, emotions, and subconscious. 

 

Photo source: Npr.org

1

Hidden Brain [Podcast] with Shankar Vedantam 

“Makes you think about your unconscious decisions—for example, why do we all feel compelled to stockpile toilet paper right now.”  – Megan Incorvaia (Sr Manager, Advertising) 

Host Shankar Vedantam focuses his weekly shows on human behavior and social sciences. Diving deep into sociological & behavioral research to get listeners to understand the headlines through the context of human perception, memory, emotions, and subconscious. 

 

Photo source: Npr.org

Digital Minimalism [Book] By Cal Newport

“We’re spending A LOT more time online, but it can be counterintuitive to overall wellness. Digital Minimalism helps shine a light on your behavioral blind spots.” – Meredith Simmons (Sr Marketing Communications Specialist) 

Digital Minimalism takes the approach that technology—a powerful but vilified tool—is not necessarily good or bad. Cal Newport highlights that we should be consciously considering how we’re spending our time (endless scrolling on the ‘grams, anyone?), assessing what value we get from our various tech connections and social platforms, and either consolidating, prioritizing, or taking a step away from technology. 
 

Photo source: Amazon.com

2

Digital Minimalism [Book] By Cal Newport

“We’re spending A LOT more time online, but it can be counterintuitive to overall wellness. Digital Minimalism helps shine a light on your behavioral blind spots.” – Meredith Simmons (Sr Marketing Communications Specialist) 

Digital Minimalism takes the approach that technology—a powerful but vilified tool—is not necessarily good or bad. Cal Newport highlights that we should be consciously considering how we’re spending our time (endless scrolling on the ‘grams, anyone?), assessing what value we get from our various tech connections and social platforms, and either consolidating, prioritizing, or taking a step away from technology. 
 

Photo source: Amazon.com

Armchair Expert [Podcast] with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman

“It’s so funny and smart but most importantly, Dax and Monica show you it’s okay to be honest, vulnerable, and sensitive” – Yuki Daniel (Executive Assistant) 

Dax Shepard, along with his co-host and longtime friend, Monica Padman have such a pointed, yet caring & humble way of interviewing. It’s not uncommon for him to prompt many of his celebrity and expert guests to open up deeply within the first five minutes of the podcast. Listening to Dax and Monica is highly entertaining and thought-provoking. A great soundtrack for cooking dinner. 

 

Photo source: Armchair Expert Facebook

3

Armchair Expert [Podcast] with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman

“It’s so funny and smart but most importantly, Dax and Monica show you it’s okay to be honest, vulnerable, and sensitive” – Yuki Daniel (Executive Assistant) 

Dax Shepard, along with his co-host and longtime friend, Monica Padman have such a pointed, yet caring & humble way of interviewing. It’s not uncommon for him to prompt many of his celebrity and expert guests to open up deeply within the first five minutes of the podcast. Listening to Dax and Monica is highly entertaining and thought-provoking. A great soundtrack for cooking dinner. 

 

Photo source: Armchair Expert Facebook

When Things Fall Apart [Book] by Pema Chödrön

“Everyone can relate and get advice from this book, whether they are going through a loss, divorce, work stress, etc.” – Keana Dapper (Lifecycle Program Manager) 

Pema Chödrön is a Buddhist nun, author and speaker. Drawing from her vast knowledge and experience with traditional Buddhist Wisdom—she provides a digestible guide on how to lean into our feelings of discomfort. 

 

Photo source: Goodreads.com

4

When Things Fall Apart [Book] by Pema Chödrön

“Everyone can relate and get advice from this book, whether they are going through a loss, divorce, work stress, etc.” – Keana Dapper (Lifecycle Program Manager) 

Pema Chödrön is a Buddhist nun, author and speaker. Drawing from her vast knowledge and experience with traditional Buddhist Wisdom—she provides a digestible guide on how to lean into our feelings of discomfort. 

 

Photo source: Goodreads.com

Educated: A Memoir [Book] by Tara Westover

“An incredibly interesting perspective of the power of knowledge and information.” – Angelina C Murray (Lead Acquisition Program Manager) 

A true page-turner, Educated details the childhood and journey through life of Tara Westover. Raised in a home that eschewed formal education, subject to physical and emotional abuse from unstable parents, Westover’s story of discovering and seeking out education against all odds is truly inspiring. 

 

Photo source: Tarawestover.com

5

Educated: A Memoir [Book] by Tara Westover

“An incredibly interesting perspective of the power of knowledge and information.” – Angelina C Murray (Lead Acquisition Program Manager) 

A true page-turner, Educated details the childhood and journey through life of Tara Westover. Raised in a home that eschewed formal education, subject to physical and emotional abuse from unstable parents, Westover’s story of discovering and seeking out education against all odds is truly inspiring. 

