By Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD & Gina Calhoun

Gina Calhoun, training director for the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery has worked with a group of amazing people with lived experience to develop WRAP for People with 316Developmental Distinctions. She has continued to work with this same group to develop a training curriculum for people who want to facilitate WRAP groups for people with developmental distinctions. She has done an extraordinary job. All of us can benefit from her learning.

The people she has been working with have a great idea about Wellness Tools that I want to share with you. I am going to use this idea myself. They have divided their list of Wellness Tools into two categories. One they call “Wellness Tools I Can Always Count On”. (Some people call these Power Tools but others, thinking of things like power saws and power drills, did not like the designation). The other is a list of tools that work most of the time but not always. That list would be called just “Wellness Tools”.

Gina says, “I have almost 100 Wellness Tools in my personal toolbox…all are important, but some work almost every time I use them. These would be “Wellness Tools I Can Always Count On”. For example, I love rock climbing. I do it every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the gym.  It is an important Wellness Tool in my life; but not a “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On”. When things are Breaking Down for me and my anxiety is making it difficult to focus and sit still-I am unlikely to go to the gym and unable to focus enough to climb safely.

BUT- walking is a “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On”…the left to right physical activity of putting one foot in front of the other seems to balance my left to right brain activity, which gives me a sense of centeredness, focus and peace. So my “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On” is walking (pacing the floor, walking in the woods, etc…). Therefore, When Things are Breaking Down for me, walking is Wellness Tool I am willing and able to use so I include it in my action plans.  I have included specific directions in my plans on how to use it. This is particularly helpful in the “When Things are Breaking Down” (Really Awful) section of my WRAP. My “Wellness I Can Always Count On” is: Do 30 minutes of walking every day until I feel better-options include taking a walk with my spouse in the woods. If my spouse is not available, walk around the neighborhood. If I am unwilling to go outside, pace the floor in my home.

Another “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On” is drinking 12-8 oz glasses of fluids a day (Daily Maintenance List). Due to past medications and a genetic predisposition, I have a kidney disease. I choose not to take the prescribed medications, thus my options are to flood my kidneys every day. It is a do-able, accessible “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On” that I am willing and able to do when feeling fine as well as when in crisis. I am unwilling or unable to use some of my Wellness Tools when Things are Breaking Down or when I encounter a Crisis Situation…but drinking 12, 8 oz glasses of fluids–I stick with…it is a “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On”.

People Gina works with said that they were going to review their list of Wellness Tools and put a gold star sticker beside each Wellness Tool that is a “Wellness Tool I Can Always Count On.” You can buy them where they sell paper and stationary. They are the kind of stickers I looked forward to getting on my school work when I was in elementary school. You could also just draw a star or make some other kind of mark that appeals to you beside each of your “Wellness Tools I Can Always Count On.”

I am going to review my list of Wellness Tools and put gold star stickers in front of those that are Wellness Tools I Can Always Count On.

I would love to get feedback from you on how this idea works for you. Please let us know at or that the Mary Ellen Copeland Facebook page.