by Howard Diamond

May 1, 2021

self care isn t selfish signage
Photo by Madison Inouye on

May is Mental Health Month, but it means so much more. How about physical health, does this resonate? Our ability to maintain health is vital and each of us do this in our way. We are in a trap and cannot find the way out. Often, we eat what we want, when we want as long it does not affect others. People like me, who are overweight, but don’t do little to change their wellness focus find this difficult. Some of us are afraid and think that the way we are, and there is little can be done to make a significant difference.  While others do not care.

Just remember folks, this is about our health and wellness. By its definition wellness means, “the state of being good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. Also, it measures our progress both qualitatively and quantitatively”.

Peer Specialists like myself are unique. Practically every day, we work on our own Mental Health and often share this with other individuals, but we fall very short when it comes to other wellness focuses. Dr. Peggy Swarbrick, Rutgers University Director of Practice Innovations and Wellness wrote that there are eight dimensions of wellness whereby each goes hand and hand with the other to shape a person. No, not round or square. This of course doesn’t mean we are always at our best, but it is sometimes to strive for every day. My day is divided into separate sections, so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Not to say that it always works, but it is in the attempt. Ultimately, it is up to all people to do their utmost.

There are many other techniques that one can use to attain wellness. Examples are, but not limited to, Progressive Relaxation, Visualization, Thought Stopping and Assertive Skill Building. Each one of them has advantages and disadvantages.  By virtue of being Peer Specialists and our core value of mutuality…assisting others and they assisting us, we all gain and get ahead. 

Sounds efficient to me. Personally, in my toolkit, I have used all of them with various degrees of success. The Recovery Toolkit is designed to support  everyone through all the stages of recovery. This is from planning to stay well to cope with a crisis and learn from our own experiences.

Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, Author, Educator, Mental Health Advocate and Mental Health Survivor designed the “Wellness Recovery and Action Plan (WRAP)”. What WRAP is, an Evidence-Based, mental health recovery program, based on her study of the coping and strategies of people who have experienced mental health challenges. In 2005, Dr. Copeland created the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery which continues her training around the world. Due to her extensive work with individuals in crisis, we know each person learns ways to deal with their symptoms differently and focusing on their strengths. Lift one, two, repeat; don’t strain oneself.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own way to cope and I am not going to say that one idea is better than another. All this piece is stating is that there are many ways to help each other in recovery and definitely to use one to aid ourselves. Don’t we want that for personkind? For me, this sounds wonderful, but I am just one distinct individual. Let me know how this works out for each person out there by sharing your thoughts and comments. Anxiously, awaiting your responses!  Breathe, Howard, Breathe! Again, Breathe, Howard, Breathe!

Ah, that’s better. Now with all that is going on, make every month Health and Wellness Month, not just May. Happy Mother’s Day. See you in the NewsBlogs.


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