Friday, 3 November 2017

How to develop your own Wellness Plan!

Accepting chronic illness is hard and most people fight against it. I spent two decades fighting against my diagnosis! However...

I have found that since reaching the point of acceptance, I have actually enhanced my recovery journey. You see, I've always been 'recovering' but I never really embraced the journey - especially in my teens & twenties. I wanted my illness to fit around my lifestyle, not the other way around. I was stubborn & dogmatic. I was a victim, not a warrior. I fought against it so much as I tried to work 12/15 hour shifts or 80/90 hour weeks (which is hard enough for any relatively healthy person) and partied til the small hours in my down time. I was never able but I didn't want to be different from the rest of my peers, so I did those things anyway and suffered the consequences in private. 

After the birth of my daughter, my body broke down. After my last term in full-time employment and with a family to look after (and other high-stress familial factors that happened alongside that) I finally broke down and burned out. It started with a slow sizzle (first signs were evident during the summer of 2015) and then.... BOOM! Crashed and burned, baby. Big style.

What I've learned over the last two decades though is that there really isn't any point in fighting against chronic illness but you can learn to live with it (although if you're anything like me, you might spend a couple of decades bashing that idea against a brick wall first). 

The point where everything changed for me was when I finally accepted that I really need to maintain a healthy life/work/self-care balance as much as possible. 

One of the things that I had to do for educational purposes was to create my own personal wellness plan. I've done these for other people before in the form of care plans and used templates like the well-being wheel for instance (along with other tools & resources), but creating my own one was much harder! I'm happy to share this with you if it can help to inspire you in any way so that you can create your own version. 

#wellnesswednesday ➡️ This week I've been 'putting everything together' healthwise (swipe for more pics!) 🌸 I thought it was time to look at my health & wellbeing from an overall perspective... so, I made up a balance goals /progress wheel (which is like the #wellnesswheel meets #level10life, using the eight dimensions of health model) 🌸 It was actually really interesting to see this on paper, the areas I'm doing well in & the areas I still have to work on ☄ E.g. I thought I needed to work more on my physical health when actually it's the area I'm doing best in! 💪 These are my overall goals but each area of wellbeing also has three short-term goals & three long-term goals (not shown) which is how I work out each area on the wheel 🌸 Totally recommended setting one of these up if you haven't already done so! #happywednesday 😘 💖💙💚💛💜
A post shared by LifeOfDana (@hearty_habits) on

Before you begin, consider the following things:

(1)  What is your motivation?
(2)  How are you going to track your progress?
(3)  What are your short-term/long-term rewards?

For me, this can be summed up as:

(1) Motivation: 
  • Children / family 
  • To feel motivated and mindfully energetic on a daily basis 
  • To remember who I was before I married/had kids/career/became chronically ill

(2) Progress Tracker: 
  • To be recorded in my personal journal using tracking systems 

(3) Rewards: 
  • Short Term: No monetary rewards - I will simply have peace of mind from completing each short term goal & motivation to continue towards achievement of long term goals 
  • Long Term: Again – no monetary rewards. Simply want to achieve goals, gain clarity, be debt free and lead a more balanced life

Anyway, that's my version, your's will no doubt be different! 

Here's what I went with (circa 2017) to give you an example and help you on your way to creating your own plan:

(1)  Physical Wellness 

  • Increase fitness levels 
  • Improve sleep pattern 
  • Improve energy levels 
Short Term:  
  • Practise yoga daily at home along with 15-30 minute walks as able 
  • Switch off electronic devices an hour before going to bed. Read for half an hour – develop a peaceful bedtime routine. Utilise app on android phone for calming meditation (sleep stories) before bed. Declutter bedroom & make sure it's cooler & darker. Avoid heavy meals before bedtime and consume herbal teas that aid sleep. E.g. chamomile 
  • If energy levels are down, try quick bursts of exercise for one-seven minutes (again, utilise app on android phone) - keep hydrated 
Long Term: 
  • Join a local yoga/pilates class – walking there and back to and from the house as and when able
  • Invest in a natural light wake up alarm. E.g. Lumie Body Clock Starter 
  • Improve nutritional levels by increasing protein and carbohydrates during early recovery process from flares plus increasing vitamins/minerals/antioxidants/omega 3 fatty acids. Improve fitness levels and sleep habits to increase energy levels overall 

