COVID-19. Probably a word that you have now heard one million times. A word that you may be sick of hearing, yet a word that you need to listen to. This one word, this virus, has most likely flipped your world upside down.
Occupational Therapy. Maybe a word you've heard. Maybe not. If you haven't, here is a definition. According to American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Occupational Therapy (OT) is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities: (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent - or live better with - injury, illness, or disability.
...things they want and need to do... Did you catch that part? If you are like me, there are a lot of things that I want and need to do, but right now, it is just not an option. BUT I am here to tell you that is okay.
It is time to get creative. It is time for YOU to start thinking like an Occupational Therapist. Let's problem-solve some of these new situations life has put us in.
Problem #1: My kids are driving me nuts!
Solution: Get creative with what you've got! Here are some fun ideas! Grab a can of dad's shaving cream, spray a chunk of it on a baking sheet, throw in some food coloring, and start playing! Make tie-dye swirls, have your kids write their names and draw shapes with their fingers! Play tic tac toe! Create a fun obstacle course around your house! Make pillows, couch cushions, and coffee tables part of your course! Build forts with blankets tables and couches! Make smores over scent-less candles. GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!
Problem #2: I'm running out of food and I don't want to go to the store and get exposed.
Solution: Lets get creative again. Think about the television show Chopped! Find some ingredients that may sound like the will go together and whip together a dish! I'm sure you could cheat and look online for some ideas! Make it fun and compete against a kid or a spouse and have winning dishes! Loser cleans up! Have a bake-off! That is always fun (and delicious)! OR support your local businesses and get some take out! Minimal contact there!
Problem #3: I'm working in a new or different environment that I am not use to and it is frustrating and confusing.
Solution: You've got to work with what you've got. You can choose to be mad and frustrated or you can choose to adjust and find joy in every situation. How can you, as a worker (whether you are an employee or an employer) make this situation the best it can be? Can you work from home? Can you provide services in a different manner? How can you take the stress off your employees or coworkers? Maybe brighten their day by bringing in cookies and telling them how much they are appreciated. Make fun signs with a word of encouragement on them or a silly joke and hang them on the wall in the office! Come in with a smile!
Problem #4: I'm running out of toilet paper!
Solution: I've not nothing. Ha. Ha.
See you are already thinking like an Occupational Therapist and don't even realize it! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! Every problem has a solution! You can do it! So even though this world is a little different right now, it does not mean that we can't change with it, but for the better. Get those creative "OT juices flowing" and find your JOY again. Happy OT Month!
Stay well, my friends.
Your Chautauqua Physical and Occupational Therapy Family!