Occupational Therapy: Live A NO Limit Life

Occupational Therapy: Live A NO Limit Life

Read about Occupational Therapy and how it helps people live a no limit life!

Occupational Therapy: Live a NO Limit Life

By Alexandra Burns, BA, RYT, OTS

NJOTA Student Member

I’ve always had a desire to meet people at the crossroads of their deepest fears and seemingly insurmountable limitations, grab their hand, and say, “Let’s go. We’re getting through this”.We all face these moments throughout our lives. Moments where illness, injury, or disability, either physical or mental, create that inner voice that only knows weakness and only sees boundaries. Slowly, habits and routines we once enjoyed seem to fade. Roles we hold may change, and our day-to-day activities become exasperating. This desire to help people of any age, with any health condition or disability, to live as independently and functionally as possible doing what they want to do, is why I chose to become an occupational therapist.

You see, the truth is, your life is shaped by occupations. Occupations encompass the everyday activities you want or need to participate in. In fact, everything you do can be categorized as a particular occupation! Eating, driving, spending time with family or friends, taking a yoga class, having sex, managing your home and finances and playing with your dog are all examples of occupations. By assessing a person’s unique environments, skills and abilities, and support systems, occupational therapists can creatively adapt and/or modify any activity in order to promote function and independence in valued occupations.

Last year while presenting my research at the AOTA National Conference in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend the keynote address given by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. The newlyweds were survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. After the horrific event, both Jessica and Patrick lost each of their left legs. They openly and bravely shared with thousands of future and current practitioners the pivotal role occupational therapy had in their rehabilitation. From adapting and modifying their urban apartment lifestyle, to helping them bathe their service dog, to assisting Jessica in making the harrowing decision to amputate her remaining limb after several failed limb salvage surgeries, their occupational therapist met them at every goal they wished to achieve. By assisting Jessica and Patrick overcome the physical and psychological imprints this devastating tragedy left on them, their OT helped them move on to the next chapter in their inspiring lives.

What exactly is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is an allied health profession that uses occupations to promote participation in a person’s role, routines, and habits within his or her lives. As OTs, we assist our clients across the lifespan in doing what they need and want to do in their everyday lives despite physical, psychological, and cognitive limitations. OTs use scientific research and evidence-based practice to develop holistic, client-centered interventions in their approach to treatment.

The future of Occupational Therapy

The pendulum of health care is swinging in the direction of client-centered care. Now, more than ever before, clients are seeing electronic documentation implemented through the use of online portals. Here, practitioners and clients can access their medical records and share important information. Occupational therapists are holistic health care practitioners who have an important role in health promotion and prevention.

Research has shown that occupational therapy supports independence and safety, quality of life, engagement in leisure activities, and overall increased function. OTs have a high potential to be successful in primary care. OTs have extensive holistic knowledge of health promotion, human development, disease processes, use of adaptive equipment, and lifestyle and behavior modifications. Furthermore, OTs can have an impactful role in implementing programs to address broader current societal matters such as opioid addiction, aging in place, falls prevention, and homelessness. The month of April 2017 marks the centennial of our unique and gratifying profession. It is our hope to see another 100 more prosperous and influential years.

Cover Image Credit: cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.


Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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