One of the joys of dealing with unhelpful thinking styles is that I tend to think things are all bad, all of the time, at least from the surface. Due to this belief, my psychologist helped me to develop a wellness plan. It is a simple list of things that I believe prove that I am doing well.
It’s been really helpful in therapy to show me, in black and white, that I am doing better than I think I am. It has been so helpful that I want to share with you some tips on how you can create and utilise your own wellness plan. It’s really simple and will only take a couple of minutes to put together.
- Think back to a time when you felt well. This can be hard when you are in the throes of depression, but this is really important because it will give you the building blocks to your plan. If you are really struggling, get the help of someone who has known you when you are both well and unwell. They may be able to provide some insight into the differences they have noticed.
- Be specific. A wellness plan works best when you set specific, measurable goals. Writing that you have a clean house can be open to interpretation and leave you feeling that you aren’t measuring up. Break the goals down into sections if you need to. For example if you see completing housework regularly as a goal you could break this down into laundry, cooking, dish washing etc.
- Set yourself a minimum achievement. The beauty of a wellness plan is that you don’t have to hit all of the goals to still be well. Set your limit and be realistic about how you are feeling at the time. Sometimes hitting one of the goals can be an achievement and that’s OK.
- Put your wellness plan somewhere you can see it. The wellness plan won’t work if you can’t remember what is on it. You don’t need to stick it on your refrigerator but put it somewhere that you will be able to see it or find it easily. Even emailing yourself a copy so that you have it when you travel is a good idea too.
- Make your goals personal. The goals of the wellness plan have to be things that you see as important or things that you know that you struggle with when you are unwell. These can then help either raise a red flag when you start to slip or to realise that you are doing better than you think. When I become unwell the first things to go are personal hygiene, social interaction and basic cleanliness so those things are on my wellness plan.
- Check in regularly with your wellness plan. My psychologist runs through our plan at the beginning of each session. My initial response to how I am going is generally that I am feeling like I am not travelling well. Going through the goals on the wellness plan usually helps me to notice the areas that do need work and the ones that I am doing better than I give myself credit for. I also find myself doing it mentally when I am feeling a lack of motivation. I use it as a bit of a reassurance that I am doing better than I was.
Have you ever created a wellness plan?
What things do you notice start to slip when you are stressed?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!
We could all take this on board …
Yep, I think it’s something that can help a lot of people.
Great post – this could apply to quite a few thing…not just health (but relationships, maybe even parenting…)
Yeh, you can put anything in your wellness plan that you feel is important to your wellness. My relationships tend to go to the wayside when I am unwell so they are an important part of my wellness plan too.
That’s a fantastic idea Tegan. I think we all need to remind ourselves often that we are doing better than we think most of the time!
Absolutely! It can feel like we aren’t doing well when we only have our own distorted thoughts to measure. That’s why I think it’s helpful to have input from others as well, even if it’s just to tell me to make sure I have gone through my wellness plan.
A Wellness Plan is a great idea! I am currently on a health kick after stress started to get the better of me, I notice when I am tired all the time that somethings gotta give.
Good luck with your health kick. Eating well and exercising definitely help when you are feeling stressed.
Great ideas Tegan and all very doable. The first point is key for me… identifying WHEN I felt ‘well’ and happy.
I think that was hardest for me, because it’s so ‘easy’ to get caught up in the thought that I’ve always been unwell.
I’ve never created one but I really like the idea and think id benefit from having one especially in the throes of raising young children.
Absolutely. It’s a good grounding technique when we feel that we aren’t quite measuring up.
I’m loving all your practical tips lately. All useful for anyone really.
Fabulous. I shared on my blog years ago about e “bad day plan” I was taught during my group time for PPD treatment. As you say, when you are depressed it is hard to remember the best things to do so you plan in advance- notes to self, easy meals you can do for the kids (and permission to just give them baked beans on toast or some cereal every day if necessary), who you can call to talk to etc. xx
That’s a great idea too. I love the permission for an easy dinner as well. Too often us Mums feel guilty when we aren’t cooking a gourmet meal every night.
This sounds like something we could all benefit from. Setting intentions for yourself and making sure you revisit them to keep on track is so important. Thank you for sharing.