Developing a Wellness Toolbox

Do you experience feelings and symptoms that are upsetting, that keep you from being the way you want to be and doing the things you want to do?

Many people who have troubling emotional, psychiatric, or physical symptoms have made great advances in learning how to do things to help themselves get well and stay well. One of the most frustrating stages of recovering your health is when you realize that you can do many things to help yourself stay well but you can’t figure out a way to do them regularly. It is easy to forget simple things that you know, especially when you are under stress or when your symptoms are beginning to flare up.

The action plans for prevention and recovery described in this booklet were devised by people who experience emotional or psychiatric symptoms. They developed ways to deal with their need for structure in their lives that actively support their health. The plans are simple, low-cost, and can be changed and added to over time as you learn more and more. Anyone can develop and use these plans for any kind of health concern.

People using this system report that by being prepared and taking action as necessary, they feel better more often and have improved the overall quality of their lives dramatically. One person said, “Finally, there’s something I can do to help myself.”

Action plans for prevention and recovery work because they:

  • are easy to develop and easy to use
  • are individualized. You develop your plan for yourself. No one else can do it for you; however, you can reach out to others for assistance and support
  • improve your ability to communicate effectively with your family members and health care providers
  • directly address the feelings, symptoms, circumstances, and events that are most troubling to you with plans to respond to them
  • renew your sense of hope that things can and will get better, and that you have control over your life and the way you feel

You can get more ideas for your Wellness Toolbox by noticing the good things you do as you go through your day, by asking your friends and family members for suggestions, and by looking into self-help resource books. Write down everything, from really easily accessible things, like taking deep breaths, to things you only do once in a while, like getting a massage. This is a resource list for you to refer back to when you are developing your plans. Your Wellness Toolbox works best for you if you have enough entries so you feel you have an abundance of choices. Just how many entries you have is up to you. If you feel positive and hopeful when you look at the list, then you have enough. You can continue to refine your Wellness Toolbox over time, adding to your list whenever you get an idea of something you’d like to try, and crossing things off your list if you find they no longer work for you.

Once you’ve gotten your Wellness Toolbox underway, insert it into your notebook. Then, insert your five tabbed dividers, with several sheets of paper after each tab and a supply of paper at the end of the notebook.


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