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Developing a Wellness Toolbox

The first step in developing your own Wellness Recovery Action Plan™, is to develop a Wellness Toolbox. This is a listing of things you have done in the past, or could do, to help yourself stay well; and, things you could do to help yourself feel better when you are not doing well. You will use these "tools" to develop your own WRAP.

Insert several sheets of paper in the front of your binder. List on these sheets the tools, strategies and skills you need to use on a daily basis to keep yourself well, along with those you use frequently or occasionally to help yourself feel better and to relieve troubling symptoms. Include things that you have done in the past, things that you have heard of and thought you might like to try, and things that have been recommended to you by health care providers and other supporters. You can get ideas on other tools from self-help books including those by Mary Ellen Copeland including The Depression Workbook: A Guide to Living With Depression and Manic Depression, and Living Without Depression and Manic Depression: A Guide to Maintaining Mood Stability Depression, The Worry Control Book, Winning Against Relapse, Healing the Trauma of Abuse, The Loneliness Workbook. You can get other ideas from the audio tapes Winning Against Relapse Program and Strategies for Living with Depression and Manic Depression.

The following list includes the tools that are most commonly used to stay well and help relieve symptoms.

Talk to a friend-many people find this to be really helpfulTalk to a health care professionalPeer counseling or exchange listeningFocusing exercisesRelaxation and stress reduction exercisesGuided imageryJournaling--writing in a notebookCreative affirming activitiesExerciseDiet considerationsLight through your eyesExtra restTake time off from home or work responsibilitiesHot packs or cold packsTake medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal supplementsAttend a support groupSee your counselorDo something "normal" like washing your hair, shaving or going to workGet a medication checkGet a second opinionCall a warm or hot lineSurround yourself with people who are positive, affirming and lovingWear something that makes you feel goodLook through old pictures, scrapbooks and photo albumsMake a list of your accomplishmentsSpend ten minutes writing down everything good you can think of about yourselfDo something that makes you laughDo something special for someone elseGet some little things doneRepeat positive affirmationsFocus on and appreciate what is happening right nowTake a warm bathListen to music, make music or sing

Your list of tools could also include things you want to avoid like:

  • alcohol, sugar and caffeine

  • going to bars

  • getting overtired

  • certain people

Refer to these lists as you develop your Wellness Recovery Action Plan™. Keep it in the front of your binder so you can use it whenever you feel you need to revise all or parts of your plan.

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