Occupations, anything we spend our time doing (Hammell, 2009), can help us experience wellbeing (Hammell, 2009, 2020; Moll et al., 2015). As occupational therapists, we believe that what we do, how we do it, and what our activities mean to us affect our wellbeing. When we work with clients, we look at the big picture - considering the whole person, what they would love/want/need to do, and where they do it - and we discover, explore, and create possibilities for doing through partnerships with people.
To explore the experiences that support your wellbeing, check out this reflection tool: Occupations, Wellbeing, and Me

I want to learn about...

Health is not the same thing as wellbeing (Hammell, 2020a). The medical view of health focuses on the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural symptoms that a person may experience - it focuses on health being "the absence of the disease".

So what do occupations have to do with wellbeing?

Here we are starting a collection of knowledge sharing about general tips and strategies that you may find helpful for getting back to doing what you love & what you deem essential for your wellbeing. As always, you know yourself best so use your best judgement when deciding which pathways to explore. These pathways will share opportunities to engage in specific occupations.

Pathways to Wellbeing

Wellbeing is more well-rounded and it is possible for everyone, even when we live with many health conditions (i.e. see Lennox Thompson et al., 2020). 

Wellbeing includes:
a) accepting yourself and being yourself - all of you - your past, your present, and your future - realising and loving your humanity and realising that you're worthy
b) taking care of yourself and others
c) having a purpose in life - knowing what you're here to do and acting intentionally towards that purpose
d) experiencing joy and meaning through what you do
e) having hope for the future and what the future could hold
f) Having the capacity to change your world - the spaces in which you live and the social and institutional contexts - so that you are supported in pursuing your wellbeing and capacity to do what matters 
g) supportive relationships, interdependence, and belonging - feeling accepted as you are and being loved for being you - contributing to our lives
h) having access to choice and realising "I can do it" 
i) personal growth and becoming who you want to be
j) feeling safe

This list is not all the contributing experiences to wellbeing; globally, one item is not worth more than another - it is what matters most to you that counts. We would also like to acknowledge that what these look like, and when we have access to them, is influenced by social factors and forces, including racism, ableism/disableism, colonialism, classism, and the intertwining of these.

Sources of items on the above list:
Hammell, 2020 - b - i
Maslow, 1943 - j
Ryan & Deci, 2001 - f, g, h
Ryff, 1989, 1995, 2018; Ryff & Singer, 2008 - a, c, f, g, h, i
Wilcock, 1998 - b, d, g, i
Ungar, 2019 - f


For my Family & Community

Growing & Nourishing Hope

Learning with Joy

Caring for Myself

Connecting & Belonging

Caring for my world

Caring for Myself

Seeking Sleep

Money Matters

Caring for my world


Hammell, K. W. (2020). Engagement in Living: Critical Perspectives on Occupation, Rights, and Wellbeing. Mississauga, ON: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

Maslow, A.H. (1942). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370–96.

Moll, S., Gewurtz, R., Krupa, T., Law, M. Lariviere, N., Levasseur, M. (2015) “Do-Live-Well”: A Canadian framework for promoting occupation, health and well-being. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 82(1), 9-23. http://cjo.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/08/20/0008417414545981

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-166. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069

Ryff, C. D. (1995). Psychological well-being in adult life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4, 99-104. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8721.ep10772395

Ryff, C. D. (2018). Well-being with soul: Science in pursuit of human potential. Association for Psychological Science, 13, 242-248. DOI: 10.1177/1745691617699836

Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2008). Know thyself and become what you are: A eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 13-39. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0

Thompson, B. L., Gage, J., & Kirk, R. (2020). Living well with chronic pain: a classical grounded theory. Disability and Rehabilitation, 42, 1141-1152, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1517195

Ungar, M. (2019). Change your world: The science of resilience and true path to success. Toronto, ON: Sutherland House.

Wilcock, A. A. (1998). Reflections on doing, being, and becoming. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256. DOI: 10.1177/000841749806500501