Bipolar disorder Pendulum: stories and information Self-management Five self care tips for when you’re going through a low episode 1. Wash your hair It sounds simple, it sounds effortless, but I know when I’m having a low episode, my personal hygiene goes out the window. I stop taking care of myself, and that includes washing my hair. The thought alone when I’m depressed makes me want to cry, the idea of having to wash it and dry it seems so long and time consuming. That being said, when I have done it, I feel so much better. I feel like I have a bit of myself back from the darkness, and washing my hair makes me feel clean. 2. Say no to plans you don’t want to go to Why would you go through something you’re not going to enjoy? Not only will it make you feel terrible, the people around you are bound to notice you’re uncomfortable, and it won’t benefit anybody by saying yes to plans you don’t want to do. Obviously, there are things you can’t say no to, like work, a doctor’s appointment, or a therapy appointment, but that brunch you planned with a friend you don’t really get along with, or that gig you don’t want to go to; it’s okay to say NO. 3. Take your meds! As someone who is very passionate and open about their mental health, taking your medication if you are on them is SO important. I wrote a separate article about the importance of medication, and how we shouldn’t feel ashamed for taking it. I often need reminders in taking mine, what I find helps is setting a daily alarm on my phone, preferably either morning or night, that reminds me to take my meds. Forgetting your medication could lead to an episode, and none of us want that! 4. Clean your room/home Whenever I fall into a depressive episode, I find my apartment piles up with mess. The dishes don’t get done, the washing basket is overflowing, I run out of milk (and I LOVE a cup of tea) and find myself overwhelmed. There is a well-known phrase my mom loves to remind me of, and it goes ‘tidy room, tidy mind’, and it’s true. Being productive, and doing a small task, one at a time, is known to make you feel better. That sense of accomplishment and achievement is so lovely, and even if you do the smallest of tasks, like washing a plate, be proud of yourself. I know how hard it is to do tasks like these, so give yourself some credit! 5. Write a list of things you are thankful for When I am in a depressive episode, I stop realising what I’m thankful for and stop realising what I have to live for, which is so dangerous to a person dealing with a mental illness. Write it down. Hang it up. Remind yourself. Whether it’s something big like your parents, your family, your partner, to something small like you’re thankful for that great bakery across the street for supplying your favourite cake. Size doesn’t matter; if it keeps you happy, it matters. Make a list, as long or as short as you want, and make sure you can see it every day. My list? My parents, my boyfriend, my incredible Grandma, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The best.Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, one of which over one million people in the UK deal with daily. It isn’t easy, far form it, but it is manageable. However, the stigma surrounding mental illness is real. Some people don’t understand mental health, and don’t want to understand, but with the help of charities like Bipolar UK, they are determined to educate people and eradicate the stigma. Your donations play a vital role in ensuring people living with bipolar disorder get the best care and support they need. You can make your pledge of support here. Bipolar disorder isn’t easy, but with your help, and your kindness, we can get the care we need.Thank you. Your donation will help provide a range of services offering the support people need, when they need it. You can make sure there's someone at the end of the phone to listen, a nearby group to share lived experiences, a 24-hour peer forum and more. Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.