Self-Care for Borderline Personality Disorder

Self-Care Can Help Manage your Symptoms

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If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you may have a hard time taking good care of yourself in a healthy way. But regular self-care can help manage your symptoms.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care includes activities that promote your health, joy and relaxation. Self-care can mean anything from getting a manicure to help you de-stress to ensuring you get a solid eight hours of sleep every night.

Some of the most common routines include regular exercise, nutritious meals, taking medications as prescribed and managing your stress in healthy ways.

Why Is Self-Care Important for People With BPD?

In general, people who take better care of themselves tend to have fewer physical and mental health problems, so self-care is important for everyone. But, for those with BPD, self-care is particularly important. This is because many of the symptoms of BPD are can be exacerbated if you neglect taking care of yourself.

For example, have you ever noticed that you tend to have much stronger emotional reactions when you are overtired or hungry? Or that you are more likely to engage in impulsive behaviors when you are under stress? Good self-care can help to reduce mood changes like impulsive behavior and irritability, the hallmark symptoms of BPD.

Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Sleep is one of the most important areas of self-care that many people overlook.

Without sufficient, uninterrupted sleep, the symptoms of BPD can become much worse due to exhaustion. Learn more about sleep hygiene and how to practice good sleep hygiene to give yourself refreshing rest.

Nourishing Yourself

Diet is also incredibly important for people with BPD. Eating regular and nutritious meals and avoiding overeating or eating junk food can have a major impact on symptoms and mood.

Learn more about how to improve your diet and about eating disorders that frequently occur in people with BPD:

Getting the Physical Activity You Need

The connection between our minds and our bodies is significant. This is why many scientists are now studying the impact of exercise on mental health; preliminary research shows that exercise can have a dramatic impact on mental health.

People with BPD are less likely to take good care of their physical health and are more likely to have a variety of conditions that are related to an inactive, lifestyle. By staying on a regular schedule that includes daily exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming, you can help manage your symptoms. Learn more about the connection between BPD and physical health and how to get active for better mental health:

Taking Your Medications As Prescribed

Some people do not think of medication habits as an area of self-care, but it is a critical one.

Many people either forget to take their medications regularly or take more than the prescribed dose. Others decide to make medication changes, including decreasing or increasing the dosage, without talking to their physician. Either way, not taking medication as prescribed is dangerous and unhealthy and can actually worsen your symptoms.

Self-Care and Stress: Learn To Manage Stress In Healthy Ways

Perhaps one of the most important ways to take care of yourself is to learn to manage stress. Stress is not always bad. In fact, studies show that we are at our peak mental health when we are under some, but not too much, stress. But, when stress starts to feel overwhelming, you will need skills to help you manage. Some healthy ways to handle stress include exercise and meditation. Learn more about healthy ways to manage life’s stressors:

Sources:

Chanen AM, Jovev M, Jackson HJ. “Adaptive Functioning and Psychiatric Symptoms in Adolescents with Borderline Personality Disorder.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68:297-306, 2007.

Otto MW, Church TS, Craft LL, Smits JAJ, Trivedi MH, & Greer TL. "Exercise for Mood and Anxiety Disorders." Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68:669-676, 2007.

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