Over the past decade, I served hundreds of people in community clinics, crisis centers and private practice settings as a psychotherapist. Many were psychologically wounded, depressed, and stressed out. Some were even severely paralyzed by their emotions and developed long-term psychological conditions. What I realized that no matter what backgrounds the people were from, they had one thing in common. They weren’t really prepared for certain stressful events in life and had no clue how to manage their wellbeing. I often educated my clients that stress and anxiety are normal life conditions. We as human beings all experience anxieties, certain degrees of depressions or low mood, and various types of stress throughout the life span. It’s totally an existential matter. What I find helpful is to encourage people to develop a personalized wellness plan, a strategy to assist them manage their wellbeing, their life and their stressors in an effective way so that when things happen or when life gets out of control they are able to cope, to deal with things more successfully.
The first step of developing a wellness plan is to write down all the categories that you wish to manage in life. For instance, the areas that are important to most people are physical health, emotional health, finances, relationships and career, etc.
The second step would be to get into details of each area, and write down a list of important factors related to that particular area. For example, under physical health, one can write down, physical checkup, current medical conditions (if any) and medications (if any), nutrition, fitness, etc. Then, be real specific on what one needs to do to manage this area of one’s life effectively. For example, one can write down: physical exam once per year with doctor’s name; aerobic exercises three times per week at home or gym; multivitamin supplement once per day.
The third step is to figure out some practical stress management techniques that are suitable for you. For example, some people find long walks on the beach very helpful, others find meditation more effective. It’s always a good idea to take some time for yourself to figure that out.
The fourth step is to develop an emergency plan, set up emergency funds and put together a resource book for yourself and your immediate family.
I hope that you have found this article helpful in some way!