Life’s roller-coaster. Do you look forward to your everyday life? The daily grind mixed with the highs and lows; each day adding to the next as life evolves? Or have health problems or major life events stopped you from living the life you desire?
Our experiences and everyday challenges change over time, often gradually and predictably or sometimes dramatically with no warning. The speed of these changes doesn’t necessarily equate to the impact they have on our lives. A sudden injury or unforeseen change in circumstances can send you hurtling down a life-path that was not of your choosing. Equally, the slow insidious realisation of the impact of your life’s challenges and choices can be bewildering and distressing. Your normal everyday life can become something you struggle to accept and enjoy.
This blog is for people who are facing a challenging time; for whom the drudgery of everyday has overtaken the pleasures of life. Perhaps you are trying to cope with a roller-coaster of emotions, energy or pain that affects everything you do (and don’t do). You may be dealing with a health diagnosis that seems to have lifted you out of the world you know, or a major life event that has blind-sided you. You may be at a point where you feel that life is, in some way, deficient, unsatisfying, and not what you had envisaged or hoped.
The good news is that to move forward in your life, you don’t need to research the latest medical breakthroughs and treatment options. You don’t need to (re)acquire new skills and you don’t need to turn yourself into a pretzel trying to change the way you think about life. Instead, you can change what you do each day and how you do things to generate more meaning, purpose and pleasure in your daily life.
So who am I? And why this blog?
I’m a qualified occupational therapist registered to practice in Australia. I have worked in cities, country towns and remote communities; and with people of all ages and stages of life. I’ve been an occupational therapist for 30 years, and I love that occupational therapy focuses on the doing aspect of living – on the things you do that occupy your time and energy. Instead of concentrating on the result of your illness or circumstances, occupational therapists concentrate on the results of what you do each day.
After all, it is the outcome of your day that matters. The notion that, at the end of the day, you have a sense of acheivement and satisfaction. Your day has in some way been enjoyable, fulfilling and enlightening; and you feel tomorrow has the potential to be so as well.
In this blog, I’ll explore an occupational therapy approach to living. This is based on the underlying proposition that what you actually do (or don’t do) each day is the product of a host of interactions, not all of which relate to your personal skills and capabilities. These interactions are between what you do, how you do it, where and with whom, and what you want to achieve in your day. As you explore this approach with me, you will see that by simply changing one of these aspects, you can create a different outcome to your day.
Over the years, the theory and practice of all the helping professions have changed and evolved. There is no “one size fits all”, yet book shelves continue to bulge with works prescribing the latest, newest, different techniques to try. And the internet is awash with advice that ranges from quality evidence-based research to spurious or downright harmful strategies. The beauty of an occupational therapy approach is that it gives you a scaffolding from which you can develop your own understanding of what is likely to work for you. By examining the context of your life’s roles and activities, your expectations and aspirations, your needs and limitations, you construct your own frame of reference from which you can develop daily routines and lifestyle choices. You will find safe, healthy, efficient and inspired alternatives to make sure you are not spending all your precious energy on just surviving day-to-day.
But how can you access occupational therapy – and I mean qualified therapy – online? It seems to me from my research on “ehealth” or “telehealth” that online health services have started from the perspective of traditional face-to-face services and tried to migrate a copy of those services to the online environment. Not surprising, the results have been a little underwhelming. So I am taking a back to basics approach with occupational therapy and through this blog I will explore the “where” and “how” of daily living through the context of the online environment. What are the characteristics of the online environment that are different from the traditional face-to-face environment? And how can we use these to get a different result in your everyday life? In other words, through using the information and resources in this blog and website, can I help you do things differently or do different things to get a different outcome – and reclaim meaning, purpose and pleasure in your everyday life?
So … join me on this journey and let’s ride the roller-coaster together. Explore the blog topics and resources – and allow yourself time to contemplate the information. Let me know what you think … What do you want to know more about? What’s the one thing you’d like to be able to do easier, safer, more confidently, with less effort today?