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Whose occupational balance is it anyway? Strategies for living a more balanced lifestyle

Clouston, Teena ORCID: 2013. Whose occupational balance is it anyway? Strategies for living a more balanced lifestyle. Presented at: College of Occupational Therapists 37th Annual Conference, Glasgow, UK, 18-20 June 2013.

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Occupational therapists believe that achieving meaningful lifestyle balance can create a state of wellbeing. Yet research of work-life balance in contemporary market economies suggests that how we spend our time is imbalanced, biased toward the activity of paid work (Bunting 2005; Hochschild 2008). This paper will describe the findings from a qualitative study that interviewed occupational therapists working in health and social care in the UK about their experiences of work-life balance. I will summarise how the majority of respondents, regardless of their knowledge and understanding of occupational balance, felt pressured to spend more time and energy in paid work than in other life activities and described living very imbalanced lives. In support of theories of occupational balance, this was recounted as leading to experiences of stress and ill-health. Interestingly some individuals, whilst experiencing the same pressures and conflicts in everyday life as their colleagues, were able to find solutions and make compromises that worked for them in terms of achieving a sense of balance and wellbeing in everyday life. It is the stories of these respondents that I focus on in this paper. Their attitudes and approaches to everyday work-life or occupational balance offered a sense of hope and some practical solutions for us as occupational therapists, and that of our clients, in managing the pressures of paid work in modern life. Notably, the choices these people made to achieve this state were not without compromise: in essence it was how they perceived the outcomes of the decisions they made that was the true measure of their success in finding their occupational or work-life balance. Bunting M (2005) Willing slaves: Why the overwork culture is ruling our lives. London: Harper Collins. Hochschild A (2008) On the edge of the time bind: Time and market culture. In: C Warhurst, RE Eikhof, A Haunschild, eds. Work less, live more? Critical analysis of the work-life boundary. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 80-91.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
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Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 01:48

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