By Natalie Leishman, Occupational Therapist
We’ve all heard the tag line “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play,” and, as a self-confessed chocoholic, who am I to disagree with this? However, I am also an Occupational Therapist, and I have to say, we can also help you achieve these goals, without the additional calories. How, you may ask? Let me enlighten you.
The role of an occupational therapist is to use a person-centred approach to assist people to achieve their health and well being goals through participation in the occupations of life. Put simply, we work to help people, families and communities improve their health and well being by working on the areas in their lives that are most important to them. Most people think of work when they hear the word “occupation”. But for OT’s “occupation” is a term used to describe all of the things we do in our day to day life, as well as the things that make us who we are – what we do to create a meaningful life and connect with our society and culture.
When you work with an occupational therapist, we talk with you and the important people in your life to find out what your goals are – what areas of your life do you want to work towards to achieve your most fulfilling life. For one person, this might be the equipment they require to assist them to complete their job or pursue their career (work), for another it might be skills or techniques to support someone improve their sleep (rest), and for someone else it could be providing resources or assistance to connect with the activities they enjoy within their community (play). Keeping in mind, the words ‘work,’ ‘rest’ and ‘play’ mean different things to different people.
Occupational therapy can assist with all areas of life. It may be needed for a short time, or over a lifetime. It may be used to work on one goal at a time, or many. The options are endless. The important thing to remember is that whatever the goal of your therapy is, it is YOUR goal, and a step towards living your best, most meaningful life.