Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Why Inhaling Lavender or Coffee Effects Work

Occupational
Inhaling scents directly effects moodiness. A scent like coffee may become a game changer in the workplace. Yet, which scents are truly helping or hindering work? Unity, health, and confidence may be produced by just one scent. We may create a common place by using external factors because they effect each of our internal factors. This second annual bean report in celebration of Easter reveals inhaled effects from the scents of lavender and coffee. A bean and a bud captures the essence of Easter in a variety of ways. The emphasis here is the need to do: plant it to produce. Did you know 'GIG' is the acronym for 'Good Is Ground'? Similar to beans and buds, when the terrain is fitting the crop produces. Scent aids in changing behaviors. A drafted scent can produce improved performance. Within…
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Eighteen Tips For A Remarkably Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

Eighteen Tips For A Remarkably Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

Occupational
The holiday weekend is here! Does that mean scrap your healthy lifestyle? We're dishing and digging into our blog and Pinterest archives to share eighteen tips for a remarkably healthy Memorial Day weekend. Below are three awareness tips within the six lifestyle goals we collaborate with our Clients on. RAINY DAYS MAKES WAY FOR INDOOR PLAY Who said it has to be sunny to move and shake over the holiday? Holidays aren't an every day thing so be inventive. Turn up the music, look at your furniture with beginners mind, and let the laughter begin! If being indoors makes you want to eat more check this out to undo that mode of operation. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Free yourself to jump on the bed or couch. Every so often isn't…
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Think of Your Health As If It Were Your Employee

Think of Your Health As If It Were Your Employee

Occupational
Following 173 pages of short stories, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki instantly empowers.  At the time I read this finances were strained but there was a quick reveal for motion into better health by page two. Robert's first proficient fact: schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, not money or finance. Where the reveal occurred was as Robert shared the difference between two influential men to his upbringing. One, a father-figure he began to model. The second, his natural father who was loving but had a different way of living than the other. Robert compared the influence of his two fathers: ...one dad had a habit of saying, "I can't afford it." The other dad forbade those words to be used.  He insisted I ask, "How can I afford it?" One…
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B.E.I.N.G. Is To Boldly Exist in Necessary Growth

B.E.I.N.G. Is To Boldly Exist in Necessary Growth

Occupational
Comfort and safety are needs we seek for wellbeing in the workplace, relationships, and home. Who's the expert defining your sense of belief in what is 'safe' or has 'comfort'? Some might say its the leader in a culture. Others may argue its trend-led. There are marketing messages, spiritual guides, and slogans that manifest the idea of what's comfortable and safe. My clinical and design work deduce all theories to this: the expert is the Experience. "If you're comfortable in life then you're not maturing." Anonymous Humans instinctually seek to feel safe but stretching outside of comfort may compromise quality of life beliefs. B.E.I.N.G. are five points for safety and comfort strategies that may improve performance and manage stress.  Here's how to Boldly Exist In Necessary Growth: Boldly   Occupational Justice is the…
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Lighting Conditions

Lighting Conditions

Occupational
My best friend is a lighting genius. Wherever we go, he is certain to make spot-on, insightful observations of the lighting.   He also has a keen ability to capture light in even the simplest of photos taken on his phone. Light was never something I paid much attention to. I knew that I loved to take outdoor breaks throughout the day, but I attributed the invigorating feeling to fresh air and soaking up some Vitamin D from the sun. Then, last year I found myself in a job where I spent a lot of time on the computer. I was in a tiny room with drawn blinds. The only source of light came from the undersurface of cabinets anchored above our work desks. For the first time in my life, I was…
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Job Stress

Job Stress

Occupational
One-fourth of all employees view their job as the number one stress in their lives. ¹  Yale University found that twenty-six percent workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed by their work. ² Health care expenditures are nearly fifty percent greater for workers who report high levels of stress. ³ The National Institute of Occupational Science and Health state that job stress is: the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Identifying the varied signs of job stress are what occupational therapy practitioners are skilled at. Stress is rarely seen as serious by both employees and employers. It's become a societal norm that people simply refer to their day as 'so busy'.…
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Eyes on Screens

Eyes on Screens

Occupational
This last week I've spent more time on my computer than usual.  I have certainly felt accomplished but after a few days in a row, I realized my eyes hurt.  For many working people, staring at a computer for several hours is the norm in the workplace. That means, hours of screen time not including late night television binges, texts to friends, or surfing the net for recipes. Some side effects of all this time spent with our eyes on screens can be eye strain, headaches, or vision changes. If continued long term it can lead to potential health risks. Below are some strategies for screen time usage: CONTEXT Connect -meet in an environment that supports listening to a person instead of texting; be certain any screen is at least 20-40 inches away; invest…
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Surrounded by Four Walls

