What Is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan?

A wellness recovery action plan is a personalized action plan whose goal is to help individuals reach optimum wellness and help them cope with various life challenges and changes. It is an action plan or roadmap that is designed to equip individuals or even groups with the right  tools to help them achieve positive health and total well-being. 

According to an online article published by NHS Foundation Trust, the WRAP Program was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, an American mental health recovery advocate. The model’s five key principles are hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy and support. 

Areas Where Wellness and Recovery Can Be Applied  

The wellness recovery action plan can be applied in various areas of life, most notably the difficult and challenging aspects of life. To achieve holistic wellness and sustained recovery, there must be a conscious decision to admit struggles and problems in order to begin the recovery and healing process. The following listed below are just some major concepts or areas that wellness recovery action plans mainly address. 

Mental Health. Perhaps a trending phrase in the past few years has been the word ‘mental health’. But more than being talked about in academic conferences and intimate circles, there is good reason why mental health is taking center stage now, especially with the ongoing global pandemic. Mental health advocates around the world are sounding the alarm at the growing rate of mental health problems brewing and taking hold in society. The alarming rate at which mental health concerns have been growing is enough for people to treat it as a public health crisis. Advocates and allies in the past and the present are working towards totally stemming the stigma of mental illness. Holistic development and wellness can only be achieved when people can collectively address the mental health problems that the world is facing. Addiction. When people speak of recovery, many times the idea of addiction immediately comes to mind. People who struggle with addiction and substance dependency need help not only because their dependency can be potentially damaging and harmful to their physical health, but because it can also greatly affect their psychological health and social relationships. Recovery is meant to help people who are tormented by their substance abuse and addiction. It is, however, important to note that a lot of people do not only suffer from addiction to substances but to certain behaviors and beliefs too. For example, self-destructive behavior can be harmful not only to the individual himself but to the people around him. Thus, recovery programs such as rehabilitative measures and therapy are key in incorporating a sustainable wellness action plan targeted at freeing the person from their addictions. Trauma. Another major reason why people often need or seek recovery and wellness is because of a major traumatic event that they experienced. Whether it’s a childhood trauma or a profound negative event experienced in adulthood, its effects can be both varied and far-reaching and can dramatically alter or shake a person’s interior life. Common examples of trauma are all types of abuse, serious and life-threatening injury and the loss of a loved one. Trauma can be successfully dealt with when there is sufficient support and compassion present for the trauma survivor. A wellness recovery action plan, therefore, must be tailor fit to the individual’s needs and circumstances. Challenges. The daily challenges that life presents people with are plenty and vary in severity and impact. What is difficult for one person may not be the same case with another. What one individual may experience with relative ease may not necessarily be the case for another person. People struggle with all kinds of challenges in their daily life from finances, relationships, health to work. This does not mean that difficulty in these areas automatically produce trauma or other negative effects. But sometimes, certain life challenges can potentially trigger or set off a more serious and damaging experience. For example, many people experience profound grief when they lose a loved one. Without the right coping mechanisms or support, the grief can lead the individual down a path of despair and depression.

Tips For Developing Your Own Wellness Recovery Action Plan

The unique attribute of a wellness recovery action plan is it’s curated and personalized approach to health. In most scenarios, the individual is tasked to map his or her own action plan. This is typically easier said than done. You can consult professionals but when it comes to your own recovery and wellness, you need to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. The following tips can help you take the initial steps in your wellness journey.   

