Developing Recreation Therapy Skills in the New Year

As professionals, we constantly want to develop our Recreation Therapy skills and become better at what we do. The New Year is a perfect opportunity to make positive changes. Of course, change isn’t always easy. It takes time and effort. What’s the best way to grow? Start small.

Just like the treatment plans we create for others, we want to make measurable goals that are both challenging and attainable for our personal development. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with change. On the contrary, you want to embrace it with small steps on the path to developing better Recreation Therapy skills.

So how can we better ourselves in the New Year? What can we do to better serve our participants? In my years of experience, I’ve noticed some common themes. Let’s check it out.

Resolutions for Recreation Therapists

Are you ready to boost your Recreation Therapy skills? Here are some New Year’s resolution ideas:

Get Organized

Recreation Therapists often wear many hats throughout the course of their day. From managing staff, planning activities, documenting progress, and maintaining supplies, it seems there are not enough hours during a shift to get everything done. If you are stressed from all your duties and the inevitable “surprises” that occur with working in the human service field, you are not alone. Getting organized can be the grounding you need to be a better professional. But how?  Here are a couple ideas:

image of a planner

  • Keep a clean desk. I’m not going to lie, my desk is often a mess. As you could see from the header of this blog, it’s a dumping space that rarely gets a good cleaning. Of course, I don’t spend much time at my desk since I spend most of my day working with participants. But I do have those times where I spend more time than I should looking for important paperwork or resources. Resolving to take even a few minutes a day tidying up your workspace can save time in the long run.
  • Embrace “to-do” lists. We all have different routines when starting a shift. Some may gulp down some coffee while others listen to the latest gossip about what’s going on in the facility. Once you arrive at your shift, consider writing down a few things you need to get accomplished. Organize them by priority. As you begin checking off these things, you not only work more effectively, you also feel more accomplished in the often chaotic shifts of a Recreation Therapist.
  • Use planners. From traditional paper planners to the latest technology, it’s easier than ever to plan out your days, weeks, and months. Find what works best for you and make a routine of updating your planners. Soon it will become a habit.

Improve Your Recreation Therapy Skills

There are several ways you can gain knowledge and connect with other professionals as a resource for improving your Recreation Therapy skills. In this age of technology, it is easier than ever to complete your continuing education units (CEUs) and find someone who has answers to your Recreation Therapy questions.

For some of us, the end of the year means scurrying to meet our CEU requirements for recertification. Of course, we don’t have to procrastinate. Opportunities to learn and grow are offered year-round through online courses, conferences, and training sessions.

In addition, there are several online groups where Recreation Therapists can connect and discuss challenges, successes, and questions of the profession. Over the past couple years, a couple great blogs have also popped up to give free advice for improving Recreation Therapy skills.

Get More Respect in the Profession

Let’s face it: Sometimes at our facilities we are considered the “fun people”. Other disciplines may not understand the importance of Recreation Therapy and the major impact it has on our participants’ lives. They may see us as overpaid Bingo callers or glorified van drivers.

So how can we get more respect? This is probably the subject for a whole series of blog posts. The most important thing we can do is promote what we do so others realize we are more than just “fun people”. An inservice, pamphlet, or simply day-to-day communication can help promote your Recreation Therapy program. A great new blog that popped up, What the Rec, which, among other things, actually helps those struggling for respect in the profession find new ways to promote Recreation Therapy is a great resource.

Make More Money

We would all like to make more money. Recreation Therapy certainly won’t get your rich. But wouldn’t you like to have some extra money for an emergency fund or special trip? Private practice Recreation Therapy may be the answer for a great side hustle using skills you already have. One of my most successful blog posts of the year discussed private practice RT. I hope to explore the topic further in the upcoming year.

Of course, there are other ways to increase your income. For instance, I do freelance writing on the side. This is part of the reason my blog posts were less frequent this year–I was blessed with a bunch of writing jobs. Think of some of the ways you can use your skills to make income besides your regular job. Once you start making money from it, you may be surprised how some of your free time can become profitable.

Break Bad Habits/Get Healthier

Okay, this one is obvious. We all have the intention of shedding some extra pounds, going to the gym more, or finally ridding ourselves of bad habits. Of course, by mid-January, many of these resolutions seem like a distant memory. Why? It’s so easy to retreat into our old ways of living. Creating more positive habits takes time and effort. And, more importantly, you need to start with small steps to create big change.

For example, say you want to lose some weight. As Recreation Therapists, we are often in charge of parties and outings involving going out to eat. This can put us in situations where opportunities for consuming extra calories are the norm. So what do you do?

Start small. For example, if you take your participants on an outing that involves getting a fast-food dinner, try to pick a lighter option on the menu. Or, even better, bring something healthy you can snack on while your participants enjoy their meal. Once you start noticing some changes, you may be more motivated to take more steps in improving your health.

Do Some Personal Recreation Therapy

Are you stressed out by your job? Working long or non-traditional hours? Recreation Therapists work when others play. Unfortunately, this can create a negative work/life balance which affects your personal well-being.

Why not practice what you preach? You know the importance of recreation for improving lives. Consider making it a personal goal to restore some balance in your life. Find a new hobby or reconnect with a leisure activity you used to find rejuvenating or restoring.

