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05/9-17 at 06.31 by: Rachel Jenkins
Summer holidays! Who needs them?
Is it just me or are you also breathing a sigh of relief now that the summer holidays are over? Don’t get me wrong, I like a holiday but being out of my normal routine for six weeks sends me into a tailspin. I like routine. It gets me up in the morning and gives me a purpose for the day. It helps me feel as if I have achieved something. I am not very good at responding to changes in my routine. Does all this sound familiar? You may not have really thought about it much but what we do on a day to day basis can have a huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.
As an occupational therapist working for Bluebell I look particularly at what we do day to day and how this can affect our emotional wellbeing. “Occupation” is just another word for meaningful activity. Our daily activities can be divided into three areas; self care, productivity and leisure. Eating and sleeping would be self-care activities whereas shopping and preparing food would come under productivity. Leisure is essentially anything you WANT to do but don’t necessarily HAVE to do. It could be reading or doing something more active – it is your “me time”. We all have an ideal balance between our occupations and what is right for one person may not be right for another. For me, I like to work Monday to Friday and I spread my part time hours out so I do a bit each day. It gives me a focus. I keep my generalised anxiety under control by running on my treadmill for 20 min 5x per week. (Any longer and I would get bored). I am an amateur musician and conduct a local community orchestra. I love doing this because it gives me a sense of achievement and I can forget everything else while I am doing it. I have been menu planning for the last 3 years and although my kids have had to endure some pretty terrible meals it helps me save time and money at the supermarket.
Holidays can often upset this delicate balance of activities and can leave us feeling disorganised, irritable, directionless and unmotivated. For me, I like to try and plan just one focus for each day. It may be only something small like going to the shops or getting out for a walk or doing the dusting (I never do the dusting), but it can help. I find it helps to still get up at the same time as a non-holiday day. I am sure you have your own little solutions. The important thing is to try and keep a good balance of activities in a manageable routine where possible. Finally, I try not to be too hard on myself if things don’t go to plan. So well done to everyone for surviving the summer!!
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