Surrounded by Four Walls

Occupational
The best canvas in a room is a wall. Instead of believing you're surrounded by four walls, consider the ways you could put writing on the wall.  It's a designed greeting to direct the success you imagine. Below are ideas to get your creative started... [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="700"] DESIGN^under-responsive | Resting room designed with consideration for your best self if muted or delayed responses to daily sensory events[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="736"] DESIGN^sensory craving | bedroom design consideration to achieve your best self if with an insatiable drive for enhanced sensory experiences[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="736"] DESIGN^taste | ideas relevant to negative, avoidant, aversive, or defensive behaviors for food prep sensitivities.[/caption]
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Surprise Behavioral Health

Surprise Behavioral Health

Occupational
Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow says, "You are more likely to learn something by finding surprises in your own behavior than by hearing surprising facts about people in general". Do you adapt well to surprises? What is your reaction when you drop a glass and it shatters on concrete? Your response is the focus to this question. It may bring out your inner three-year old behavior from the first glass you broke.  It may bring about the angst of a tedious cleaning process you don't have time for. Either instance likely defines the remains of a day. Anger, fear, stress, or anxiety following a surprise affects every organ in your body as well as everyone surrounding you (Siegal and Bergman, 2006). How do you change your behavior following a surprise? Kahneman…
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Stand Up For Your Health at Work

Stand Up For Your Health at Work

Occupational
There is still buzz about standing or sitting with work. That conversation with your colleagues may have begun with your employer. This is good! Ask where they get their health data. The internet is full of health and wellness recommendations. Is the information from a credible healthcare professional?   Beware when it comes to health advice. Work isn't a foreign concept. It's just that our bodies are not designed to stay in one position for a long period of time. This applies to sleep, too. Historians have proven the recommended 8 hours isn't what our bodies naturally need. It was a forced decision as documented in 1829 to sleep in one shift, not two. So who do you follow when it comes to health and wellness? First, listen to your body. Recognize an ache…
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Estimating Time Accurately

Estimating Time Accurately

Occupational
How long will it take to get out of this mess? When will I stop this bad habit?  How many months will it take me to reach my goal weight? A professional organizer, psychologist, and dietician will know the answers to these questions. Estimating time accurately is a skill that begins with board games as a child. It improves or weakens based on how you practice it.  What activities do you do that allow you to estimate the time needed to finish them?  The more you do, the wiser you become at estimating time. The ability to make accurate estimates is closely tied to the ability to understand and solve problems (resource). Knowing approximates for things we do prepares us for the future. When the ability to plan is poor, confidence weakens because targets or goals…
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Break It Down Logic

Break It Down Logic

Occupational
Storytelling works together well with designing. Openly sharing experiences on paper or with people adds dimension. When details are disclosed about how something came to be we create intimacy with the listener. This enables long-term improvements to mood and health (Pennebaker, 1997). Vulnerability forms. Words shape into octaves, fragrances, or whatever sensation the Storyteller forms. Trauma creates stories. Every human has words untold, stories bound to their bones by their brains. Aging is the framework of un-silencing those believable forms that words created. The mind and heart seek health by being a Survivor, not a Victim (Grossman, 2006). Are you a Survivor? If so, you're breaking down step-by-step actions which is key to Post-traumatic Growth. Tasks include performance demands on our body, relationships, and community. A simple task like recycling involves few…
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Peers In the Workplace That Are Recovering From Trauma

Peers In the Workplace That Are Recovering From Trauma

Occupational
Peers in the workplace that are recovering from trauma will have difficulty verbalizing their emotions or even a simple thought (VanderKolk, 2014).  There is an uncertainty about life that confuses as they sort through their trauma.  With time and repetition, their communication patterns will slowly form into crisp, clear, confidant responses. Confidence often comes after strategy. Chess is a great example of strategy. Wikipedia enlightens on the historical game of chess, once called curling: a great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. Workplace culture words optimize strategies. Teamwork helps but listening and comprehension is key.  A safe environment and it's objects enable trust.…
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5 Ideas To Endure Sitting At A Desk For 8 Hours

5 Ideas To Endure Sitting At A Desk For 8 Hours

Occupational
As I was whistling-while-I worked today, an alarming thought gave me pause: could I survive sitting eight hours at a desk? Today was a good day because I didn't sit.  I accomplished all of my things-to-do from my list of the things I love-to-do, moving about creatively and solving problems. Without movement, interaction, and creative thinking I lose energy and interest.  Pamela Crooke at social thinking recently shared this about what my brain might weigh-in on this matter: Our brains are pretty resistant when it comes to changing something we’ve done for awhile or something we find pleasurable. In fact, a professor from Stanford recently published a book on willpower and describes the brain as something that operates on the levels of “I will”, “I won’t”, and “I want” (McGonigal, 2012). If…
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Respond to Anger with Kindness

