Monday, February 15, 2010

How shoveling snow is occupational therapy

As an example of occupational therapy and how it truly is applicable to all walks of life, I have a personal example. Last Tuesday and Wednesday here in Chicago (there's no point in keeping my city a secret anymore) we had quite a bit of snow. So much snow, in fact, that my school called an official 'snow day.' Now normally, I HATE the snow and the cold, and as soon as I graduate from this program I'm high-tailing it right out of Chicago to a warmer climate, but this particular day, for whatever reason, I was okay with it.

So, anyway, I had been in the house most of the day studying and lightly cleaning. I knew that I should go to the gym but I just didn't feel like it and I had promised myself that I would do better about pushing myself to do things that are not quite obligations or when I'm really, really tired. This was one of those times.

So, I decided that I wasn't going to go the gym. The next best thing would have been to do my Pilates DVD but then I came up with a great idea: I could SHOVEL THE SNOW.

My condo building did not hire someone to shovel snow this winter and there was freshly fallen snow blocking us from safely leaving the building and walking to our cars so I thought, 'What the heck? Why not?' I could get a decent workout, enjoy some (minor) sun and lots of fresh air AND clean the walkways all at the same time. Plus, I hadn't shoveled or played in snow in ages. I am 30 years old, after all. :-)

So, I suited up and got my shovel from my car (when you live in a temperamental climate like this you keep a shovel in your car just in case the snow trucks bury you) and got to work. On top of being practical, it was so much fun! (which was surprising)

Ok, so how does this relate to occupational therapy? You should know by now, if you've been a faithful student/reader of my blog, that occupational therapy is about participating in occupation, otherwise known as activities and actions, that are meaningful to the client. In this case, movements that mimic a workout and getting out to enjoy the fresh air are very important to me. Because I was tired and because there was soooooo much snow I didn't feel like going to the gym. So, I found another activity in which I could participate that was meaningful and enjoyable (and in this case, also purposeful) to me.

I always try to include these small tidbits and stories so that the meaning, purpose and importance of occupational therapy is clear to you. It really bothers me that people don't know what occupational therapy is and I really want to work on adding to the online knowledge pool.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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