Our world has changed a lot in these past few months with most of us now required to practice social distancing, gather with friends and family virtually, and restrict our engagement in valued activities and hobbies. Who knew that the simple act of shopping or going out to dinner was such a valued activity in our lives? As occupational therapists, the people who we serve are more familiar with this sense of disruption than most. An injury, illness, or chronic condition has interrupted their “status quo” and they are forced to seek our help in creating new ways to engage in daily activities and routines. Perhaps it is time for us to follow our own advice!
- Plan: Critical routines have been disrupted and new ones must be developed. Identify what routines you value most. What activities have traditionally been familiar or comforting? Write them down and find ways to adapt those routines and activities to meet new demands or limitations. Establish a new daily routine that includes time outdoors or exercising.
- Pace: While the temptation may be to binge-watch a new Netflix series for hours, in the long haul you will become under-occupied, stressed, bored and unhappy. Intentionally engage in a wide variety of different activities during the day, seeking “occupational balance”.
- Pause: Give yourself permission to slow down. Breathe. Be kind to yourself and look for joy. Ask for help when you need to, offer help when you can.