As an occupational therapist, I’m trained to help my clients recover from injuries and illnesses so that they can participate in the activities that are meaningful to them and have a better quality of life. For some, this requires learning to modify the way they perform certain tasks to manage chronic injuries or health conditions. For others, it’s about restoring lost function to return to an active, healthy life. And for many, it’s about adding in new health promoting behaviors to improve their functional abilities and reduce pain.
I believe that everyone wants to live a healthy life, but we each experience unique barriers to meeting our goals. And sometimes, we need professional support and guidance to make changes to our health habits. With Lifestyle OT, I work in collaboration with my clients to identify barriers that are preventing them from choosing and maintaining the healthy behaviors that will improve their health and/or reduce their experience of pain. My goal is to meet each client where they are in their health journey and find the strategies that will work best for them.
Although we’d all love to find a quick fix to our health problems, for most chronic conditions, the journey to improved health usually takes time and dedication. Lasting changes come from setting reasonable and practical goals and incorporating new behaviors over time. A gradual change in health behaviors may take longer, but it is more effective and sustainable.
The good news is that once you’ve started the process of setting realistic goals and making healthy changes, there tends to be a ripple effect into other areas of your life. Making even the smallest changes to your eating habits or sleep schedule will often set other changes in motion. And achieving even a small goal is motivating and tends to encourage you to set more challenging goals. Even a small change is better than no change.
Changing health habits is a hard process for most people. And there are usually ups and downs in the journey to better health. When I work with clients on changing their health habits, I focus on their strengths and successes, not perceived weaknesses or failures. We’ve all succeeded in reaching goals in the past, so it’s important to acknowledge those successes, learn from them, and apply that knowledge to help us successfully meet new goals. It’s also important to acknowledge the goals we have achieved on our journey, not just focus on what we still need to achieve. The focus is on adding healthy behaviors in to your life, not just what needs to be taken out.
My goal is to really get to know my clients, learn what is important to them, and work together to explore the barriers that have prevented them from meeting their goals so far. I individualize my treatment plan and develop it in collaboration with the client and his or her health care team. As an experienced health care provider, I focus on providing my clients with evidence-based, scientifically-sound health education.