In addition to having a positive outlet for your stress, you may develop new skills that can help your participants. Try a yoga class, work on an artistic project, or take a short jog after work. Discovering recreation isn’t just for your participants–it will also benefit you!

coworkers shaking handsImprove Relationships with Coworkers

We all have those certain coworkers who may make our jobs difficult. The healthcare profession is filled with people having different personalities and agendas. Sadly, this can create a toxic work environment. This is something I plan to address in an upcoming blog.

In many cases, we see those difficult coworkers as adversaries. They bring us down. They make our jobs harder. We need to let go of these attitudes. There will always be people who we don’t see eye-to-eye with. It’s inevitable.

Why not just accept them? I know, it sounds difficult. Maybe impossible. Hear me out. We all come from different backgrounds, work ethics, and motivations. Just as you have difficulty understanding them, they probably don’t understand you. Try opening the lines of communication. Meeting them where they are at. Discovering who they are personally instead of making them a two-dimensional cardboard cutout of a difficult person. It may mean swallowing your pride, but it can also create an opportunity for collaboration, and [gasp] mutual respect.

Be the bigger person to improve your work environment.  

Make 2019 the year to Improve Your Recreation Therapy Skills!

It’s a New Year. A time of opportunity. Instead of settling into old habits, start making small steps to improve your Recreation Therapy skills to better serve your participants. Whatever your goals, I wish you the best in the New Year.

A Brief Real Recreation Therapist Year in Review

As I mentioned earlier, 2018 has been a busy year. I was blessed with many freelance writing projects as my “side-hustle”. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to create blogs for this website as much as I wanted. I do hope, however, the blogs posted were valuable to you and your professional development.

This year, almost 12,000 unique visitors checked out the Real Recreation Therapist blog. That’s almost double from last year. I am so happy to be a resource for those in the Recreation Therapy profession.

Let’s take a look at some of the most visited blog posts of the year. The top five articles viewed this year were a mixture of old and new blogs.

Simple Horticultural Activities

This older blog post found new life for those using search engines looking for Recreation Therapy activity ideas. In the initial article, I had a picture of a sprout emerging from a seed I used from an ordinary lemon at the grocery store. Since then, the plant thrived. Here is an update picture of the lemon tree I planted by using a seed.

picture of my lemon tree

Private Practice Recreational Therapy: The Future of RT?

I love this idea. Let’s explore it further in the upcoming year. It’s a great way to create opportunities and make some extra money.

Humor Therapy: Ideas for Recreation Therapists

We all need to laugh. In fact, it can be therapeutic. Check out this article to discover how.

Recreation Therapy Activity Ideas: Leisure Draw It!

This was one of my favorite activities to do during leisure education groups.

Why the Flow Theory is so Important for Recreation Therapists

By understanding this concept, we can improve our Recreation Therapy skills.

What you may have missed:

Here are some recent blog posts that didn’t quite attract the attention of readers I hoped. I do, however, think they are valuable for any Recreation Therapist.

Using Recreation to Promote Harmony

In a world seemed to be defined by our divisions, I hoped this post would promote much needed harmony.

Tips for Conflict Resolutions

I work in a setting with lots of conflict between participants. I hope to use this experience to help others successfully resolve conflicts with participants.

Therapeutic Wrecks: Recreation Therapy Stories

This idea came from a previous coworker. Unfortunately, the concept didn’t really get the success I anticipated. Maybe that can change in the New Year. Feel free to contact me if you had an activity that didn’t go as planned but you turned it into a success story. It can be an inspiration for others in the profession.

The Future of the TRRT Blog

I am going through changes to accommodate my personal development and family obligations. You will learn more in future blog posts. Fortunately, I plan to keep contributing to the TRRT blog to educate and inspire those motivated to use recreation as a means to heal and positively impact the lives of those they serve.

In addition to creating new blog posts, I am researching ways to make TRRT blog self-funding. I don’t want a bunch of annoying ads popping up or anything that will diminish the value of this resource. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a job board, online shop, and reaching out to those who have valuable Recreation Therapy products as affiliates. Let me know what you think. Or if you have a product or information resource that you feel will benefit others in the profession, let me know. I would love to start a partnership.

I’m optimistic about the New Year and hope you are, too. Let’s grow together in 2019. Thank you for checking out this blog and your continued support. I’ve had a chance to connect with lots of great professionals while developing this blog. I hope these connections continue in 2019.

The Real Recreation Therapist LogoTell The Real Recreation Therapist Community

What would you like to see in a Recreation Therapy blog? Is there a topic you may find helpful? Or maybe you want to contribute to the blog with an article or resource. The future is wide open. Comment below or contact me. Let’s make 2019 great for Recreation Therapists.   

As always, your likes, shares, and support on social media is always appreciated. I’m happy you all help get the word out about this blog.Take a few moments to share this post on your favorite social media platforms. Don’t forget to like the Real Recreation Therapist Facebook page. If you use Pinterest, check out my Recreation Therapy board with pins from featured articles and other resources.

If you are looking to connect with other like-minded professionals consider joining the Real Recreation Therapist Facebook Group.

Happy New Year!

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