I used to work for a wellness company that focused on six dimensions of wellness (seven or eight, depending on where you look). For the next few weeks, I’m going to focus on each dimension and give you tips on how to work within that dimension for yourself and your family.
This week, I want to focus on Vocational Wellness. Your Vocation is not just your job – it’s your life’s calling. Your purpose in life may manifest a bit differently as you go through the stages of life, but healthy people maintain their focus on what they are called to do. As a child, I was called to be a good student and daughter and to grow and develop into the professional I am today. Now I’m called to help parents of children with Autism use music to help make life fun again!
I worked in nursing homes for that wellness company, and it was difficult to talk to the residents about what they were called to do, since most had wrapped their identity up in their careers as a mother or in another job. In the nursing home, they had more difficulty understanding their Vocation. Sometimes, we may be called to care for other, or we may be called to let others care for us. Regardless, the discussion was always an important one and helped many residents to engage in activities they had either stopped doing or had always wanted to try but never did. One group decided to start a choir that performed at facility functions and holidays. Another resident decided to try to meet one new person each week. Others volunteered with the activity department in the facility. Some decided to focus on their rehab and family. One enlightened resident decided she was called to be happy and love others.
No matter what stage of life you are in, focus on your Vocational Wellness to remain healthy!
The Medical Wellness Center at the University of Miami defines Vocational Wellness as a fit between who you are called to be and what you are called to do. It is finding the place where your deep desires and gifts meet a need in the community. A “vocationally well” person expresses his or her values through paid and volunteer activities that are personally rewarding and that make a contribution to the well being of the community. Vocational wellness involves continually learning new skills and seeking challenges that lead to personal growth and a better world. Listening for and following your vocational calling is a lifelong process.
Here are some tips for maintaining your vocational wellness:
♫ Tune in – Decide what your calling is. Set aside some time to be still and quiet your mind. You may wish to be in silence, or put on some music that helps you to be instrospective. Then ask God, the Universe, or your Inner Self what your purpose is. Write down whatever comes to your mind, without judgment. I like to use a CD I found called Classical Daydreams by Tim Gorman or Deep Daydreams by Janalea Hoffman – a music therapist! Sometimes I’ll play a flute or drum to slow my breathing down, instead of listening to music.
♫ Tune up – Each day, set the intention of fulfilling your purpose for that day. Perhaps your purpose for today is to lay on the couch and relax. Or maybe it’s to write 20 new articles for your website. Or maybe it’s to play with your children and love your family. Set an intention for the the day and then go do it! Play some music that makes you feel good while you go about your work.
♫ Tune out – Perhaps your life’s purpose is too big for now. Don’t get hung up on that. Just decide what you need to do right now and spend 15 minutes doing it! You can help your child do something meaningful, like volunteer or contribute to the household by setting the table. You can practice piano like you’ve been meaning to all week (month?). You can spend 5 minutes making a list and organizing your thoughts. Or sign up for a sewing class like I did!