HOW A LITTLE CAN GO A LONG WAY – THE IMPORTANCE OF PURPOSEFUL OCCUPATION

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists describes Occupational Therapy as providing practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.

 

“Occupation” as a term refers to practical and purposeful activities that allow people to live independently and have a sense of identity and encompasses essential day-to-day tasks such as self-care, work and leisure.

 

Occupational Therapists’ unique training in both physical and mental health allows them to work with individuals with a wide variety of conditions and co-morbidities, to provide an holistic and client centred intervention.

 

This is a good news story about how a few small changes impacted in a positive way when the key areas of diet, sleep, energy, mental health and work were addressed collectively.

 

Following a comprehensive initial assessment of a young woman with anxiety and depression (who had been signed off sick for 12 weeks by her GP), a care plan was formulated with the following to be included:

  • Fatigue management
  • Sleep advice
  • Anxiety management advice
  • Exercise
  • Leisure
  • Work

In just three, 45-minute sessions, over 3 months the OT worked with the client to promote successful self-management of these areas and as a result the client was able to:

 

  • ​establish the regular use of relaxation techniques to support her energy
  • put in place a good sleep routine
  • start to build in a daily walk to enjoy nature and use as a form of mindfulness to help manage her mental health
  • develop the skills to plan healthy, home cooked meals which saved her money and further supported her energy and mood
  • increase her motivation and begin engaging in creative leisure activities
  • negotiate some reasonable adjustments with her employer and following a phased return, go back and enjoy her work

A great demonstration of how just a little holistic, occupation focused intervention can make the world of difference to a client’s life.