At The Network we provide Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) workshops that includes discussing what goes in your “wellness toolbox”. I think this is everyone’s favorite part of creating a self-care or wellness plan – talking about what works for ourselves and hearing what works for others.

So what works for me? It actually changes depending on the circumstances and well, I think there are different categories of tools – some that I really love to do and as an added bonus – they also help me stay well. There are others that I don’t particularly enjoy but they are necessary to staying well. Here are some examples…

Some things I enjoy…  

  • Yoga
  • Snuggling with my dog Boston
  • Taking photos
  • Reading
  • Taking a bath
  • Smells (this sounds weird but essential oils or even just the smell of fresh flowers is comforting to me)

Things I must do to stay well…

  • Exercise (walk, mountain bike, lift weights)
  • Mindfulness/meditation
  • Manage my time wisely

 

Let’s talk about meditation

I try and I try and I am no good. People are all like, “it takes practice”, “there is no wrong way to meditate”, “just try focusing on nothing” – all of these statements are unhelpful and untrue! My brain is not cooperative when it comes to meditation, so I usually do guided meditation – which in my opinion is not really “true” meditation, but I’m pretty hard on myself. Here is what a typical guided meditation session is like for me …

I start off by listening and I’m like “oh this is easy, I can do this” and I’m listening intently tuning out all distractions, I’m following along and yes different thoughts are popping into my head so I’m mentally batting them away. Pretty soon I realize I’m doing it and I’m feeling good, but then I think about the things that I should be doing with my time (cleaning, errands, work) … now I’ve gotten off track and I’m like, “wait… what is she saying?” and I’m annoyed that I’ve gotten distracted and now I’m like “you suck at this, I guess I’ll go do laundry instead”.

And that’s my typical meditation – not productive or beneficial. But I’ll keep trying! Let’s think of this blog as a “how not to do self-care” for Wednesday ☺ And please don’t respond with suggestions on how I should be meditating – it just irritates me and I won’t try them mostly out of spite.

O.k. but seriously now, I do try to stick to the others – tangible things I can do that keep me from isolating, sinking into a depression or succumbing to a manic episode. If I have to pick one that is the most effective I have to say time with my four-legged friend. Just walking in the door after a long day and being greeted with such enthusiasm and joy is enough to erase all of the negativity

Amanda Kearney-Smith

I founded the Network as the Executive Director in 2011 and, before that, I was a program director at Mental Health Colorado. My educational background is in Developmental Psychology, but living with bipolar disorder has drawn me to this work. I'm most passionate about protecting the civil rights and dignity of others. In my free time, I love reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my family here and in Illinois.

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