 

Photo source: Tarawestover.com

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend [Podcast] with Conan O’Brien and Sona Movsesian 

“Conan's untamed, yet likeable id unleashed on his guests who, after the hour is up, unwittingly become his friends. His assistant Sona and producer Matt laugh at, and sometimes with, Conan throughout each episode. Five stars.”  – Ryan Kaltenbach (Senior Business Insights Analyst & Office Meme Master) 

This podcast may not be as enlightened or educational as some of the other picks on our list—but laughter is the best medicine—and we could all use a couple of extra giggles right now. Conan brings through A-list celebrities and top comedians for an hour plus of one third interview & two-thirds side splitting laughter. Just give it a listen. 

 

Photo source: Stitcher.com

6

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend [Podcast] with Conan O’Brien and Sona Movsesian 

“Conan's untamed, yet likeable id unleashed on his guests who, after the hour is up, unwittingly become his friends. His assistant Sona and producer Matt laugh at, and sometimes with, Conan throughout each episode. Five stars.”  – Ryan Kaltenbach (Senior Business Insights Analyst & Office Meme Master) 

This podcast may not be as enlightened or educational as some of the other picks on our list—but laughter is the best medicine—and we could all use a couple of extra giggles right now. Conan brings through A-list celebrities and top comedians for an hour plus of one third interview & two-thirds side splitting laughter. Just give it a listen. 

 

Photo source: Stitcher.com

Joyful:  The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness [Book] By Ingrid Fetell Lee 

“A good reminder that joy can be found in simple, cheap ways.”  – Christina Libertini (Senior Art Director) 

Especially now, when we’re all feeling a little bit more confined, this book gives some useful tips on how to improve our WFH spaces, our bedrooms, our lives, and find a little more joy. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, Ingrid Fetell Lee breaks down the powerful impact of the physical world on our feelings and thoughts (both good and bad). Her anecdotes are fun to read, and the—while basic—are a good reminder that joy can be found in simple, cheap ways. 

 

Photo source: Amazon.com

7

Joyful:  The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness [Book] By Ingrid Fetell Lee 

“A good reminder that joy can be found in simple, cheap ways.”  – Christina Libertini (Senior Art Director) 

Especially now, when we’re all feeling a little bit more confined, this book gives some useful tips on how to improve our WFH spaces, our bedrooms, our lives, and find a little more joy. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, Ingrid Fetell Lee breaks down the powerful impact of the physical world on our feelings and thoughts (both good and bad). Her anecdotes are fun to read, and the—while basic—are a good reminder that joy can be found in simple, cheap ways. 

 

Photo source: Amazon.com

Planet Money [Podcast] 

“This podcast actually makes me miss my commute.” – Megan Incorvaia (Sr Manager, Advertising) 

Billed as ”The Economy Explained,” Planet Money breaks down the various forces at play in the economy in a digestible and interesting way. It runs the gamut from topics—is there any difference in top-shelf vs bottom-shelf vodka beyond the marketing—to explaining how the Fed is trying to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

 

Photo source: Npr.org

8

Planet Money [Podcast] 

“This podcast actually makes me miss my commute.” – Megan Incorvaia (Sr Manager, Advertising) 

Billed as ”The Economy Explained,” Planet Money breaks down the various forces at play in the economy in a digestible and interesting way. It runs the gamut from topics—is there any difference in top-shelf vs bottom-shelf vodka beyond the marketing—to explaining how the Fed is trying to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

 

Photo source: Npr.org

The Body: A Guide for Occupants [Book] by Bill Bryson

“A great read in these times when our bodies have taken the headlines.” – Christina Libertini (Senior Art Director) 

Bill Bryson uses his trademark humor and strong storytelling to provide an engaging review of the human body. If you haven’t taken a biology class since high school (hi!)—this book provides a simple and entertaining walkthrough of how the human body works, one system at a time. It’s definitely not a medical textbook—but delivers on a lighthearted and anecdotal understanding of what keeps our bodies ticking. 

 

Photo source: Amazon.com

9

The Body: A Guide for Occupants [Book] by Bill Bryson

“A great read in these times when our bodies have taken the headlines.” – Christina Libertini (Senior Art Director) 

Bill Bryson uses his trademark humor and strong storytelling to provide an engaging review of the human body. If you haven’t taken a biology class since high school (hi!)—this book provides a simple and entertaining walkthrough of how the human body works, one system at a time. It’s definitely not a medical textbook—but delivers on a lighthearted and anecdotal understanding of what keeps our bodies ticking. 

 

Photo source: Amazon.com

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Written by
Mindbody Team
Editors & Educators
About the author
We're here to provide you with the latest and greatest, tried and true wellness experiences and advice to help you live life to the fullest. From nourishing recipes and travel tips to finding the perfect sweat routine or wellness regimen—we cover it all. And if we haven't yet, it's definitely on the way.