Wellness planning
Wellness planning

What is a Wellness Plan and why is it important?

A wellness plan is a personal record of the things you can do to keep yourself well; it is how you take care of yourself. Your wellness plan belongs to you, and you decide who you would like to be involved in and who sees it. Being in control is an essential element of Recovery; wellness planning is one way of managing your wellness. The plan can help improve your wellbeing as well as support your personal Recovery. It is derived from the Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP; a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. The WRAP was led by Mary Ellen Copeland and developed in 1997 by people who had experienced severe mental challenges.

As you develop your plan it can become a practical support for your recovery which you refer to daily, as a reminder and guide, and also turn to at times of difficulty. It is designed as an aid for learning about yourself, what helps and what doesn’t, and how to get more control of your life and your experience. It also includes how you might develop a crisis plan, as a means of guiding others on how best to make decisions for you and to take care of you, for those times when your challenges have made it very difficult for you to do this for yourself.

The plan has five fundamental principles:

  • Hope: people who experience mental health challenges get well, stay well and go on to meet their life dreams and goals.
  • Personal responsibility: it's up to you, with the assistance of others, to take action and do what you need to do to keep yourself well.
  • Education: learning all you can about what you are experiencing to make good decisions about all aspects of your life.
  • Self-advocacy: effectively reaching out to others so that you can get what you need at the right time to support your wellness and recovery.
  • Support: while working toward your wellness is up to you, receiving support from others, and giving support to others, will help you feel better and enhance the quality of your life

This plan helps you maintain your wellbeing it’s about making sure you have the right support when you need it.

  • You own the plan and begin to fill it in
  • Consider what is helpful for others to know

Important: this is yours – about you!

Creating my plan

Remember that the wellness plan is a personal recovery tool and embraces and believes that everyone is unique. Everyone has strengths and talents. They can adapt to challenges and goals they want to achieve to make them happy, so there are no right or wrong answers.

There are seven elements to a wellness plan. Remember, the plan (WRAP) is organics and may change over time. It can be written alone or with support from peers, health professionals, family or carers.

1. Wellness tools

Create a list of things that help you get well and stay well.  It can include things you would like to try. These are things that you can do to help yourself feel better when you aren't. Some examples are taking a walk, reading, window shopping, playing with my pet, spending time with family, etc. These should be simple, safe, and inexpensive things you can easily do. Consider things that are important to you.

2. What helps you stay mentally healthy?

What you need to do every day to stay well?  What's your routine?

3. What things might affect your wellbeing?

These are usually external - they might be anniversaries, end of a relationship, feeling judged, teased, financial problems, harassment, yelled out etc. What might you do if you are aware this is happening? Call a friend, contact a health professional etc

4. Are there any early warning signs?

There are times when everybody struggles emotionally or physically. A good self-management technique to prevent the situation from becoming even worse is acknowledging and recognising these signs and taking action.

Early warning signs are subtle internal signs of change that show us that we may need to take action.

5. What support will minimise or help you to manage the impact?

We are all unique and will have different action plans, but it's essential to think of what you might want.

6. What so you need when experiencing a crisis?

Crisis and experiencing a crisis are personal. You are the only one who knows what it feels like for you—planning for it is critical, state what you need, who will provide it, etc. Let family, carers, professionals know what you want and need.

This plan can be just for your own use – it can be shared with others involved in the plan. It is always evolving and will change over time whenever you have new ideas or information.

Things to consider:

Supporters

  • List those people you want to take over for you when the challenges you listed above are obvious.
  • They can be family members, friends or health care professionals. You may want to name some people for certain tasks like taking care of the children or paying the bills and others for tasks like staying with you and taking you to health care appointments.
    These are my supporters include your connection and contact details (phone number):
  • There may be health care professionals or family members that have made decisions that were not what you wanted. They could mistakenly get involved if you do not include the following:
  • I do not want the following people involved in any way in my care or treatment:

Settling disagreements between supporters

Sometimes your supporters may have different opinions on what should happen. It would be helpful if you describe how, you want possible disagreements between them settled, you may want a particular named person, or that a majority need to agree, etc.

When my supporters disagree amongst themselves, this is how I would like the dispute settled:

Support, care and treatments

  • List the medications you are currently taking and why you are taking them. Include the name of who prescribes them.
  • List those medications you would prefer to take if medication or additional medications became necessary, and why you would choose those
  • List those medications that must be avoided and give reasons
  • List other support, care and treatments that help you and when they should be used:
  • List treatments you would want to avoid, and why:

Alternatives to being in hospital: staying at home or using other safe places

Set up a plan so that you can stay at home or somewhere you choose and still get the care you need.  If it becomes necessary to have care and treatment somewhere or to attend hospital, where would you prefer to be?

List places you want to avoid and why

Help from others

  • List those things that others can do for you when you are experiencing a crisis.  
  • This is what helps me:
  • List those things you need others to do for you and who you want to do what:

If I am in danger.

If my behaviour endangers me or others, I want my supporters to:

7. What do you need after experiencing a crisis?

Again, it is very important to consider what immediate support you need and who will provide it. Let family, carers, professionals know what you want and need. Relook at your plan and make changes to it as a result of your learning.

On a final note: this plan is yours – how you create it belongs to you.

More resources

Mental health and wellbeing at work

This plan helps you maintain your wellbeing at work – it’s about making sure you have the right support to do your job well and for you to feel fulfilled and valued. It helps with performance and self-esteem.

Some courses that may help to reduce stress and anxiety around work include:Understanding Stress, Understanding anxiety, Employment and self-mangement and the pros and cons of telling your empoyers about your health needs. Click below to find out more about these courses.

Back to my account

Click here to go back to your account, where you can view your courses and more student only resources.

What is recovery?

What does personal recovery mean, and why is it so important?

Read about recovery, why it’s important and how a recovery college can help you with your mental wellbeing.

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