Get to know yourself. It would be a difficult process to chart your own recovery action plan if you do not know yourself to begin with. Knowing yourself is key, and self-awareness is a powerful tool one needs to develop in order to obtain holistic growth and development. When creating a wellness recovery plan, you need to be attuned to a number of things interiorly. For instance, you need to ask yourself what sets you off or what motivates and stirs passion in you. If you are not aware of your tendencies or even vulnerabilities, a deeper introspection may be required so as to get to know yourself better as an individual. Develop self-compassion. Once you know yourself a little bit more, one of the most positive things you can do from there is develop a sense of self-compassion. It can be easy to feel sympathy and even extend help and compassion to other people. But oftentimes, it is harder to extend that same empathy for ourselves. It is often said we are our own worst critics. But if you are able to change that from worst critic to greatest supporter, much of the negative self-talk you give yourself will be replaced with more compassionate and encouraging words. Having compassion is not only important when you are going through a rough patch, but for everyday personal growth and development. It is especially important for people in recovery that they are not trapped by their self-defeating interior talk or behaviors. It can be easy to just give in to a hopeless mindset and attitude. But with self-compassion, you are able to resist this negativity and power forward. Get the right support. A healthy life requires healthy relationships. If your goal is total and holistic wellness and development, then you absolutely cannot do life alone. Everyone needs support and no matter how self-sufficient you believe you are, nothing of value can be done alone. Having the right support is crucial towards setting a recovery and wellness plan. Yes, you may craft your own action plan, but rarely can it be realized without the help of other people. Having safe friends or people you can trust is absolutely key. Without a solid support system, individuals are unable to rely on anyone but themselves and in times of turmoil, that is incredibly difficult to overcome. Celebrate small victories. Like in many things, it is important to celebrate small wins. Winning should definitely not be the only thing that should matter. When it comes to difficult journeys like recovery, rehabilitation and restoring one’s life back, remembering how far you’ve come is important. To do this, recognizing the victories and triumphs-no matter how small- is vital. In many ways, celebrating small wins is intertwined with practicing self-compassion. Being conscious and aware of this can give you the confidence to keep moving forward in a positive direction. After all, it is the little things that matter and when stringed together, they eventually become big things.

How to Create a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

To create a wellness recovery action plan, it is important to note that a great amount of introspection is recommended. And since the process is anything but one size fits all, it is important to spend a great deal of time examining and reflecting. The steps indicated below is a simple outline to help bring structure to your wellness recovery action plan.

  • Step 1: Create a Wellness Toolbox

    The main thing to remember when crafting a wellness recovery action plan is having the right and necessary resources that can positively affect our wellness. This does not necessarily mean material resources or even financial resources. This could pertain to knowledge, skills, Valuable Information and various strategies to help you cope better and promote greater wellness. It is important to prepare a toolbox of these resources. Identify these resources and list them down accordingly.

  • Step 2: Develop a Daily Maintenance Plan

    As in any action plan, there needs to be a form of structure that can be followed in order to reach and sustain certain goals. In a wellness recovery plan, having a daily Maintenance Plan plays an important role in keeping structure and function. What are the daily habits you can develop to maintain wellness or keep you on the road to recovery? It is essentially a daily To-Do List based on the wellness toolbox you created for yourself in the first step.

  • Step 3: Identify Triggers and Warning Signs

    A key step in any wellness recovery action plan is identifying the stressors and early warning signs that may lead you to relapse or that can threaten any progress made on your wellness journey. This is a crucial step because it requires both self-awareness and self-regulation. First, a thorough examination of one’s strengths as well as weaknesses can help you identify what Warning Signs and external triggers can potentially undo your wellness and recovery. Self-regulation is also needed in order for any wellness action plan to work. This entails practicing accountability and taking ownership for one’s own actions.

  • Step 4: Prepare for Crisis And Post-Crisis Planning

    Realistically, no action plan is 100% fool-proof or immune to failures and unexpected events. A comprehensive wellness and recovery action plan contains a well-thought out strategy for dealing exactly with these crisis moments and unexpected plot twists. Preparing a Crisis Plan will help you effectively deal with anything that might threaten your recovery and progress. If the right strategies and support are in place, then it could be relatively easier to bounce back or regain control of the situation. In addition, a post-crisis plan may also be incorporated for once the crisis has passed, you can immediately work on rebuilding and restoring yourself.


What is the purpose of a wellness recovery action plan?

The purpose of a wellness recovery action plan is to offer the necessary tools and resources for an individual to thrive and improve their life through personalized and deliberate techniques designed to support them amid challenges and adversities.

How does the WRAP program work?

The WRAP program is designed by the individual himself. The participant gets to chart his or her own progress but is also tasked to identify potential triggers and confront uncomfortable feelings and thoughts in the process. He or she gets to decide who can support them in their recovery and journey to wellness.

How do you create a WRAP plan?

To create a WRAP plan, you need to first develop a daily maintenance plan. Secondly, it is important to identify the triggers and stressors that upset you or lead you to experience uncomfortable feelings. Third, you can opt to create a crisis plan and post-crisis plan. And lastly, decide who you want as support for you and your recovery, these can be trusted friends, loved ones etc.

You can take charge of your own fulfillment and happiness. With a personalized wellness recovery action plan designed by you, you can take the first step. Browse the wide selection of printable plan worksheet and workbook templates above to get started on yours now!