This toolbox was developed specifically for service users that attend the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) support group that I run, and is tailored very much to OCD but can be very easily used with a variety of other mental health problems.
What is a Wellness Toolbox?
A wellness toolbox is a folder full of information on what kinds of things will help to keep you well. These things are information about your mental health problem, coping strategies, activities that you enjoy, goals for the future and information on what may trigger anxiety and what to do in times of crisis.
A wellness toolbox is very individual as different people enjoy different things, and people are inherently individual. But what a toolbox like this can offer you is a snap shot of things to draw upon for the times when we feel we may be unwell or becoming unwell, and having a resources file to draw upon can help us to focus more.
Knowledge is Power
As part of your wellness toolbox, it is useful if you can gather information all about what you are experiencing, about your mental health problem and anxiety.
You may even wish to write about your positive experiences, your achievements and goals for the future (hierarchy of fear, life goals etc…). When goal planning, it is always useful to imagine a long term goal, but to break that down into small and achievable steps in order to meet it in the future.
Knowledge is the key to understanding OCD and by doing this, it can help you realise that it is not only you who is experiencing these thoughts, images, impulses, urges or doubts, especially in the times when you are alone.
It is always useful to have a few resources at hand for times when you feel anxiety creeping upon you, or when you need to wind down.
- Going to the gym
- Walking the dog
- Reading a book
- Spending time with family
- Writing a journal/creative writing
- Getting rest and relaxation/stress reduction exercises
- Listen to music
- Speak to my doctor/therapist
- A list of social networks for support
It is crucial to understand the things that can trigger OCD and anxiety, and being aware of these triggers can prepare you for them or equip you with the knowledge on how to avoid a crisis.
- Alcohol and drugs
- Stressful activities
- Not enough sleep
- Certain dates and anniversaries
- Low mood
- Increased responsibilities
- Poor memory
Trigger Action Plan
What would help you if one of your triggers came up? What has worked in the past for you, and what has worked well for others?
- Speaking to a friend/peer counselling
- Doing some breathing exercises
- Taking time out
A crisis plan is something that is very individual. It details:
- How you are and feel when you are well
- Signs for you or others to watch for if becoming unwell
- Support networks to access
- Advice for yourself and others on how to help in these times of crisis (or advice on what others can avoid doing that may make your situation worse).