The Basics: Occupational Health and Wellness

August 26, 2012

I have to do it. You probably have to do it. I mean, who doesn’t have to do it? I’m talking about working. Sure, there are a few people that may be able to get by without working, but are they really? I mean, if you have to make appearances at functions, behave properly in social settings because you are being watched, speak with a financial advisor to ensure that your cash continues to flow, then that is work, right? If you have to tend to your children, maintain the house, prepare meals, and run the errands, isn’t that work? If you volunteer, and give of your time and energy to benefit others, organize fundraisers and other activities, aren’t you working? I know that there are some folks out there that may not be getting paid in the form of money for the work they do at home or in their community, but work does not always entail pay (ask my parents on that one, because I know I did some work around the house growing up, and the only thing they paid was attention! “you missed a spot”).

Occupation has a broad meaning for me. Academically, I come from an occupational science background. In the field of occupational science, and the fields that occupational science influences (my area of study being occupational therapy), your occupation will entail whatever it is that you do. That could include thinking. Now, for this section of the blog, we won’t be that broad. Our focus on occupation has to do with your job. As we are looking at it, your job is the productive activity that you do during the day that contributes to your ability to meet your daily needs, and the needs of the loved ones that you support. This could be work around the home, a job, volunteer work, hobbies, entrepreneurial activities, and much more.

You may not find joy or satisfaction in some of your occupations, but ideally, you will find a balance that allows you to experience good quality of life. For example, I do not enjoy cleaning, but when I finish cleaning and get to enjoy the way my home looks (seeing the kitchen sink void of dishes, a couch that is laundry free, and beds that are made), let me tell you, it is satisfying. On the other hand, I love writing, exercising, and caring for people. There are times when each of these activities has challenged me and lead to frustration, but as a whole, I find them enriching and uplifting.

Occupational health and wellness is important. When we stop having balance in our occupations, we become depleted of energy, joy, and drive. This can lead to mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression), changes in mood, difficulty in relationships, and changes in physical health. Our goal in this section is to help you to improve and/or maintain your occupational health and wellness, so that you can live well.

In this section we will blog about:
– occupations, and who you are
– what you love, and loving what you do
– having a heart to serve
– discovering your passion
– when it’s time for a change
– when your job changes you for the worst
– dealing with difficult people, and managing your happiness

~ Cece

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