5 KEY CONCEPTS FOR WELLNESS & RECOVERY
This is the beginning of a series of articles about the W.R.A.P. (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) self-management system.
Each of us has their own definition of wellness. Utilizing wellness tools can support you in achieving wellness. The first part of writing a W.R.A.P. is to make a long list of wellness tools. I have over 200 items on my personal wellness tools list. Wellness tools are those things that you do, have or partake in that creates wellness in your life. They are things that you enjoy doing or the things that you do because there is a substantial payoff. Wellness tools feel good while I am doing them and I feel good the next day that I did them because they contribute to enabling wellness in my life. Coping strategies may help me get by in the moment but I might not be pleased with myself the next day that I resorted to that way of coping instead of choosing a tool that would create long term wellness in my life. All wellness tools are coping skills but not all coping skills are contributing to my wellness. Such as drinking a bottle of vodka might help one to numb out in the moment but the next day might not feel too well making.
The wellness tool list can include doing things like watching movies or TV, hobbies such as creating art, being in nature, daily hygiene, and listening to music. I like to plan my calendar so that I don’t have too much on my schedule to feel comfortable. I enjoy listening to funny podcasts as I walk my dog. I like to keep my house tidy so that I can find what I need easily.
The wellness tools list can also include things you utilize for your comfort or that you own. Some examples would be keeping my cell phone nearby, putting my car keys in the same place on the hook by the front door, using straws that encourage me to drink more water, keeping my reading glasses nearby and having a GPS in my car.
Some wellness tools can be diversionary activities that draw my attention away from uncomfortable feelings. For me, that might include washing some dishes, straightening up my art supplies and petting my dog.
Some wellness tools are for the sake of my wellness even though they may not be that enjoyable like taking my vitamins, getting yearly checkups, paying bills on time and keeping up on my car maintenance.
Some wellness tools that help me to get grounded again are taking some deep, belly breaths slowly, being mindful in this present moment, doing the Superman Pose or taking a moment to acknowledge some things that I appreciate.
Some of my fun wellness tools include going kayaking with my husband and dog on a smooth river listening to the sounds of nature, eating an ice cream cone, creating some inspiring art banners, catching up on a favorite TV show, getting a massage or talking with my kids on the phone.
Just as important to knowing what wellness tools help my wellness, it is equally important to realize those people, places and things to avoid in order to increase wellness in my life. For me, these include avoiding: too much TV news, cigarette smoke, high pitch noises and dusty areas. I also stay away from certain negative people, certain TV shows and certain foods. I avoid overbooking my day and trying to do too many things at one time.
Knowing what wellness tools to utilize and what triggers to avoid helps me to be my best. I want to keep increasing wellness in my life so I do whatever it takes to feel my best. In keeping with the W.R.A.P. 5 Key Concepts for Wellness and Recovery, I keep Hope, I take Personal Responsibility for my health and actions, I Educate myself on what works for me, I Self-Advocate to get my needs met and I access the Support that I need to achieve wellness in my life which includes paid and unpaid supporters.