written by PEERS community participant Kai
My Balance Plan is an extension of what the WRAP® Program refers to as one’s Daily Maintenance List. It is simply a list of activities that we engage in on a daily basis to keep us well. My Balance Plan though has a few additional bells and whistles. The article below describes my Plan in detail, but If you would prefer a visual description, you can watch my YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xAcso86qz0&t=43s
To give you a bit of history as to how my balance plan developed, several years ago I ran across a book entitled, The Wellness Workbook by John Travis MD and Regina Sara Ryan. The book provided the reader with a questionnaire which assessed 12 domains of wellness (e.g., work, play, eating, etc.). Once finishing the in-depth questionnaire, one plots their results on a pie chart diagram which is referred to as the wellness wheel. This ‘wheel’ enables one to see the amount of attention given to each domain. The book proposes that the more attention we give to these various domains, versus others, the more fulfilling and balanced our lives will be. I bought into this concept. When looking at my results though, they did not reflect any sense of balance. The visual I saw before me felt to be an accurate reflection of the stark imbalance in my life. I was obviously addressing some areas with great attention whilst others were quite neglected. Over the years, I worked on my life and would periodically return to the book to retake the questionnaire and plot my results. Although areas in my life were shifting, I realized that I needed to have something more, a visual tool that I could work with on a daily basis. I needed something that I could use as a guide, something that allowed me to see my progress, as well as, see areas that needed more attention. And so, my Balance Plan emerged.
I have been using my Balance Plan off and on for two decades now. Given that we are living in Covid times, it is again at the forefront of my life. It combines the thoughts and visions of WRAP® Founder, Mary Ellen Copeland, as well as those of Travis & Ryan. What I have done is to create my own domains which I feel are important in my life and need regular attention for me to remain well. My personal categories currently include:
- Professional Development
- Physical Exercise
- Physical Self Care
Rather than plotting these categories on a pie chart/wheel, I plot them in a grid format on a weekly calendar or school record book. Anything that has a grid on it that allows you to place the days the week along one axis and the self-care domains along the other will work. Then, each day or throughout the day, I jot down various activities after I’ve performed them. My Balance Plan charts have changed throughout the years. Sometimes, I will remove one category and replace it with another, or sometimes, I add blank journal pages in-between my weekly entries and bind them into a single book. The great thing I find about the Balance Plan is that it is just like WRAP’s Daily Maintenance List, you are finding domains and activities that are personal to you. This is what a partially completed ‘Balance Plan’ sheet might look like for me:
|Professional Development||Work on contract||Work on Contract||Update Website||Post on Instagram||Work on contract|
|Gratitude||My kittens||My honey||Waking up to blue skies|
|Exercise||Swimming||Table Tennis||Kayaking||Table Tennis||Walking|
|Self-Care||Brushed teeth Showered Took Meds||Washed hair Brushed teeth Showered|
|Socializing||Spoke with Auntie Spoke with Gail||e-mailed Kim||Lunch with Aldona||Called Linus|
|Recreation||Virtual Walk on YouTube||Game with Honey||Read novel||Word game on tablet||Netflix|
|Chores||Made Bed||Cooked||Made bed||Laundry||Cooked|
|Spiritual||15-minute silent meditation||Guided meditation||Guided Meditation|
|Healing||WRAP Group||Journaled||IFS Group||NAMI Group||NAMI Group|
Benefits of using my Balance Plan:
- It provides me with the daily structure I need.
- It helps to keep me accountable to myself because I have a visual that allows me to see what I have and have not accomplished.
- I can easily see my progress over the days, weeks, months, and years.
- It is easy for me to see areas in my life that I have neglected.
- On low days, it serves as a ‘pick-me-up’, for I can see all the hard work that I have done towards taking care of myself.
- I have recently started drawing hearts around activities that bring me immense joy and on those low days, I look for those hearts to see what activities I might repeat.
For those of us who already have a WRAP®, this tool might offer ideas of ways that you can further customize your Daily Maintenance Plan. For those who feel in the need of a little more daily structure or focus, a Balance Plan, may just be what you are looking for. And for those of you that may be interested in the work that Travis & Ryan did, their latest edition, published in 2004, Wellness Workbook 3rd Edition can be found here:
The authors have since separated the questionnaire from the book. If you are interested in knowing more about where you fall on the ‘wellness wheel’, you will want to purchase their self-assessment tool, the Wellness Index. It can be found here:
Continued wellness to all!