Welcome back to “The Whole Picture,” our new blog series on wellness! If you’re tuning in for the first time, be sure to check out part one and part two of this series. Today, we’re talking about “Occupational Wellness” – what it means for seniors, and how putting your skills and talents to good use can also be good for you.
“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck in 1974 – and at The Mayflower, that’s a philosophy we take to heart.
Occupational wellness, defined as the satisfaction and fulfillment people feel when they can apply their skills to projects they care about, is one of The Mayflower’s eight dimensions for whole-person health. But despite the name, occupational wellness isn’t just about “work” or “a career” in the traditional sense; it can encompass any hobby or pursuit you find worthwhile and engaging.
“Doing something you love, something that challenges you, something that’s rewarding based on your interests and lifestyle – those are the big elements of occupational health,” explains Sarah Burke, Wellness Coordinator at The Mayflower. “When you can find new ways to do that every day, you’re happier and healthier in the long term.”
In other words, living well – in retirement or otherwise – isn’t about what you’re not doing, but what you are doing. For some, that might mean continuing to work full-time or part-time; for others, it might be volunteering, community engagement, art, music, or travel.
If you’re looking for more ways to find focus and fulfillment in your day-to-day life, we’ve got you covered. Here are three easy ways to get started:
- Work with your strengths. What expertise do you have? What skills have you developed? Where do you excel? If you’re creative, you might decide to use your aesthetic eye to redecorate a bedroom. If you’re methodical, consider volunteering as a treasurer or secretary for a local organization.It can also help to think about what kind of projects you prefer working on. Some like the challenge of problem-solving; others may enjoy “making a difference” by investing in a good cause. If you like spontaneity and flexibility, you may decide to try a variety of new activities and see what sticks.
- Live in the moment. In life, we often drift from task to task without focusing completely on any of them. But researchers say that fulfillment and satisfaction tend to come from moments of “flow,” when a person is fully absorbed in the project before them – whether that’s a chessboard, a spreadsheet, a canvas or a garden.In our always-connected world, focusing is often easier said than done. But it can help to set aside time to work on a specific activity, without getting distracted by notifications, interruptions, or other tasks. Taking half an hour of “quiet time” in the morning or evening every day can be a great way to get in the habit.
- Do more of what you love. How often have you spent the whole day on to-do lists, errands, and distractions without making time for the hobbies that bring you joy? Make a list of the things you love doing – gardening, fishing, singing, cooking, woodworking, and so on – and then make a list of the things you do on an average day.Do the lists match? If not, refocus your daily routine to include more opportunities for engagement. Set aside a little time each day for your “loved activities.” Or spend less time and energy on the “routine” tasks that aren’t as rewarding.
While it’s not always easy to find the right balance between engagement and relaxation, you can find the best of both worlds at The Mayflower. Our vibrant community offers residents more ways to get involved, learn, and discover new passions – in a carefree, welcoming environment where everything is taken care of.
Ready to learn more? To request more information or schedule your personal tour, send us a message or give us a call at 407.672.1620. We look forward to hearing from you!