Occupational Wellness

This is part of our series on the Dimension of Wellness.

According to unomaha.edu: Occupational wellness is the ability to achieve a balance between work and leisure in a way that promotes health, a sense of personal satisfaction and is (for most people) financially rewarding. A person who is doing exactly what they want to do in life and is comfortable and content with their work and leisure plans is in a healthy state of occupational wellness. Our attitude and ability to effectively deal with work, school, and career goals greatly affect wellness, performance, interactions with others, and overall success. (https://www.unomaha.edu)

Career Wellness does not necessarily have to mean a paid job. Career wellness means doing meaningful work that fits with who you are. It is also about creating a balance of your priorities and different life roles. If a balance is not maintained you can become burned out, which will impact many aspects of your life.  

According to OSU.org: “The professionally well person engages in work to gain personal satisfaction and enrichment, consistent with values, goals and lifestyle. Career Wellness focuses on making decisions around a major and or career path and finding meaningful ways to use an individual’s strengths to better the community they engage in.”

The University of Nebraska Omaha lists some signs of Occupational Wellness:

  • Engaging in motivating and interesting work
  • Understanding how to balance your work with leisure time
  • Working in a way that fits into your personal learning style
  • Communicating and collaborating with others
  • Working independently and with others
  • Feeling inspired and challenged at work
  • Feeling good at the end of the day about the work you’ve accomplished

They also have some tips for improving one’s occupational wellness:

  • Don’t settle, keep motivated, and work towards what you want
  • Increase your knowledge and skills to accomplish your goals
  • Find the benefits and positives in your current job
  • Enjoy what you do, do what you enjoy
  • Create connections with your co-workers
  • Write out goals, create a plan to execute them, and then start working on your plan
  • Look for something new and/or talk to a career counselor if you feel stuck or unhappy

Careerlifechoices.com also has some helpful steps one can take to improve in this dimension of wellness:

  1. Evaluate Your Situation. The first step is to assess your situation and what is most important to you at this time. Are there any events in your life that prompt you to make a change? These could be dissatisfaction, mid-life crisis, or major life events such as birth, marriage, or divorce. The search is not just about finding a new job. It is about discovering “you”, re-evaluating your priorities, and what would bring more meaning into your life.
  2. Develop a Growing Mindset. It is normal to have some fears and doubts as you’re thinking about a change. Develop a mindset that would allow you to grow instead of letting your fears take control. Many people desire to make a change but they struggle with “yes, buts”. You often hear them say – “Yes, but how would I do that? What if this does not work?” Or “I don’t want to take a salary cut, and I don’t want to lose my vacation time.” Sometimes we work against our own best interest or have hard time with making the right choices. Shift your focus:
    What if things do work out? What life or career do you imagine? What if you take some small steps to help you flourish? How would things be different?
    Money buys happiness only to a certain level. How long are you willing to wear the golden handcuffs for? A salary cut may be necessary to transition to a new field or more fulfilling position. Increase your ability for delayed gratification, but also remain realistic about the long term prospects of the new career you are considering.
  3. Balance Work with Life. Accept the fact that you cannot be perfect in all areas. It is important to set some boundaries because it is easy to end up in a cycle of constant work.
    Think about how you define success?
    What are your current priorities and how can you set some boundaries.
    What different choices do you need to make?  Is it all about the money, the next promotion or something else in your life  such as a meaningful relationship or more personal time? What does it mean to have it all?
  4. Make Space for Hobbies. Maybe you want to bring a different side of you without quitting your job.  If it is difficult to give up that income and job security, a creative outlet can let you express something that is suppressed at work. Make space for a hobby, sign up for a class or volunteer as a way to learn new things, make new connections, and satisfy your curiosity. Connect with a non-profit organization, learn a foreign language, or start playing an instrument.
    Discover what is missing and what part of you wants to come to life… What roles and activities do you want to take outside of the office?
    Finding a balance, and tuning into our inner most desires and priorities is the first step you can take to improve your well-being.  Even though things may be messy or uncertain, they will prompt you to discover your best traits, desires, and create a better balance.  You have unwritten pages in front of you – be open to the possibilities, and what would be the ideal mix of activities to improve your career and well-being.

Career Wellness: How to improve your work and life balance.

Occupational WellnOccupational Wellness: Learning & Contributing | Student Life | University of Nebraska Omahaess: Learning & Contributing | Student Life | University of Nebraska Omaha

Tips on Improving Occupational Wellness

Occupational Wellness from ALA-APA

Seven Dimensions of Wellness | Grand Rapids Community College

How to Improve Occupational Wellness – Genesis Recovery

Vocational Wellness: Identify Your Interests and Achieve Fulfillment

Vocational Wellness: Small Actions That Pay Big Returns | Avail

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