Monday, February 12, 2018

Step Two: My Planner

As mentioned in the previous post, recently I caught myself sinking back into depression. I took Step One to get back on track, and now...

Step Two: 


I first encountered personal planners back in 1990. When placing an office supply order at work, one of my coworkers requested DayTimer refills, and I thought, "What the hell is 'day...timer'?". Now mind you, I'd always been the type who poured over office supply catalogs like porn, but I'd never seen a planner quite like this before. This was no ordinary calendar. This was a caramel-colored leather, pocket-sized, hyper-organized success Grail!

Since then, technology may have made it infinitely easier to reconnect with your 3rd grade crush, share ideas around the world, and overthrow a small nation, but for me, and millions of others, paper-based planning beats hi-tech any day! In fact, since partial hospitalization (PHP) five years ago, paper planning has not only remained my go-to for everyday time and life management (i.e., calendar, to do list, contacts, and key info), but has evolved into a valuable tool for maintaining mental health and addiction recovery.


To maintain mental and physical wellness, I use my planner to:
  • List medications (dose, frequency, etc.);
  • Track physical activity/exercise (e.g., steps walked each day, exercise log);
  • Track daily water consumption;
  • Meal plan;
  • Maintain a food log; and,
  • Log doctor visits/results, lab work, vaccines, etc.
In addition, I now carry a copy of my "KWRAP"* in my planner for easy reference. 

Created by Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is a tool to which I was first introduced in PHP. They gave us handouts to work on in group, but I did mine on the computer at home - with movie clips. (See below. Obviously the meds were kicking in at that point!)


CBT is a tool for "modifying dysfunctional thinking and behavior"; and my planner has become a tool for CBT. My planner is a source of affirmations, visualizations, motivational quotes, gratitude lists, and other exercises designed to squash ANTs** and facilitate cognitive restructuring.


No, it is not imperative for staying on top of things, but pictures, stickers, and other colorful accents just plain pick me the hell up! The very act of doodling and adding Washi tape, scrapbook paper, and motivational quote stickers to a planner page relaxes me, much the way adult coloring books relieve stress for others.  

My raison d'ĂȘtre


Needless to say, many of us coping with chronic mental illness and/or addiction struggle heavily with money management. In fact, the symptoms of our illnesses not only make managing finances difficult, but likely are the very things that dug us into our pecuniary pits in the first place. 

Fortunately, with the help of family, friends, and professionals, and a wealth of resources available in books and online now, we can begin moving forward in this area of our lives too. I've dedicated an entire section of my planner to this topic - a one-stop place for planning, tracking, and learning.  


*If WRAP is pronounced, /rap/, then KWRAP is pronounced, well.../CRAP/. {Even cocooned in my bed by the Vortex, I still had a sense of humour at the time.}
**A.N.T.s - Automatic Negative Thoughts - coined by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a completely amazing system. I am going to put my ACT information in my planner now.