Redesigning My Daily Life ⟩
December 20, 2023, by Cindy
Occupational therapists help people participate in things they need to and want to do to increase their well-being. As a licensed and practicing occupational therapist in Taiwan for two years, did I live a balanced life? Unfortunately, not really. Being a student again in a foreign country, I decided to seize this opportunity to practice what I have learned at USC Chan.
But how could I start? As we all know, changing lifestyle can be frustrating. I know I have had numerous unsuccessful attempts. Luckily, this time, there is a better resource to support me in making the change.
I am taking the Foundations of Lifestyle Redesign® Graduate Certificate pathway. This past semester, we learned about Lifestyle Redesign for people with different physical conditions. The class contents also covered how to change various aspects of daily life, including physical activity, the things you eat, how to manage stress, etc. The goal is to help people construct daily routines that are the best fit for bolstering this person’s well-being. In addition, we also practiced leading individual sessions and group sessions. These sessions allowed us to practice the knowledge we learned.
As the semester went by, I became more conscious about my daily routine. I realized that in my past learning experience, I prioritized studying only. The rest of the things in my life, including eating, sleeping, social participation, and leisure, were somehow dispensable. With this realization and a new start, I gradually adjusted my daily life a little at a time with a spirit of experimentation. I slowly became aware of what food makes my body happy. I tried different times to go to bed and wake up. I find the best time management and study strategies to maximize my time. Besides adjusting what I have been doing, I spent more time on other activities. I created chances to increase my physical activity, including taking the stairs, working in person so I must walk to my office, doing quick stretching and bodyweight training when talking to my parents via phone, etc. I am more conscious about engaging in social participation. I spent more time on phone calls with my family and friends in Taiwan, staying with my relatives here, and hanging out with my classmates and students from other programs.
The most exciting change I made was adding more leisure activities and practicing prioritizing them. I don’t know how many times I have thought to do something fun and ended up studying or working instead. A part of me felt like I was not utilizing my time in the best way if I spent time playing when I could be doing assignments. However, I knew that not participating in leisure activities has led to feeling burnt out. This time, I decided to do something about this. The topic of the group session program I was in targeted our leisure and play participation. To follow the short-term goal we set each week, I consciously dedicated more time to leisure activities. I started to realize my productivity when studying increased. I was more motivated to study and do assignments. I felt less stressed since school was no longer the only emphasis in my life.
Now, I have a regular sleeping routine, a more nutritious diet, and a better balance between work and leisure participation. I also built strong connections with my group mates. It was a fun process to figure out what changes can make my daily life suit me better. The changes were small, but the progress was exciting! These changes have brought more colors and harmoniously constructed my everyday life into a beautiful painting.