It’s 18:48 on a Thursday evening. I’m sitting at my kitchen table, sipping a green tea and trying to digest the last 11 hours. I’ve recently arrived home, wet from being caught in the rain, from yet another hectic day at work. I’ve been qualified for nearly a year now, and within that time I’ve not only started my first job as an Occupational Therapist, but I’ve had to learn how to work amidst a global pandemic. This has presented challenges that I never thought I’d ever have to overcome, but instead of feeling down about this, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of clarity.

As an Occupational Therapist, I spend my life helping others to participate in the occupations that matter to them. Yet, one year ago, I rarely engaged in the occupations that mattered to me. But during this crisis, I’ve reflected upon my own engagement with various interests, hobbies, and activities of daily living. Without cooking, knitting, running or reading, my emotional well-being would be depleted right now. But thankfully, because of these occupations, I’ve been able to survive.

Let’s learn from this lesson. It shouldn’t take a lockdown to make us engage in the occupations that matter to us. We are who we are because of the things that we do, and it will be these things that will carry you through your first year of practice. It may feel impossible to do anything additional to your new 9-5, Monday to Friday routine. But the one thing that has made the biggest difference to my well-being is being able to participate in the things that I love. No matter how well (or not so well) I can actually cook, knit, run or read.

Written by Andrew Bates member of the YR1 project team

This blog is part of the Year 1: Thriving Not Surviving Project funded by the Elizabeth Casson Trust to create a self-coaching resource to support the wellbeing of occupational therapists in their first year of practice. Be part of the year 1 community by joining in via:

  • Twitter – @1OTYear
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Photo by Nick Casale on Unsplash