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"It is the activities that we engage in on a day to day basis that make us who we are" ~ Shoshanah Shear

What is occupational wellness?

According to SAMHSA, occupational wellness is personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from one's work.

Why is Occupational Wellness Important?

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. That's roughly a third of our life. So, finding a work-life balance helps promote a healthy state of occupational wellness. A person engaged at work typically experiences a greater sense of personal satisfaction and finds greater content with their work and leisure balance.

Several things influence the direction of our careers, including our culture, education, and core traits - personal values, beliefs, and interests.

Finding the right career is more than making money. It's also about finding purpose and meaning in an activity that aligns with our talents and values. Having a job that provides a sense of accomplishment and pride gives us reason to stay motivated. It also keeps our emotional state and mental capacity thriving.

How To Find Satisfaction at Work

It's not always easy to find personal satisfaction and enrichment from one's work. People often feel stagnant and unhappy in their lives as a "spillover" from being discontent and unhappy in their occupations. Although, sometimes, it's difficult to pinpoint what to change or even what we want to do. Do we need to change careers or just find a new job?

Our work environment (the people and place that we work) is one aspect that affects our sense of satisfaction. Finding qualities that increase efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and job commitment include:

  • Positive management styles

    • Democratic methods (visionary, coaching, transformational, collaborative) utilize group thinking and open communication to take advantage of the group's diversity.

  • Praise and recognition - acknowledging someone's contributions to the team or linking salary or bonuses to activities or production can increase output motivation.

  • Communication and engagement - internal communication (with employees) can be just as important as external communication (with customers) to build trust and team collaboration.

  • Workload - the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities (projects) and set healthy boundaries builds confidence and productivity, creating efficiencies and higher-quality work. However, being overburdened can lead to increased stress levels, mental disengagement, or burnout.

  • Future opportunities - advancement is one of the most significant reasons for career satisfaction. Tangible goals offer motivation and mental stimulation for individuals to pursue their unique ideas of success.

Compensation is another component of our job satisfaction, driven by our desired lifestyle. There are several ways to make more money. Some of the most common suggestions include: 

  • Changing careers

  • Requesting a raise

  • Freelancing - blogging, coaching

  • Selling something - tap into your crafty side

So, once we determine what we want - the ideal environment with engagement, respect, motivation, and fair compensation, then we need to pursue the change.

How To Make a Career Change?

We can achieve occupational wellness by participating in activities (paid or unpaid) that provide meaning and purpose and reflect our values, interests, and beliefs. But finding this activity (or job) takes thought, time, and effort. Some of the areas to explore include: 

  1. Decide if you need to make a career change. Or if you need to find another job in the same field. Sometimes conducting a self-assessment can help you decide by providing a list of occupations based on your interests.

  2. Once you have a list of opportunities, explore each option to determine education level, requirements, and typical responsibilities.

  3. Take action, set goals towards your new career.

Speaking to a career counselor may accelerate the time necessary to change careers and expand on these steps to help us explore new opportunities.

Goals, Mindset & Growth Mentality

"People with a growth mindset believe abilities—like talent and intelligence—can be developed through dedication and hard work. They're more likely to enjoy learning, seek out situations to experiment, and see failure as an opportunity to grow." (Dweck)

Developing a growth mindset empowers us to engage in innovative thinking without fear of failure since mistakes are opportunities for us to learn. Individuals with a growth mindset are willing to ask questions and seek creative solutions to problems. We can examine goal setting (solutions-focused), a positive attitude toward the workplace (what can I change), and continuing to have a can-do attitude, without catastrophizing mistakes.

Occupational wellness involves pursuing activities that develop personal satisfaction, meaning, and life enrichment that reflect our values, goals, and lifestyle. Finding a work-life balance with a career that stimulates our mind and leisure life that provides joy leads to occupational wellness and a more satisfying, thriving life.

Questions to Guide Your Occupational Wellness:

  1. Are you able to find satisfaction and balance in your work, play, and other aspects of your life?

  2. Have you explored different career or volunteer options that fit your values and give you a sense of accomplishment and pride?

  3. Have you established realistic career goals?

  4. Do you know what skills are necessary for the occupation(s) you are interested in?

  5. Do you continue to develop good work habits (dependability, initiative, etc.)?

  6. Do you work effectively with others?

  7. Do you have open communication with co-workers?

  8. Do you manage your time effectively between work and leisure?

If you start exploring occupational wellness and find yourself struggling to identify the next step towards your ideal job, please follow the link to talk more about how I can support you on this journey. WovenGrace Wellness.

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