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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Structured living

Managing my condition entails following a structure. I've never been the carefree type, but I'm not one who follows a strict schedule either. Now that it's becoming clearer that what I have is a bipolar disorder, I have to create a routine and stick to it.

The first thing that I'm trying to do is setting up a regular sleeping schedule. My psychiatrist recommended taking my meds three hours before bedtime, so I could wake up at a decent hour the following day. This also means that I have to sleep earlier than I used to so both my mind and body can get enough rest.

This entails quite a big adjustment on my part. I've backed off from choir practices and activities in the meantime (while I'm in this dip) to help me set up a regular sleeping routine. I can't pull an all-nighter anymore, even if I'm rushing an article to beat a deadline, so my mind won't be plagued with anxiety at night. The closer I get to my set bedtime, the lesser the things I should be doing, and the more relaxed I should be.

It sounds easy, but being used to an active mind, I find this challenging. How can I train my mind to slow down by 8 p.m. when I know I have a lot on my plate? How can I tell myself to simply breathe and relax when my mind has always been noisy?

That's when my compartmentalized mind comes in. Seeing my mind as divided into sectors rather than as a big chunk helps me prioritize and manage which matters are more urgent. It makes thing less overwhelming.

The next thing I'm trying work on is creating an exercise routine. This is harder because of my ever-changing daily and weekly schedule. But so far, I've managed to attend two yoga classes. I've also jogged twice recently. I count those as achievements, no matter how small.

How about you? How do you manage? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

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