Specific Wellness Tools

by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D

Every WRAP class that I participate in, I learn something that I didn’t know before, or I am reminded of something that I had long forgotten. Like a broken record (an ancient vinyl artifact used for recording and playing back music), I am always reminding classes where WRAP comes from and how the examples of Wellness Tools that we share with our classes came from groups of people just like the class they are in now. For years I have been saying that each class adds to the body of knowledge behind WRAP, and so from time to time I will share some of the tools that were introduced to me by participants in classes I have co-facilitated.


246I find that there are differences in the strength of Wellness Tools. In my view, a strong Wellness Tool is one that is described specifically, so that you can easily tell exactly what it is and how to use it, so that when you need to use it, you can do so quickly and don’t have to think about it. This really helps when I am having a hard time, times when it is difficult for me to decide what to do or what action to take. I can describe what I mean most easily by using examples. Keep in mind that it is not important to use fewer words or summarize things when describing Wellness Tools—or even in any of your WRAP. The important thing is for you to describe things in a way that you can easily remember what you meant when you refer back to it and can easily take action in your own behalf. You don’t have to worry about whether others can understand as this is only for your use. For instance, I had a Wellness Tool that is “doing something creative”. However, I now realize it is much more useful to me if I list all of the possible creative activities that I enjoy. So now my list looks like this:

Draw a picture using my colored pencils
Do a watercolor painting
Work on a quilt square
Do a Zentangle
Write a poem

When I look at this list, I can easily and quickly pick out something that I want to do, something that will help me feel better or stay feeling well. Another example of a Wellness Tool is “delegating
tasks” or “ask other people to take over my responsibilities”. It would be even more specific, and perhaps more useful if I said:

Ask Frances to care for the dog for two days
Ask my partner to do the cooking for the day
Ask Sam to check e-mails for 3 days and let people know I will get back to them.
Ask Marty or Jen to facilitate a group for me
Ask Tom to postpone my meeting a week

You might list “one on one support” as a tool. To make this an even stronger wellness tool, you might adapt one or more of the following examples:

Do an exchange listening session with Laura
Call one of the people on my supporters list; ask them to listen about a disturbing incident
Ask a supporter to listen while I describe my feelings, and then give me feedback
Ask a supporter to go to the movies with me

An interesting activity to do with a supporter or at a WRAP support group might be to identify a general Wellness Tool like “exercise” and make it more specific by listing the actual type of exercise—things like:

Ride my exercise bike 45 min. watching a DVD
Go for a 30 minute walk
Go to the gym and do my regular routine
Go up and down the stairs 10 times
Swim 20 laps at the pool
Play two rounds of golf

You might want to consider the Wellness Tool “eat well”. To make it more specific you might say:
Eat 3 meals daily, each having a protein, complex carbohydrates, and a little fat.
Avoid sugar, fried foods, heavily salted foods
Eat only until I feel almost full
Avoid eating processed foods
Eat five 1/2 cup servings of vegetables each day
Drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water each day

Being mutually supportive might be listed as a Wellness Tool. To be more specific you might say:

Get together with a friend and take turns listening to each other (exchange listening)
Check in call with Lillian, every Thursday at 2
Attend a meeting of my WRAP support group

I asked for some examples of specific Wellness Tools on my Facebook page (Mary Ellen Copeland-Mental
Health Recovery and WRAP). The replies included:

Thank a person for something nice they’ve done
Make a list of 10 things I am grateful for
Listen to a folk music CD with my IPod
Call someone on my list of supporters to check-in for 10 minutes
Rent a comedy video and watch it with one of my supporters or my partner
Have a reflexology session (these are very relaxing and often less expensive than a massage)
Do my 1/2 hour yoga routine
Crochet an afghan for someone I care about
Workout at the gym for 45 minutes
Walk barefoot in the desert for 20 minutes
Swim for 30 minutes
Take 10 deep breaths
Take my dog for a walk
Go for a 30 minute walk

You can make a Wellness Tool more specific by adding information on the tool at the end of your list of Wellness Tools. For instance, one of my Wellness Tools is follow my Daily Maintenance Plan. I have a copy of that plan at the end of my list of Wellness Tools for easy access. I also keep it online with my “Build Your Own WRAP” program. If you use a binder, you could keep this additional information in the pocket at the front or the back of the binder. You might want to include instructions for relaxation exercises, lists of affirmations, a poem you like to read over and over, or quotes that are particularly meaningful to you. I put an asterisk besides those Wellness Tools where I have included other information that indicates where that information can be found.

I hope you have found this article to be useful. 
Let me know at info@wrapandrecoverybooks.com

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