Buttoning a shirt. Tying shoelaces or a necktie. Scratching that hard-to-reach spot on the back. These are some of the things we may take for granted but are actually “meaningful activities” because they are everyday aspects of Active Wellness and impact the quality of our lives. Sometimes a life event might transform these everyday activities into goals. Beginning in 2010, that’s what World Occupational Therapy Day celebrates every year on October 27: helping people across their lifespans to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities.1
We might not think about these daily activities until they’re hard to do. Finding ways for us to do them is what occupational therapists are concerned with.2 An occupational therapist will talk with us about our needs and goals. They’ll do tests to find out our strengths and challenges, then come up with a plan to reach our goals. This will include exercises and activities to strengthen our skills. While the word “occupation” usually means a job or profession, it can also refer to daily activities that let us live independently and bring meaning to our lives.
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) is the international voice of the profession and globally comprises 101 national organizations. World Occupational Therapy Day is the opportunity to promote their holistic approach to maintaining mobility throughout life. Occupational therapists focus on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, who is considered an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.3
This year’s theme for World Occupational Therapy Day is “Belong. Be You.”4 OTs (as occupational therapists are known for short) do just that: help us belong in our Global Wellness Community by being ourselves, as purposeful participants in Active Wellness.