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Wellbeing Wednesday – 30 March 2022

Jane Fowler

Jane Fowler – Head of Customer Support Services

Hello and welcome, on this sunny day, to Wellbeing Wednesday. With longer evenings and this good, dry weather, the gloom of winter feels as if it is falling away at last!  So why not take advantage of it and get out for a walk in step with all those others who will be Taking a Walk in the Park (or out in the countryside – we have more of that here than we do parks…)

Also today we have information for you about Bi-Polar day and about this condition that is often misunderstood. As with many of the issues that we explore in WBW, the more you know about a particular condition, the more able you are to access support or understanding – for yourself, your colleagues, friends or family.

And finally (only if you are interested) my own wellbeing reading is being taken over now by gardening – browsing seed catalogues and reading about growing vegetables J (although I did borrow a new crime novel from my dad at the weekend – update next week)

Take care as always!

Take a Walk in the Park Day

With the clocks going forward this weekend, this a perfect time to highlight Take a Walk in the Park Day which is celebrated annually on March 30 and is a great way for all of us to invest in our health without spending any money!  Who doesn’t like spending some quiet time in nature? All you have to do is wear some comfortable shoes, find a walking partner (or not), and go for a peaceful walk in one of your preferred parks, gardens or outdoor spaces.  

We could not live in a more beautiful part of the world to get out and enjoy the wonderful scenery and clean, fresh air, so why not make the effort to get outside now that spring is on the doorstep.  Taking a leisurely stroll outdoors is a fantastic way to clear your mind of everyday worries and appreciate the natural beauty around you.  According to studies, walking about 30 minutes a day helps burn calories and normalise blood pressure, as well as lowering the risk of certain health conditions.

Did you know?

  • Greenland’s National Park is the largest in the world.​ It covers an area of 604,000 miles and has 40 inhabitants and High Arctic animal species. 
  • Public gardens and parks have existed since at least the 16th century. One of the world’s oldest public gardens is the Alameda de Hércules in Seville, Spain.
  • The top five cities with the highest percentage of public green space are Moscow, Singapore, Sydney, Vienna, and Shenzhen.

 

Evening walks help relax after a stressful day, while morning walks give an energy boost to start your day. A leisurely stroll through a park or gardens during your lunch break will clear your mind and help you get through the rest of the day. Some people come up with the best ideas during walks because a change of environment boosts creative thinking (and a picturesque park is definitely more inspiring than a stuffy office).

How to celebrate National Take a Walk in the Park Day? Well, it’s a no-brainer. Put on your most comfortable shoes and walk around your local park. You can ask a friend to join you or enjoy the solitude and just listen to the birds, or you can of course take your furry friends with you. If you feel like you’re getting tired, take a break, sit on a bench, listen to some music, read a book or just enjoy the view!

World Bi-Polar Day – March 30

World Bipolar Day takes place every year on March 30 to raise awareness of this condition and to encourage people to talk more about mental health.

If you have a social media account you can use the hashtag today on #worldbipolarday and support people talking about mental health matters.

What is bipolar disorder? 

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition which causes extreme mood changes. This swing from one emotion to another is also known as manic depression.

People can experience feelings of hopelessness (depression) to intense energy or euphoria (hypomania)–all in the space of one episode.

The spontaneous nature of the condition makes maintaining relationships difficult–both in professional and personal life and can make working full-time more challenging.

What are the signs of bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is different for everyone who experiences it; and episodes can last for weeks, even months.

Despite having a range of signs, we can categorise bipolar disorder into two types of episodes: depression and mania.

Depression

In common cases, people receive an early diagnosis for depression long before bipolar disorder. When someone goes through an episode of depression, they may feel:

  • Emptiness and hopelessness.
  • Reduced appetite or eating too much.
  • Low levels of self-esteem.
  • Social anxiety and withdrawal.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Hypomania and mania 

Hypomania is the milder form, which doesn’t usually last long and has lower impacts on a person’s functionality.

Mania involves feeling high or extreme emotions, both positive and negative. Some of the most common symptoms of mania include:

  • Feeling euphoric or excited.
  • Having high energy levels.
  • Speaking fast.
  • Being easily distracted or irritated.
  • Acting out of character.
  • Feeling confident and invincible.
  • Spending large amounts of money

What causes bipolar disorder?

We don’t exactly know what specifically causes bipolar disorder. But there are several things which may lead to its development. These include:

  • Stressful or traumatic events.
  • Genetic history.
  • Chemical or intoxicant factors.

Bipolar disorder affects 1 in every 100 individuals; and people can be diagnosed at any stage of their life. 

It’s commonly found in people between the ages of 15 and 40 and gender, race, and ethnicity don’t play a huge defining factor either.

Different types of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed into different types. These are determined by mood, episodes, symptoms, and effects. The different types include:

  • Bipolar 1: Causes manic and depressive episodes which can last longer than a week.
  • Bipolar 2: Causes milder mood swings (hypomania).
  • Cyclothymia: Causes hypomania and depressive states which can last for years. (This can develop into Bipolar 1 and 2).
  • Rapid cycling: Causes rapid mood swings, sometimes without warning or means to stop.
  • Bipolar with mixed features: Causes mania, hypomania, and depression simultaneously.

How to support some with Bipolar Disorder

People with health conditions (especially mental health) often suffer in silence. So, it’s important to keep open channels of communication and encourage them to feel comfortable talking about their condition if they wish to do so.  However, everyone will experience things differently and not all those affected by the disorder will see it as an “illness”.  Indeed, many artistic and creative people feel the energy and euphoria they experience during a manic phase is an essential element in their creativity and originality. 

It is important to see the person and not the disorder.  Below are some quotes from the mental health charity Mind from those diagnosed as bi-polar:

“The term bipolar can be a little bit misleading actually, because I don’t think there are just always two poles of being depressed and being manic.”

“What helps me the most is the ongoing realisation and acceptance that the way in which my bipolar disorder manifests itself, and the symptoms I display, are not personality traits or ‘bad behaviour’.”

You can find out more at:

Overview – Bipolar disorder – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

What is bipolar disorder? – Mind

Thanks for reading and, as ever, keep in touch with us at wellbeing@argyll-bute.gov.uk