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Hypomania and mania

Explains hypomania and mania, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Self-care for hypomania and mania

Dealing with hypomania or mania can feel really difficult. But there are lots of things you can try to help manage your moods and look after your wellbeing. 

It might help to try these tips:

Some of us may find these ideas useful, but remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with.

Get to know your moods, triggers and warning signs

Monitor your mood

It can help to keep track of your moods over a period of time. You could try using a mood diary. There are many freely available, such as eMoods. If your mania or hypomania is part of bipolar disorder, you could try Bipolar UK's mood diary.

I believed that I was always right and everyone else was always wrong. I was bubbly and my confidence was really high. At work I would complete tasks simultaneously and felt that the work was way beneath me. I also started spending a lot and would spend almost all my wage.

Understand your triggers 

You might notice that certain types of behaviour, experience or situation can trigger a manic or hypomanic episode. For example, you might find that you often feel your mood changing after a late night.

Understanding these patterns can help you take action to avoid a trigger, or minimise its impact.

Learn your warning signs 

You may notice that there is a pattern to how you feel or behave before an episode. This could include changes in how well you sleep, your appetite, or how you spend money.

Being aware that your mood is starting to change can help you make sure you have support in place. And that you can focus on looking after yourself.

Triggers and warning signs can be different for everyone. It may take a little while to work out what yours are. It can also help to discuss any warning signs with people you trust, so they can help you.

Make a self-management plan

When you are well, make a plan for what you can do if you start getting hypomanic or manic. You could plan how to manage your symptoms and prevent things getting worse.

You might need to try a few ideas to find out what works for you. For example:

  • Make yourself go to bed, even if you don't feel tired
  • Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Try to remember to eat regularly, even if you don't feel like it
  • Avoid stimulating activities
  • Avoid noisy, bright or busy environments and go somewhere quiet and calm
  • Do activities you find calming or soothing
  • Do relaxation or deep breathing exercises
  • Think about how to manage your finances
  • Postpone making major life decisions
  • Avoid situations where you may take part in risky behaviour, such as driving irresponsibly or taking recreational drugs

I have to be careful how much social contact I have - too much can send me high. I have to start saying 'no' to demands.

Take practical steps

Stick to a routine

Having a routine can help you feel calmer if your mood is high. And it can help with feeling more stable in general. Your routine could include:

  • Day-to-day activities, such as when you eat meals and go to sleep
  • Time for relaxation or mindfulness
  • Time for hobbies and social plans
  • Taking any medication at the same time each day – this can also help you manage side effects and make sure that you have a consistent level of medication in your system

Manage stress 

Stress can trigger hypomanic or manic episodes. There are lots of things you can try to make sure you don't get stressed. And there are ways to look after yourself when you do feel stressed.

See our pages on managing stress for more information.

Manage your finances

You might be concerned about how you will manage your finances when you are having a manic or hypomanic episode. You may feel this way especially if you have spent more money than you meant to during a previous episode. 

It may help to ask someone you trust to help you limit your spending during an episode. You might also consider making a lasting power of attorney, to formally appoint someone who can help you manage your finances if you became unwell again. See our pages on lasting power of attorney for information on what this means and whether it might be right for you.

If money worries are affecting your mental health, visit our pages on money and mental health for tips which may help. You can also contact the National Debtline for free, impartial financial advice about debt.

Plan ahead for a crisis 

When you're having a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to let others know what kind of help you need. It might help to make a crisis plan while you are well.

This plan can set out what you would like to happen during a crisis, and how you would like to be treated. See our page on planning for a crisis for more information.

I have an alarm set on my phone so I take my meds at the same time every day.

Look after yourself

Try to manage your sleep

Many of us with hypomania or mania may struggle with sleep during an episode. Having bad sleep could also trigger an episode.

If you can improve your sleep, this can help you keep your mood stable or shorten an episode. Even if you don't feel tired, try going to bed at your usual time. See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more tips.

Think about physical activity

Gentle exercise, like yoga or swimming, can help us relax and manage stress. And higher intensity exercise could help to burn off some energy. But some of us may find that intense exercise can trigger a hypomanic or manic episode, or make an episode worse.

If you want to be more active, try to find a type of exercise that works best for you. This might involve monitoring how your mood responds to different forms of exercise. 

See our pages on physical activity and mental health for more information, including ideas for activities you could try. 

Talk to people you trust

It can help to talk to people you trust about your mental health, how it affects you and how they can support you. These are some ideas you could try:

Talk about how you feel

It can help to talk about your experiences from previous episodes while you're feeling well. This could include discussing what you do and don't find helpful from others.

For example, you might want to say: 'I find it frustrating that you think I'm hypomanic every time I'm happy or have a good day.' Or: 'It's really helpful when you notice I haven't been sleeping much and remind me to get a good night's sleep.'

Involve people in your self-care plan

It may help to involve people you trust when planning how to take care of yourself, and what to do if you're unwell. For example, you could ask if they have seen any patterns or behaviours around the times that you become unwell. This could help you understand your triggers or warning signs.

Or you might already be aware of your warning signs but find it difficult to spot them. You could talk to someone about your warning signs, and ask them to let you know if they see them developing. They may notice things you don't, or be able to suggest strategies that you haven't thought of.

You could talk about what kind of circumstances might mean you need more support. For example, what kind of situation might mean you need to go to hospital.

The hardest thing to explain is the racing thoughts when I'm manic. It's like I've got four brains and they're all on overdrive... it can be scary but also euphoric at the same time.

Try peer support

Making connections with people with similar or shared experiences can help. You could try talking to other people who have experienced hypomania or mania, to share your feelings, experiences and ideas for looking after yourself.

Visit our page on finding peer support to find out how to access peer support. You could also contact Mind's Infoline or a local Mind to see what support there is in your area visit an online peer support community, such as Mind's Side by Side.

If you're seeking peer support online, our pages on keeping yourself safe online have tips for looking after your wellbeing.

Visit a recovery college

It can also help to see if your local area has a recovery college. Recovery colleges offer courses about mental health and recovery in a supportive environment. You can find local providers on the Mind Recovery Net website.

This information was published in March 2023. We will revise it in 2026.

References and bibliography available on request.

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