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The WRAP Plan: Early Warning Signs

In our continuing discussion regarding the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP Plan), we will take a look at the next part of the plan: Early Warning Signs. So far, we have talked about the benefits of a Wellness toolbox, creating a Daily Maintenance Plan and the importance of being able to recognize Triggers in our lives. The first three parts of the WRAP plan set the stage for recovery and stability. Whereas Triggers are considered external stimuli that cause unwanted emotions, The Early Warning Signs part of the plan is designed to help you recognize INTERNAL reactions to these triggers. How well are you coping? Is the Wellness Toolbox and Daily Plan working for you? Or are you noticing some things inside yourself that are starting to cause some concern? This is what ‘Early Warning Signs’ attempts to address.

Heed the warning signs

To give you an idea of what we are trying to avoid by looking at Early Warning Sign, I will mention that the next part of the plan is ‘When Things Start Breaking Down’. The intention then with Early Warning Signs is to have the self-awareness to recognize certain internal reactions and feelings and act to manage them before ‘Things Start Breaking Down’. One of the reasons I chose to write about the WRAP plan is because I think that we all have so much to do to manage our illness, that the organization and clarity the plan provides helps us to look at our problems in a rational way. It may help us from becoming overwhelmed. Early Warning Signs can vary significantly from person to person. While one person may experience intensified anxiety, another may find themselves isolating and staying away from the people and things that are important in their lives. Other examples include (but are by no means limited to): forgetfulness, lack of motivation, irrational though patterns (rumination), overeating, undereating, substance abuse or simply regularly missing signs or exits while driving down the highway. Most of us know when something just isn’t right with us. It is at this time, immediately, to take action to regain stability. What actions might YOU take?

The WRAP program suggests making a plan to deal with the Early Warning Signs before things start spinning out of control. This plan should serve as a formal reminder of all the things you do for yourself to keep you healthy and happy. Utilize your support system. If you don’t have a good support system; begin building one. Focusing and relaxing exercises can be included in your plan, as well as all the Wellness tools we talk about all the time: Diet, Journaling, Music, Exercise, Sunlight and Sleep. While there is no magic suggestion made within the plan, it serves as a reminder as to what things might get us back on track.

Accept help

It is important to recognize Early Warning Signs so that you can learn to help yourself, but also to realize that it may be time to reach out for help. Whether it be a doctor, a friend, family member or dietician, take the time to ask for help when you are not feeling as good as you can. By making sure you are doing all you can do for yourself, you can avoid more serious trouble down the road. We all know that we do not need more serious trouble…dealing with IBS is quite enough I think. Next time, we will talk about what to do ‘When Things Start Breaking Down’.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.