Life is difficult for everyone, even if some have it easier and others have to struggle more than most. Some people have to deal with poverty, many have difficult family relationships, and others still struggle with pressure at work or when studying. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the circumstances and give up, stopping one’s efforts to create a better life for themselves and reach their goals. However, this decision is not final, and there is always time to get back up and keep trying. This idea applies especially to young people, who often collapse under the weight of their newfound responsibilities. They have the best chance to achieve their dream life, provided they start trying in earnest. This restoration blueprint aims to describe a process by which they may do so and provide a self-care worksheet they can use.
This worksheet is intended for people who feel as though they are close to being overwhelmed by their circumstances or have been defeated already. It will help them regain their mental health and start working toward their dream life, whatever it entails. The process for doing so consists of five stages: under construction, detail drawing, elevation, floor plan, and new dimension. At the first step, the person will affirm their desire to overcome their problems and find motivations for doing so. Then, they will reflect on how they found themselves in their current predicament. The elevation step involves understanding what ideas hurt the person most to acknowledge and address them in the floor plan. Finally, once the person is restored and in the new dimension, they need to reaffirm their purpose and follow it so that they do not return to their previous state.
Insert 1: Under Construction
This insert is arranged in a question and answer format. Below is a list of different questions, and you should respond to each one in an open format.
- What is your main goal in life?
- I want to improve the lives of the people around me. Around me, I see a lot of misery, people dragging each other down into their unhappiness and not letting each other escape. The entire community needs to be elevated if any of its members want to live happy lives.
- Why have you been struggling in fulfilling your goal?
- It is difficult to help an entire community, especially with my limited resources. I do not understand the entirety of its problems, and many that I know of are then tied into the context of the city or the nation as a whole. At times, it feels as though the people I am trying to help do not want to be helped despite their various problems.
- Why do you want to restore yourself?
- I want to start taking action instead of passively observing indefinitely and discovering ever more complicated problems. Without action, even if it is not fully informed, nothing will be accomplished. I need to find the strength to start my work while learning along the way.
- What are your goals for this restoration?
- I want to become stronger and more capable of creating positive change, both for myself and for others. I want to grow as a person and help others do so, as well, overcoming circumstances and moving forward. I want to be able to start and support a family in the future, as well.
- What encouraged you to seek a self-restoration?
- Most of my efforts to improve the lives of those around me ended in failure. People refused to listen, and if they did, my solutions were not up to the task. I felt foolish and powerless, and I do not want to feel that way anymore.
Insert 2: Detail Drawing
This insert should be organized as a chart. Use it to illustrate your story of how you ended up in your current situation.
In this section, you should consider the issues that are particularly troubling for you. You will most likely be unconsciously trying to avoid them as a mechanism of self-defense. However, you cannot begin the process of restoration without acknowledging and confronting these problems. List each issue here and provide a short explanation of what it is and why it is here.
- Financial trouble. I grew up in a single-parent household, and our finances were never particularly stable. As a child, I was insecure about the financial status of my family and being unable to afford things others took for granted. Since then, I have found a part-time job, but I am still insecure about my financial stability and constantly compare myself to others. Managing my money is a particular hurdle, as I have not been able to amass any savings. I feel as though I cannot achieve my goals since I am incapable of helping myself.
- Disappointment. When I perform volunteer work and try to help my community, I often see that the problems are simple. However, through laziness and a lack of coordination, the people there refuse to solve them. For example, trash piles up everywhere regardless of how many times we clean it up because people do not want to use garbage containers and throw their refuse away wherever convenient. Situations such as this one make me lose faith in humanity and my community, specifically, seeing my goal as unattainable.
- Lack of knowledge. The more I learn about various problems, the more I understand that I do not know anything about them. At times, it feels as though, even if I were to invest my entire life in working for the community, I would still not understand the entirety of its issues and their causes. At the same time, when I try not to obsess over research excessively and engage in action quickly, I often overlook important aspects and fail to accomplish anything. Neither approach works, and I cannot find the middle point that can guarantee my success.
