Monday, October 6, 2008

Developing a Wellness Toolbox

**Side Note** A "wellness toolbox" is a concept that I've become familiar with in the counseling field. Most of the information I've seen on it on the web is geared towards the topic of depression. I've changed this a bit for the topic of chronic pain.

The ides of a wellness toolbox can be helpful as you anticipate flare-ups in pain. For your wellness toolbox come up with a list of things that you can do, or have done in the past, to help relieve your pain and emotional distress or to keep you feeling well when you are good. Include any strategies, activities, or skills you can use for pain relief and/or a mood boost. The more "tools" you have for coping with chronic pain, the better. Try and use some of these ideas each day, even when you're feeling good. You don't want these things to be associated only with bad times...they're there for you to help you feel better, not remind you that you're not feeling well.

These lists and items can be placed in a special box, container, or drawer. You can decorate this area with soothing colors and pictures if you'd like. Feel free to get creative.

Here are some wellness toolbox ideas for coping with chronic pain:
1. Talk to a supportive friend or family member. (I like having pictures of these people. You
even ask these people to write a short, supportive note on the back of the picture to remind
you that they're truly there for support when you need it.)
2. List what you like/appreciate about yourself and/or your life.
3. Write in your journal.
4. Read a good book or watch a good movie/tv show
5. Take a long, hot bath or shower.
6. Listen to music.
7. Get a massage.
8. Do something nice for someone else.
9. Stretch. (Ask a physical therapist which stretches would be most beneficial for different
aches and pains).
10. Spend time with a loved pet.
11. Meditate and/or pray.
12. Schedule a time for bed that you follow each night.
13. Meet with a counselor.
14. Attend a support group.
15. Do something that makes you laugh.
16. List of things to avoid when you're not feeling well. (i.e., alochol, sugar, caffeine, certain
people, staying out late, etc.)
17. Complete a small task. It feels good to get even a little task done during the day.
18. Take a short nap (maximum of 30 minutes, you don't want to negatively affect your sleep

You can also place items in the box that you can use to help an eye mask, earplugs (for short naps), a hot and/or cold pack, a special scented candle you light, massager, etc.

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