‘Occupation can create new visions of possible selves’ (Mandel et al 1999- see Books tab at top of page)
The Lifestyle Redesign® approach in Occupational Therapy includes using occupations, or activities, to help individuals create new ‘visions’ of possible future selves. In a simple way, we can all relate to this if we think about the way we feel as we begin a new fitness regime, have a wardrobe clear out or de-clutter our desk at work. In the process we imagine how we will behave and how our daily life will be different as we adopt the new habits we have embarked on… we can also all relate to the fact that sometimes several attempts are needed before the vision becomes a reality!
Occupational Therapists using this approach use activities and the seemingly ordinary, everyday narrative that naturally develops to help an individual explore possible new ‘visions’ of the person they might be in the future. If someone has a medical condition that seriously impacts on their daily life, or has had a life changing injury, this process can help to build a self image that ‘bridges’ the old self and the new.
We are what we do and the process of developing a vision of a future self is something to consider when Age Proofing your life. Talking about the present and future changes in your life, trying new activities and generally following some of the ideas from this A-Z series of blog posts will help to support you in the process of exploring possible new ways of being through doing.
Even when life is changing and we cannot do all that we used to, engaging in daily activities and routines that have a sense of meaning allow us to experience a vision of a future worth living.