(2)  Emotional Wellness 

  • Maintain low anxiety levels (keep them low and try to eliminate) 
  • Increase self-esteem 
  • Find time for self care / 'me time' 
Short Term: 
  • Maintain daily breathing and visualisation exercises. Practice negative thought stopping daily 
  • Create a self-esteem tracker & practice positive affirmations daily 
  • Small steps – make an effort to take a bath when the children are in bed. Spend half an hour journaling each night (also part of bedtime routine). Say yes to meeting up with friends for an hour to catch up and have a cup of tea. Practice meditation daily 
Long Term: 
  • To feel safe in supermarkets and crowded streets (eliminating connection to where the panic attacks first occurred) 
  • Raise insight into the origins and current sources of low self-esteem. Learn to accept compliments 
  • Make time for leisure to increase overall well-being 

(3)  Mental Wellness: 

  • Increase creativity  
  • Increase concentration 
  • Promote brain health 
Short Term: 
  • Maintain art journaling and writing (also linking to 'me time') but practice daily 
  • Use Pomodoro technique to focus on tasks in short bursts (especially when studying) and learn more time management skills. Write down any 'mental clutter' as it enters my head and look to deal with it at another appropriate time. Maintain comfortable environment 
  • Increase fitness/nutrition/creativity/sleep/stress management levels as per previously noted goals – maintain hydration, crucial for brain function 
Long Term: 
  • Start a creative support group for future clients with long term health conditions 
  • Focus on the 'right' things at the right time – cultivate three pillars of patience, passion & self-discipline – keep stress levels low 
  • Factors from short term goals to contribute to overall change of lifestyle 

(4)  Social Wellness 

  • To continuously maintain & improve relationship with Husband 
  • Become more engaged in community development
  • Participate in a volunteer program 
Short Term: 
  • Spend quality time together away from the house/children once night each month 
  • Network with local non-profits 
  • Speak to local charities to ascertain what kind of help they need and distinguish whether I am a good fit for those charities 
Long Term: 
  • Yearly review of each other's personal goals & our joint goals 
  • Set up community outreach well-being meetings for local practitioners re networking & support 
  • Join volunteer program that fits my skills to practice, learn and grow 

(5)  Wellness Of The Spirit 

  • Gain a sense of inner calm 
  • Express gratitude 
  • Feel more connected to nature 
Short Term: 
  • Continue to practice daily meditation. Practice yoga at home 
  • Make a mindfulness appreciation tracker 
  • Spend more time outdoors – practice mindfulness – daily - no set time limit 
Long Term: 
  • Hold mindfulness based stress reduction course locally for future clients 
  • Teach others how to make a mindfulness appreciation tracker 
  • Create walking support group for future clients 

(6)  Financial Wellness 

  • Manage money on a one-wage family budget 
  • Plan action steps to better live within our means 
  • Clear outstanding debts 
Short Term: 
  • Speak to children regarding spending habits as a united front & stick to budget plan 
  • Create monthly direct debit tracker and record monthly spends 
  • Create overdraft tracker, then credit card tracker 
Long Term: 
  • Maintain budget until a change of circumstances occurs, then reassess 
  • Eliminate non-essential direct debits as they are paid off 
  • Lower overdraft on a monthly basis until it is paid off, then do the same with credit cards 

(7)  Occupational Wellness 

  • Reach harmonious fit between what I do/feel called to do 
  • Maintain work/life balance 
  • Make sure work environment is in line with my values 
Short Term: 
  • Leave employment (goal completed – March 2017) & study further continued development courses 
  • Study within children's school hours and take weekends off. Put children to relatives twice a week during holidays but be there for them the other days of the week 
  • Pitch to local community charities, social work, education, hospital, health centres 
Long Term: 
  • Become self-employed so that my goals further fit that of the client as per the whole point of holistic approach/person centred care and gain work as a sessional therapist/nurse coach 
  • Establish holistic health practitioner/coach (RN) practice locally in liaison with local non-profits. Network. Collaborate. Consider online avenues (would need to ensure high internet speed)
  • Maintain ethics and values – adhering to professional bodies, research/practice based evidence & most importantly – public/client feedback 

(8)  Quality Of Life Wellness 

  • Find my inner child 
  • Live in a more comfortable environment 
  • Feel well and able to conquer each day 
Short Term: 
  • Take time to be creative daily - art/journaling/writing/poetry 
  • Minimalise household contents 
  • Small steps from each of the wellness goals previously mentioned 
Long Term: 
  • Teach creative skills to future clients as a source of support 
  • As financially available, purchase household contents to fit purpose 
  • Overall change in lifestyle and attitude 

So, that's basically it - feel free to check in with me on Instagram to follow the journey!

P.S. Grab your own blank personal wellness plan worksheets! 

Just follow this blog by entering your email address in the sidebar widget to receive a PDF file where you will be able to create your own unique version. Connect with me on Instagram @hearty_habits so that we can support each other & form a community! <3

#selfcareisnotselfish #balanceiskey

#youcandothis #believeinyourself #youarenotalone


D x

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