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Healthy Living with Bipolar I Disorder

When you have bipolar I disorder, you may think a lot about your mental health. But it’s important to think about the health of your body, too. A healthy lifestyle is important to your overall wellness. Be sure to talk to your health care professional about changes you want to make.

Here are some healthy-living tips you may want to try.

Eat for good health

Be sure to talk with your health care professional about your diet:

  • If you have special health problems, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, your health care professional may put you on a special diet
  • Even if you don’t have health problems, your health care professional may tell you to try to eat regular, balanced meals and to avoid eating “junk” or “fast” food
  • You may need to eat less
  • You may feel better when you limit sugar and avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate may contain caffeine)

Be physically active

You don’t have to be an athlete or join a gym. Any activity that gets you moving can be helpful. Even a short walk a few times a week can improve your health.
Be sure to talk with your health care professional before starting any new exercise or increasing your level of physical activity. You may want to:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Get off the bus 1 or 2 stops early and walk the rest of the way
  • Park your car at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the store
  • Stand up and walk around while talking on the phone
  • Walk in place for a few minutes while watching TV

Stay on a sleep schedule

Sleeping less than usual or being unable or unwilling to sleep can be a sign of a manic episode. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you may want to:

  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends
  • Make sure that your bedroom is dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable
  • Set up a bedtime routine that you can follow every night. (For example, you may want to take a warm bath or listen to music that relaxes you)
  • Eat your last meal or snack at least 2 or 3 hours before you go to bed
  • Avoid food or drinks that contain caffeine (like coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolate) close to bedtime

Following a regular daily schedule can also give important structure to your life.

Take time to relax

Relaxing may help you manage stress. You might want to:

  • Listen to music
  • Do some deep breathing
  • Work on a crossword puzzle
  • Read a book
  • Watch a movie
  • Write in a journal
  • Draw or paint

Avoid substance use

Using alcohol or illegal drugs can interact in a dangerous way with your medicine. You may want to:

  • Talk with your health care professional about any problems you are having with alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Go to a support group for people with alcohol or drug problems
  • Seek the support of your family members or friends

You may also want to use a chart to track your symptoms, treatment, sleep patterns, and life events. This can help you and your health care professional know more about how you are doing.

Further Resources

About.com

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

American Academy of Pediatrics

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The Cleveland Clinic health information

eMedicineHealth.com

KidsHealth.org

Mayo Clinic

Pollen.com

WebMD


Further Resources

Allergy and Asthma Network - Mothers of Asthmatics, Inc.

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

American Lung Association

CDC: asthma's impact on children and adolescents

CDC: how to quit

EPA: asthma and indoor environments

NIH: asthma and physical activity in the school

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Further Resources

American Diabetes Association

Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation

Diabetic Exercise and Sports Association

International Diabetes Federation

NIH: NIDDK diabetes health information

NIH: NIDDK nutrition information

NIH: National Diabetes Education Program

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation


Further Resources

American Council for Headache Education

American Headache Society

National Headache Foundation

New England Center for Headache


Further Resources

American Dietetic Association

Dietary guidelines for americans

Food and nutrition information center

NIH: nutrition information

NIH: weight loss and control

NIH: weight control


Always check with the health care professional before beginning any activity plan or increasing activity. It's also important to ask him or her about target heart rate to help determine appropriate exercise intensity.

Always check with your health care professional before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity. It's also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

Always be sure to check with your health care professional before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity.

It always helps to ask:

  • What activities are right for me?
  • How much should I do each day?
  • How many days a week?

It's also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

This information is provided by an independent source. Merck is not responsible for this content. Please discuss any and all treatment options with your healthcare professional. The manufacturer of a product generally has the most complete information about that product.

This information is provided by an independent source. Merck is not responsible for this content. Please discuss any and all treatment options with your healthcare professional. The manufacturer of a product generally has the most complete information about that product.

This information is provided by an independent source. Merck is not responsible for this content. Please discuss any and all treatment options with your healthcare professional. The manufacturer of a product generally has the most complete information about that product.

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Health Coach Call

Listen to an example of what a call might sound like.

PlayNutrition call (7:16)
PlayActivity call (7:22)

Here are some important things to know about your Health Coach Call:

Our Coaches are employed by a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., a pharmaceutical company. The information provided is based on generally available nutrition and physical activity guidelines and information applicable to most people. Health Coaches are not licensed dietitians or health and fitness professionals, and they are not in a position to assess your individual nutrition or activity needs. This information is not appropriate if you are pregnant, and it may not be appropriate if you have specialized dietary needs or limitations on the level of activity or exercise you can safely undertake due to your medical conditions. Consult your health care professional regarding your specific needs, limitations, and health conditions. Health Coaches can educate and coach you on nutritional and physical activity recommendations for the typical person. Health Coaches are not health care professionals and cannot offer medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your health care professional because he or she knows you best. If you have a chronic health condition, check with your health care professional to find out if physical activity is safe before you start. If during your call you have concerns about any condition, special dietary needs, limitations on the level of activity or exercise, any treatments, side effects, or adverse experiences, your Health Coach will refer you to your health care professional.

Activity Points Explained

This Planner uses Activity Points as a way to help you stay motivated and focused on your activity goals. Points are assigned to each activity in the Planner. You'll earn more points when you increase the duration of the activity.

For example, when you bicycle for 15 minutes at a moderate pace (12 to 14 mph), you earn 120 Activity Points. To earn the same number of Activity Points while cycling at a very easy pace (less than 10 mph), you would need to bike for 30 minutes.

If you are currently inactive or get very little activity during the week, a good goal to work toward is 500 Activity Points each week. This is equal to 30 minutes of moderate–intensity aerobic exercise on 5 days a week.

If you are moderately or highly active (more than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week), you may want to aim for up to 1,000 Activity Points each week. This is equivalent to 1 hour of activity on 5 days a week.

What you'll gain

At 500 Activity Points per week: Once you consistently reach this level (ie, 150 minutes of moderate–intensity aerobic activity per week), you may gain substantial health benefits. These benefits include lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

At 1,000 Activity Points per week: When you consistently reach this level (ie, 300 minutes of moderate–intensity aerobic activity per week), you may gain even more health benefits. These benefits include a decreased risk of colon and breast cancer and an even lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.