Do you have an emotional resilience and wellbeing plan?
Everyone will experience times in their lives where things don’t work out as they planned. Such is life.
With the best will in the world, there is so much in life that we cannot plan, prepare for, or prevent. We have to find a way to pick ourselves up and move forward after adversity, whatever the cause of your troubles.
It’s all about building resilience, recognising what maintains your emotional wellbeing to help you manage what life throws at you.
Having an emotional resilience plan isn’t about being tough, Teflon-coated or made of steel, imagining that nothing can ever hurt you (that’s Batfink. Remember that cartoon?). It isn’t about getting up straight away after being badly hurt with all your ills healed, as if you are the Terminator.
Like the Terminator, though, with a resilience plan you can find a way to say you will be back.
It’s all about building resilience. Resilience is about finding ways to carry on. Some might say it is about ‘bouncing back’, which it can be – but depending on the person and on the troubles, ‘bouncing back’ may seem unattainable. There are times when crawling, grasping, reaching out is the way forward.
I created my own resilience plan after my breakdown. My dear friend sent me a link to a mental health wellness plan that I used as the basis of my own plan.
You don’t have to have been through a big life event to benefit from creating an emotional resilience or wellbeing plan. We all have just stuff to get through every day – we’d all like more hours in the day, more money left at the end of the month, people to be less annoying, life to be less stressful and busy and hectic, and….well, you know. It’s all stuff that from time to time we wish we could pack up and say goodbye to. While we can tweak our lifestyles to relinquish some of stresses, we can’t dump it all which means we need to find a way to deal with the crap. And that’s where a emotional resilience and wellbeing plan can come in.
Would you like to create your own resilience plan? I’ll share with you some of the things that are in mine. There is no right way or wrong way to write it – my own is an amended version of one I was sent.
In the plan, I ask myself a few questions to serve as reminders and flags to protect my emotional wellbeing. I keep it in my bullet journal (across a double-page spread) so I’ve got it handy to refer to – it’s kind of a living document rather than something that sits in a file on my computer and never gets read.
Grab a notepad and coloured pens, or whatever works for you. Feel free to change the section titles or structure to whatever suits your own needs.
How am I when I am well?
Here I have a few bullet points about how I am when I am doing well – I am motivated, feel positive, bright, and able to cope with most things that come my way.
How am I when I am unwell?
It might feel easy to write the opposite of how you are when you are well, but that is unlikely to be very useful to you. I’ve noted that I feel fractious, short-tempered, and with heightened anxiety
What are my triggers?
A vital part of the plan. I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and there are a range of triggers that I try to avoid, wherever possible. Have a think about what some of your triggers are – you might think of them as stressors, or things that drive you mad. Whatever you want to call them, just write them down.
What goes on in my head?
It doesn’t have to be in perfect English or make much sense – and it can be incredibly cathartic. Be honest – you don’t have to show it to anyone, it can be for your eyes only. What you write may not be a surprise to you, but seeing it written down can feel a bit strange because you are facing it.
What helps me?
If like most people you are knackered, too busy, and skint, you might be thinking of a lottery win, exotic holiday, and live-in help. Those things would all be fabulous, but we need to be realistic.
Instead, think about what helps you feel happy, joyful, positive. Stripping it down to basics, you may find that what helps you are the simple things in life: a walk, good food, a chat with a friend – all things are likely to fall by the wayside when we are busy chasing our own tails. Try to find ways of scheduling the things that help you in to your day. You are worth it, and remember you cannot pour from an empty cup!
What is unhelpful to me?
Just like the earlier point above, this isn’t just about the opposite is what is helpful to you. Have a think about some of the things within your control that you might be able to change – and acknowledge things that are beyond your control.
For example, I’ve written down that getting tired, and feeling out of control are things that are unhelpful to me, and when things can start to unravel. There are practical self-care things I can do to prevent myself getting overtired, but it is not always possible to be in control. Recognising that feeling out of control is an issue to me means that I can prepare myself for situations with a bit of self-care and practising self-compassion when I find things difficult. That doesn’t always work, but we can only try.
The plan isn’t a magic wand, or an amulet against relapse (I’d love if something like that could exist!). It is, though, an invaluable tool to help me reflect, try to keep my life in balance and keep me on the straight and narrow.
Do you have an emotional resilience and wellbeing plan? What would you put in your plan?
If you are interested in building your emotional resilience, and wellbeing you may be interested in wellness coaching. Please visit Bright Mind Spirit to find out more.