Bipolar Disorder · mental health · Wellness

Everyone Needs A Wellness Plan

Recently, I had a good friend of mine experience a crisis. He was on the path of destruction and I didn’t know what to do. In order to help him in his recovery, I thought it would be really good idea to help him make a wellness and crisis plan. A wellness plan is awesome for everyone but especially the mentally ill because we usually have to have a handle on life in able to enjoy it. I can tell you that for years I just took my  medication as directed and saw my psychiatrist whenever she scheduled me. I did not have a handle on my illness or my life. A couple of months before my husband came into my life (about 7 years after my diagnoses) I decided I had had enough. With the help of my husband and family I started taking hold of my illness and my life. I am now happier than I have ever been. I still struggle and I still suffer but it isn’t near as bad as it used to be. Here is the plan that I concocted with the help of a few websites**

 

Daily Checklist:

  1. Eat 3 healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks that include whole grains, veggies, and smaller portions of protein  
  2. Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water
  3. Get to bed by 10:00 p.m. (or at a good regular time for you)
  4. Get outdoor light for at least 30 minutes
  5. Doing something you enjoy for at least 30 minutes
  6. Exercise
  7. Do relaxation exercises like Yoga, meditate, or write in a journal for at least 15 minutes
  8. Talk to a friend
  9. Take prescribed medications & any vitamins/supplements
  10. Check in with yourself: “How am I doing physically, emotionally, spiritually?”  
  11. Go to work if it’s a workday

 

Create your Personal Wellness Plan

Assess your current physical wellness: Physical wellness encompasses nutrition and physical fitness. Physical wellness also includes your medical wellness. Good medical wellness includes health-promoting medical practices like getting regular medical check-ups and preventative healthcare. It involves avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol and drug use.  

Assess your level of nutritional wellness: Nutritional wellness has to do with how well nourished and supported your body is.

Assess your level of mental wellness: Mental wellness is how you cope with difficult situations and how well your emotions are balanced.

Assess your level of spiritual wellness: Spiritual wellness isn’t about religion or personal faith. It means that you can find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace in your life.

Assess your level of emotional and relationship wellness: Emotional and relationship wellness is how well you are aware of, accepting of, and able to deal with your feelings and the feelings of those around you. Healthy emotional and relationship wellness makes you feel more supported. Lack of emotional wellness can zap your energy and happiness.

Assess your level of intellectual wellness: Learning, problem solving and mental productivity are important aspects of intellectual wellness.

Assess your level of social wellness: Social wellness is how you see your place in the world and in society and how you adjust to your role in society.

Assess your level of occupational wellness: Occupational wellness stresses the importance of having a positive attitude towards work, as well as having a rewarding and enriching career.

Assess your level of financial wellness: Financial wellness is your sense of financial stability and health.

Assess your level of environmental wellness: This aspect of wellness relates to your level of environmental consciousness.

 

Create Your Personal Wellness Action Plan

Identify areas that could use improvement: Be honest with yourself about how satisfied you feel in each areas of wellness. That way you can create a plan to meet your needs.

  • Give each area a ranking from 1-10, with 1 being the poorest and 10 being the best. From this, you can determine which area needs the attention. Remember, each area relates to each other, so you won’t necessarily benefit from focusing all of your attention on one area.

Set goals: Once you identify the area or areas that you feel you need to work on, begin setting your goals.

  • Write down specific goals you want to accomplish in each area. Create achievable short-term goals that will move you towards larger long-term goals.
  • Make sure your long-term goals are also reasonable and doable.
  • Be patient with yourself. Change will not take place overnight, and it usually isn’t very easy. But it is doable, so don’t get discouraged.

 

Making Your Physical Wellness Goals

  • Speak to your physician if you are overweight or have a significant medical history of heart disease, respiratory disease, arthritis, or other serious medical condition. Your physician can help you set safe, reasonable goals.
  • Get a physical evaluation at a local gym.
  • Start by walking more often. Park your car further away from an entrance. Take the stairs instead of elevators/escalators. Take your dog for a walk around the block.
  • Make sure the physical activity you choose is something you like to do. If you like the activity, you are much more likely to keep doing it.
  • Start slowly and gently, increasing your activity level when you feel ready and able.
  • Be patient and try a low-impact activity first like yoga or tai chi. These ancient physical (and spiritual) exercises can improve health, reduce stress, reduce pain, and improve strength and balance.

Making Your Nutritional Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your current diet and how well it is serving your health.Eat food that is as close to its natural form as possible.
  • Increase the amount of water you drink.
  • Give yourself 30 days on a new plan to form a habit and evaluate the effects.

Making Your Mental Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your present mental wellness.
  • Set aside time to quietly relax each day.
  • Take a walk when you feel distressed.
  • Set aside time to do relaxing activities you enjoy like reading, gardening, watching movies, etc.
  • Learn and use deep breathing techniques.
  • Practice positive affirmations.

Making Your Spiritual Wellness Goals

  • Consider your current level of spiritual wellness.
  • Learn and use deep breathing techniques.
  • Meditate for a short period a few days a week.
  • Practice relaxing exercises like Yoga or Tai Chi.
  • Remind yourself to stay calm.

Making Your Emotional & Relationship Goals

  • Evaluate your present relationships, stress level, self-esteem, and life outlook.

Making Your Intellectual Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your level of intellectual wellness. Are you intellectually stimulated by your life, or are you bored? Do you have sufficient creative outlets?

Making Your Social Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your level of social wellness. Are you secure and confident in your social roles? Are you able to easily take up new and different social roles?

Making Your Occupational Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your level of occupational wellness. Do you feel engaged by your work and career? Do you feel appreciated and enriched by your work?

Making Your Financial Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your level of financial wellness. Are you living within your means? Are you financially secure for the future? Do you have and keep a budget?

Making Your Environmental Wellness Goals

  • Evaluate your level of environmental wellness. Do you get fresh air, fresh water, and sunshine? Do you take time to appreciate it?

 

Keep track of your progress  Make up a chart or a journal in which you can outline each area of personal wellness and the goals for each.

  • Set aside a calendar designated for tracking your progress. Mark important dates and checkpoints so that you can see your progress. There are lots of free apps like MyFitnessPal and Optimism that you can track your progress.

Get support Having the support of others can be crucial to maintaining your motivation. Supporters can hold you accountable, encourage, and maybe even join you in your efforts.

  • Get professional help and advice where needed.
  • If you are looking for financial stability, talk to a financial advisor.
  • Join support groups that address whatever area(s) you might need encouragement in.
  • Start a “buddy system” with a friend, spouse, or relative for various aspects of your wellness plan.

 

Crisis Action Plan

 

Make a Crisis Action Plan for all your supporters. They need to know what to do in a crisis, especially if you cannot communicate what you want. It’s best to have at least five people on your list of supporters. If you have only one or two, when they go on vacation or are sick, they might not be available when you really need them. If you don’t have that many supporters now, you may need to work on developing new and/or closer relationships with people.

Things to include in your action plan

  • Make a list of your physician, pharmacist, and other health care providers along with phone numbers.
  • Make a list of your supporters, including phone numbers so they can contact each other if you cannot.
  • Make a list of medications you are currently using, including dosage and why you are using them. Include medications that should be avoided-like those you are allergic to or conflict with another medication. Also list any vitamins, herbs, alternative medications (such as homeopathic remedies), and supplements you are taking.
  • Designate your treatment facilities
  • Describe what your supporters can do that will help you feel better

 

** Websites used to create this wellness/crisis plan 

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Wellness-Plan

https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA-3720/SMA-3720.pdf

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