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This information is adapted from the Recovery Workbook which was compiled by Tim Crisp. If you would like a copy of the full workbook please email tim.crisp@nht.northants.nhs.uk.

What is recovery?
The vast majority of people who experience mental health difficulties and lead lives that are full. Indeed many people have said their experience has made them more aware of their strengths and what they can achieve through difficult times.
The purpose of this section is to provide a framework for you to begin your recovery from any distress you might currently be feeling. The idea is to create your own plan to build your confidence, and to sustain and improve your wellbeing. This process is called self-management.

Recovery is:
Hope - having confidence in the future. It is a belief that grows with achievements and success.
Responsibility - is a decisionto do things differently, take responsibility and regain control of your life.
Strengths - are identified and developed by focusng on the positive experiences, skills and talents that enable recovery to grow.
Education - recovery is a process of learning about techniques, treatmnts and approaches from the evidence and information about wellbeing.
Supporting environment - family, friends and professionals must have hope, help build resilience, see opportunity and respect independence.
An ongoing journey - recovery is not a straightforward path leading to a convenient end-product or 'cure'. Personal meaning is formed through a journey of social, spiritual and cultural relationships where people strive, experiment, fail and succeed as part of the human experience.

A recovery plan is about utilising the skills and experience you have while learning other concepts, tools and techniques. You are the exper in managing your own care, making decisions and directing support from family, friends and professionals.
Recovery plans are simple and easy to use. They can stabilise your situation, identify preventative measures and make changes. They improve communcation with family, friends and professionals and create a record of progress that can renew our sense of hope.

Regular activities
A stabilising part of your recovery is activties or tasks that you do on a regulr basis that can give you a structure to build on. Most routines are simple and ou can find more information about them on other parts of this website, for example:
  • Eat three healthy meals
  • Drink at least 6 half-pint glasses of water
  • Exercise for at least half an hour
  • Get half an hour's exposure to outdoor light
  • Take any medication you have been described an think about taking vitamins or supplements
  • Do 20 minutes relaxation or meditation
  • Write down your feelings in a journal or diary
  • Spend half an hour enjoying a fun or creative activity

There may also be things that you do on a weekly basis: you may visit someone, go shopping, or have a hobby or interest that you do on a particular day of the week. Write down some simple things to do on a regular basis. These may be things you already do and want to sustain, or there could be an activity you may want to make regular because o your changing situation. Make sure these activities are things that matter and make you feel good. Write down times in the day, or particular days of the week if you want to.

Building on your strengths
A way to further develop your recovery is to concentrate on your strengths and doing the things you want to do and enjoy doing. The experience of mental health distress is often associated wih problems. Inevitably there are problems, but these can be addressed by focusing on the positive aspects of your life - focusing solely on your problems means you may never escape them and makes planning for the future difficult. Identifying and developing your strengths will also help build your confidence and resilience to cope if problems reoccur.
Identifying strengths
It may be that due to the way you are currently feeling your strengths seem far away. One way to think about mental health distress is the temporary loss of some of your strengths, so it is important to review, reassess and recover thse things that make you who you are and who you want to be. Many people who use this approach have said they have discovered new things about themselves and opened up new avenues in their lives. 
Your strengths are entirely your own, they are unique to you. Some people find it helps to talk with someone who is close to them and who they trust, to help identify their strengths. However, you do not have to share this with anyone if you do not want to. Put down anything, no matter how small or insignificant you may thnk it is and add things as you go along. Try to identify the strengths you have in each area.
Where you live/ a sense of home: What do you like about your current living situation? Do you want to remain where you are, or would you like to move?
Personal satisfaction: What activities are you currently involved in where you use your gifts and talents? Are there activities that you enjoy and give you a sense of satisfaction that you may like to do more often?
Family and friends: What are the ways that people close to you provide support and help make you feel good about yourself? Do you have someone that you can talk to or do things with?

Spirituality and faith: What meaning, if any, does spirituality play in your life? If this area is important to you, how do you experience and express your spiritual self?
Finances: How do you manage your income to enable you to do the things you want to do? If you need to, what could you do to make any changes o improve your situation?
Education and learning: If you entered a quiz wht would your specialist subject be? What training or education courses might you be interested in exploring in the future?
Employment: What does employment mean to you? I you could design the right job for you what would it be?
Your physical health: What kinds of things do you do to take care of yor physical health? Ho do you know when you're not doing too well? What do you find helps you during these times?
Finally, what other things ae there that are important to you? Wat are your dreams, hopes and goals? What would you really like to do?

Ten points to help you on your journey
1. Taking control: You are the one person who can decide on what is best for you. Learning to set manageable goals can give you a sense of achievement. Activities that involve makng a 'fresh start' have been shown to help people in recovery.
2. Awareness and education: The process of recovery gives you the chance to learn more about yourself, your strengths, your capacity to change and what you want to achieve. Educating yourself about what is happening and how to deal with situations reduces the fear, builds confidence and accelerates wellbeing.
3. Structure the day: Organising everyday things is important and establishes a good foundation from which to experiment and develop.
4. Diet : A low fat, high fibre diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit will increase body energy. For more information take a look and the Food and Mood section of this website.
5. Exercise: Increasig the amount of exercise you take can trigger brain chemicals that will improve your mood. For more information look at the Physical Activity for Wellbeing section of ths website.
6. Relax: Think about things that make you feel calm, listen to relaxing music or read. You could also try some of the techniques in the Relaxation section of this website.
7. Talking to people: You may find it difficult to be sociable, but it is important to keep in contact with friends. You can aslo learn a lot bout managing your condition frm talking to other people who have had similar experiences and learing about what has helped them in their recovery. Likewise, people you trust can both offer advice and receive direction in creating your recovery plan.
8. Experiment: Don't be afraid to try new things and take risks. Make sure you have a back up plan to anticipate anything going wrong. Document what you have learnt from the experience, how you felt and how you can improve things for the future.
9. Positive thinking: Have a positive outlook - take time to reflect and concentrate on your strengths. Don't be too hard on yourself - no one is perfect.
10. Hope: Even if your recovery seem slow it is essential to believe and have the hope that you will get better.



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