Wednesday, April 13, 2011
OT A to Z: L is for Leisure
"L" is the OT alphabet represents leisure. Leisure is defined as a" non-obligatory activity that is intrinsically motivated and engaged in during discretionary time, that is, time not committed to obligatory occupations such as work, self-care, or sleep” (Parham & Fazio, 1997, p. 250). Akin to interests, leisure activities are those pursuits that we engage in because we enjoy the activity. Leisure activities are those things we look forward to doing and fulfill us in a way that other things that we are required to do often do not. Since it is not something we are obligated to do, very few of us would spend the time and energy engaging in a leisure activity that we did not like.
From a perspective of occupational balance, we would agree that everyone needs to have the opportunity to engage in leisure activities for optimal health and well-being. However, most of us can readily identify barriers to pursuing leisure activities. Do OTs have a role in addressing leisure participation at the community level? If so, what could that look like?
We all probably have leisure activities that we would be interested in pursing if it weren't for time and money (sailing in the Caribbean would be high on my dream list of leisure activities!). Whereas we may not get the opportunity to pursue all leisure activities that appeal to us, is the opportunity to participate in some form of leisure activities a fundamental right? If this is the case, when populations have limited opportunities - perhaps due to socioeconomic conditions or limited accessibility - is this an issue of occupational justice? If so, what is the OT's role in addressing leisure participation for disenfranchised groups?