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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Discovering Two New Occupations in the Midst of Challenges


by Nmachi

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Life Hacks Living in LA

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About two weeks ago, my sister and I were doing our usual quarantine morning workout routine: high intensity interval training (HIIT), abs, and lower body focus. Since we had been frequently exercising indoors, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air after the workout. Once we walked out the front door, we instantly knew that we made a great decision. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and the atmosphere was very peaceful.

After walking twice around while listening to music, we began talking about how much we needed that walk. It was something that was very simple but ended up lifting our moods and altering the trajectory of our day. We became more and more engulfed in our positive thoughts on the walk that we came up with the most genius idea of all time: watching a sunrise at the beach! It dawned on me that I had never been to the beach in the early morning to watch a sunrise. Because I’ve lived in Long Beach, CA my whole life, I tend to take my proximity to beaches for granted. Going on a morning beach adventure was the perfect way to take advantage of the benefits of living in SoCal!

Something to note is that my family and I are not the type of people to plan things on a whim. The fact that my sister and I thought of doing something new and actually did it the following morning was a big deal for us. While at the beach, we laid out on the sand, read books, and watched the changing beauty in the sky. It was magical but so simple. Since we arrived very early in the morning, there were barely any people around. This allowed us to truly relax and listen to the sounds of the ocean without distraction.

Going to the beach was the activity we needed in order to get the adventurous ball rolling, if you will. Since we had such a great time being outdoors, we brainstormed other activities to do that would require us to visit and explore different locations. My sister remembered that a family friend had recently gone hiking, so we decided to try out the same trail she went on. It was my first real experience hiking, and I loved it! We felt amazing afterwards and made plans to try out another hike near my other sister’s apartment. This hike was a bit more challenging but equally rewarding. The two hiking trips were amazing and had incredible views!

Hike #1

Views of the Pacific Ocean: Del Cerro Park | Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Hike #2

Sullivan Canyon Trail | Los Angeles, CA

Hike #2

Bonding with my sister and fam (not pictured)

The main lesson that I learned from these experiences is that it is KEY to get out of the house, especially during this stressful time (while always wearing a mask and practicing social distancing). It’s safe to say that COVID brought many challenges and stressors to people’s lives. Personally, I have been dealing with the struggles of not being able to physically be on campus this upcoming semester. Having to do all my classes and hang outs with friends virtually has its pros and cons, and I know that many other people are going through similar conflicts. Despite having these negative feelings, I pushed myself to get outside of my comfort zone. Through this, I was able to discover two brand new occupations that I will begin to incorporate into my daily life from now on!

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