- Rejection. Many people in my community are not college-educated and see those who have gone on to higher education as outsiders. At times, I have been told that I have lost touch with the community and its problems and was no longer able to understand it. Some people would refuse to open up to me or to listen to my advice, which felt awful. My failures when I tried to help with minimal interruption have reinforced this belief within me. I feel inadequate as a member of the community and as a social worker trying to help people.
Write a list of action items that will help you conduct and successfully complete your restoration. They should roughly correspond to the plan’s five steps: Acknowledge, Acceptance, Awaken, Address It, Accomplish New Beginnings. There is no need to set time limits at the moment; you should not rush yourself but instead learn your limits and keep steadily moving within them.
- Complete a self-introspection and understand the portion of the responsibility for my current situation that I hold.
- Acknowledge my personal faults and learn to watch for them when talking to people and encountering troubling situations.
- Review the actions that I have taken in the past and determine whether I have done something wrong in each case or the cause was external.
- Acknowledge that I will make mistakes in the future, as well, and prepare to take action in spite of the trouble that it may create.
- Come to terms with my regrets and stop focusing on them, instead thinking of the future and the potential things I can achieve.
- Stop viewing the world negatively and start trying to find the good in everything and bring it to the surface to show others, as well.
- Consider my relationships with other people and the broader community as a whole and determine if they are healthy.
- Focus on healthy relationships and remove the toxic ones to focus on self-improvement and my mental health.
- Abandon the projects in which I am currently engaged that hold me back instead of promising any meaningful results.
- Look for a new job that I enjoy and put effort into it to improve my financial well-being.
- Learn to manage my money and start saving up for the future instead of spending all of it between paychecks.
- Find new, productive organizations to volunteer for effectively and suggest new ideas to them for continued improvement.
This section follows the goal sheet format. List several specific goals that you intend to achieve within the near future. For each, also write down multiple steps that will help you achieve that purpose. For each goal, write down an indicator that will let you know that you have achieved your purpose and the time by which you expect to complete it. As before, there is no need to set a specific finishing date for personal goals yet because you should not rush yourself.
Learn to manage my finances and start saving money that I earn for future needs.
Completion date: within a year from now.
Success criterion: I am able to consistently increase the balance in my bank account over an extended period, such as several months.
- Analyze my spending patterns and determine how much money I spend on different aspects of life.
- Understand which costs are necessary and cannot be eliminated and which can be cut without particular difficulty. Necessary costs include both items needed for survival, such as food and rent, and spending that helps me maintain my mental well-being, such as entertainment.
- Eliminate the costs that are not needed for my life and start attempting to put the money I save into my account.
- Regularly review my spending habits to see whether I spend excessively on unnecessary things or whether I have acquired new needs.
Find a new job that I can use as a basis for my future career and start advancing in it.
Completion date: within a year from now.
Success criterion: I am able to find a new position, work in it for three months, and retain a positive opinion of the work I perform.
- Start looking for a new position while working at my current part-time job.
- Conduct interviews to learn more about the companies I choose and demonstrate my abilities to them.
- Settle on a company where I would like to work that is also willing to offer me a position.
- Leave my old job, assume the new one, and start working in it.
- Apply myself to the tasks that are given to me, trying to solve them in efficient and innovative ways and earn bonuses and promotions.
Reorient my volunteer work toward purposes that meaningfully improve the lives of the community.
Success criterion: observable long-term change in the community’s condition that can be linked to my efforts.
- Focus on a specific issue and understand its causes in detail that I consider adequate.
- Isolate the aspects of the problem that I can address and develop an action plan for measures that I will take to do so.
- Implement the measures while monitoring their success and collecting feedback to improve their effectiveness.
- Complete the plan and put measures for determining its long-term success in place before moving on to another problem.