Surviving the Holidays When You Have Bipolar Disorder

surviving the holidays when you have bipolar disorder

The Holidays are my favorite time of year.  October, November, and December are always so much fun for me.  That is when I am stable.


Last year in September and October, the stress was insurmountable to me.  I was doing my best to take care of my self-care each day, but it was not enough.  With an illness like this, you can only do your best and hope for the best.


The end of October capped off with a big trigger.  After all the stress, this trigger broke me.  I slowly slipped into an extreme manic episode full of delusions, hallucinations, and overall psychosis.  Ultimately, I landed in a psychiatric hospital for about a week.


This year, everything is different.


When I say that the Holidays are my favorite time of year, yes, they are.  They will always be.  Like many other individuals, it is a time of increased tension, pressure, and overall stress.


I tell you this story only to illustrate the extreme nature of our illness during the Holidays.  The years proceeding last year have always been stressful for me.


When it comes to surviving the Holidays, I would like to give you some advice from my own experience.  Everyone does not have the same journey as me, but I can relate to others who have Bipolar Disorder.


Here are my ideas in random order:


1) Avoid ALL Triggers


You know that stress is a trigger of the illness already.  Even if you are stable and in a good spot, I suggest avoiding all your known triggers.  If your family happens to be the trigger, stay away from them.  This may cause some strife among your family members.  Just remember that ultimately, your overall health and stability is more important than trying to wing it for a day.


2) Avoid Alcohol


This one is self-evident, but alcohol will only intensify the negative going around you.  Alcohol is a depressant.  Giving a mood-altering substance to someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder can have horrible consequences.  Most of the psychotropic medications we take have the warning to stay away from alcohol when taking them.


3) Maintain Your Daily Self-care


A structured daily routine is huge when it comes to maintaining stability.  Focus on your daily routine and specific ways to keep healthy.


Make sure to:



-Eat Right

-Drink Enough Water

-Get Enough Sleep


4) Do Not Overeat


Moderation is key to all sweets and food that you are offered. 


Spikes in your insulin level throughout the day can contribute to the instability of your mood.  I’m not going to say do not eat that special Holiday cookie.  Instead, just be smart.  Everything in moderation, right?


5) Focus on Your Mental Health


It is imperative to ALWAYS put your mental health first.  If you are not in the right frame of mind, you will not be able to function.


Do whatever you need to do to create stability.  Keep all your appointments with your psychiatrist and therapist during the Holidays.  Everyone’s schedules deviate from the norm but keep whatever appointments that you make.


The Holidays can be a very trying time, but following these simple 5 ideas will help keep you stabilize.


Do not let what happened to me, happen to you, ok?


Since I now know my triggers, I can keep those triggers out of my life.  I highly suggest that you do the same.


CLICK HERE to find out more concerning relationships and triggers.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article.


Remember to always protect your mental health.  It is an asset that is with you your entire lives.


If you have any questions, comments, or concerns you can e-mail me at


Until next time, take care of yourself! 😊

3 comments on “Surviving the Holidays When You Have Bipolar Disorder

  1. John my pray today for you is that truly this year–holidays–will truly be better than last year!! God Bless–Lv u DAD

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