I find that the “power of small changes” is enormous. That even on the most stressful day, if I develop or use wellness tools that are just little changes — like tea instead of coffee; driving a different way and paying attention to the difference in the scenery; picking one thing to look at for a day — like the shapes of trees, automobiles, looking at architecture, or colors — their vibrancy, the way they look together, thinking about my favorite and least favorite colors, etc. (this one is really fun and can lead to some playful creativity like playing with crayons or fingerpaints!)
Which reminds me of one of the most fun days I ever had. It came at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious about getting everything done. I decided to have a “Wellness Tool Day” and I made a list the night before of lots of wellness tools that didn’t take a lot of time. Then I interspersed those, and others I made up along the way, all day long. It didn’t seem to take that much extra time, and they energized me all day long. My “Wellness Tool Day” also empowered me and was really fun. I got everything done I wanted to do and more! It was a fun challenge to get in a quick walk, a cup of fun tea, a call to a dear friend, a healthy snack, 15 minutes with a favorite book, etc. I actually feel empowered when I think of that day and know that any time I want, I can create another “Wellness Tool Day”!
One thing that I think is most important, whether you are a stressed-out college student, a peer, or supporter, is the value of fun and creativity. They bring a sense of well-being, energy, and even hopefulness. Wellness tools are very often fun and creative. I think it is very important for us to do ourselves the favor of accumulating as many different kinds of wellness tools as possible. Having a really terrific Wellness Toolbox is essential to the whole dynamic of WRAP. And it is a good idea to be on the lookout for new wellness tools every day and to develop the ability to create wellness tools on the spot to fit the situation. For example, if it’s raining outside and your picnic is ruined — spread that red and white tablecloth on the living room floor, put on some fun music and have a great time. Any time we are thwarted, we can use existing wellness tools, or use our creativity to come up
with brand new and powerful tools!
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.