Journey to wellness

Developing a plan to help you manage your anxiety or depression is an important part of your recovery and ability to stay well.

A ‘stay well’ plan will help you identify what your personal triggers are and the strategies that help you cope best, based on your own experiences. It will also teach you to recognise early warning signs of a potential relapse, allowing you to implement coping mechanisms as quickly as possible. The earlier you intervene, the better your chances of recovery.

You may find it useful to get input from people you trust, such as a GP, counsellor, family or friends. It’s also important to understand that your ‘stay well’ plan is a work in progress. This means that you need to review it regularly and make adjustments as necessary. For example, if you find that a particular coping strategy no longer works for you, find another one to replace it.

With the right treatment and support, most people with anxiety and depression will recover. Many people find that their condition doesn’t disappear altogether, but that they are able to manage it.

Remember that getting well can be a process, so be patient with yourself – use setbacks as learning experiences to help improve your ‘stay well’ plan. Have confidence in yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for support if you need it.


Stay well plan

Example of a 'stay well' plan

Setting goals/building confidence

  • Talk to my GP about finding a counsellor.
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Exercise at least two times this week.

My triggers and ideal response

  • Financial concerns: speak to a financial counsellor.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: have one day a week to relax at my own leisure and stop taking on too many projects at work. 
Things I like to do to keep myself well
  • Catch up with family/friends
  • Take the dog for a walk.
  • Do some gardening.

Things that I must do to keep myself well

  • Establish a regular sleep routine.
  • Open up to my partner/family/friends about how I am feeling.
  • Eat properly.

Things I notice about myself when I am becoming unwell

  • I want to sleep all the time.
  • I fight with my partner/family/friends constantly.
  • I get worked up over small things.

Things others notice about me when I am becoming unwell

  • I stop socialising.
  • I am more irritable.


Getting and giving support

Seeking support from family and friends

Share your strategies for staying well with those close to you, so that they can help you stick to them. Talk about how you’re feeling – don’t keep things bottled up. Discuss potential triggers with your family and friends so that they can support you in avoiding or managing difficult situations. You may identify with some of the common triggers listed throughout this booklet.

It’s also important to recognise the early warning signs if you’re becoming unwell and when you should speak to your doctor. Your friends and family can help by looking out for changes in your thoughts and behaviour that you may not notice yourself.

Supporting someone to stay well

It’s common for people who know someone with anxiety or depression to worry about doing or saying the right thing. They may also experience their own feelings of anger, guilt or fear.

Overcoming these feelings and understanding how they can help to provide a safe and supportive environment for their loved one is important. The role of a support person may include listening (without judging), identifying early warning signs, helping to make and sometimes attend medical appointments, encouraging healthy lifestyle habits and social contact, and encouraging the use of activity and ‘stay well’ plans. 

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