Respond to Anger with Kindness

Occupational
We are unique! Our behaviors respond in different ways. At work leaders may tell you to respond to anger with kindness.  Effective communication is often interpreted as kindness. Put down the mental shot gun of using feelings about the subject, current mood, and impressions to achieve this (Kahneman 2011). Begin with understanding one's true nature. We respond with harmony or discord. Understanding one's personality and temperament helps develop healthy relationships. It enhances goal achievement. It enables you to respond to anger with kindness! If knowing one's true nature sounds like a winning solution to you, below is personality and temperament descriptives. Personality A collective of an individual's attitudes, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles and other individual traits that are innate, predisposed and endure over a long period of time. We recharge one…
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Four Remarkable Movements to Avoid Standing Fatigue

Four Remarkable Movements to Avoid Standing Fatigue

Occupational
We've been blogging on the huge trend for using standing tables. One type of modified stance we need to bring in to conversation is to lock the knees. There have been incidences where individuals had fainted after locking their knees when standing for long periods of time. Occupational therapy practitioners teach individuals about fall prevention and also educate people about safe postures. For someone who is anemic or have hypotensive(low blood pressure),  they are more susceptible to “orthostatic hypotension”.  Some call it dizzy spells, orthostasis, postural, headrush or lightheadedness.  Basically, what happens is that blood pools downwards down to your feet and not to enough to the brain (cerebral perfusion) when there’s a change in body position.  Usually, it may take about a minute for the blood pressure to equalize. Four movements that relieve standing…
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Nine Leg Positions Meaningful to Healthy and Successful Aging

Nine Leg Positions Meaningful to Healthy and Successful Aging

Occupational
A major misconception regarding occupational therapy is that we only work with the upper body. There are occupational therapy practitioners that specialize in hand therapy because our hands help us eat, balance a check book, drive - communicate. Our legs equally help us to sit, stand, push on a gas pedal or to maneuver around objects to get to something or to someone. We don't specialize in leg therapy, yet we do specialize in the purpose and performance of everyday and meaningful activities. Below are nine leg positions meaningful to health for the achievement of successful life-long occupations: Sitting Sitting habits may be with a leg crossed over the other, one leg's foot tucked under the opposite buttock, or both feet between our buttocks and our seat. With repetition over an extended…
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Selflessness as Free Medicine

Selflessness as Free Medicine

Occupational
When you get stuck in a rut and are so so stressed out how do you feel? At a pivotal point in my life ten years ago my feelings kicked me into action mode. I believed the stride required being alone but chose environments that supported healthy healing to cope through the stress. Loneliness lengthened my healing process. We are relational beings. Once I learned a method to break down self-judgement and shame I slowly invited others into my life. This action taught selflessness. Lets look at how research supports selflessness as free medicine to mind, body, soul. Giving or sharing is an innate feeling (Brown 2003). Like all other behaviors it requires acting on the feeling over time to become a skill, habit, pattern. Sharing space with others improves the…
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The Sit or Stand Ordeal Is Suspicious to Research Bias

The Sit or Stand Ordeal Is Suspicious to Research Bias

Occupational
Lately the question to stand or sit at a desk has been a hot topic in research. Conclusively, consumers hear it's better to stand than to sit or that sitting is bad for you. Before identifying whether its good for you to sit or stand lets first unravel research bias. In the Brain Science Podcast 97 on Nueroanthropology, Dr. Downey (neuroscience) and Dr. Lende (anthropology) explained that they met while debating points over their cubicle. Ten years later and over hundreds of miles between one another they instinctively began to contact one another. The gesture was to compare points in order to glean off from one another's expertise. Research may be where it becomes skewed says Dr. Downey: There's a whole emergence, for example, of cultural neuroscience; of research teams, that often times…
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Body Mechanics to Better Your Health

Body Mechanics to Better Your Health

Occupational
Form and function are two basic principles to designing objects. Function may include the dimensions for an intended space or the comfort to sit for long periods of time.  Examples of form include knobs or drawer pulls. Each of these examples beg for both perspectives, the formula form + function. What is it that draws you to an object or the appearance of a room? Buying furniture or interior decorating is like dating. You may think they are the perfect partner but it doesn't last.  A chair that fits perfectly with an heirloom desk may cause back discomfort. Do you break up with furnishings to better health? Relationships are desirable when unity is present. Aging and routine resistance training cause muscles to build and weaken unevenly (Degens and Erkins 2009). Disturbances in…
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Sensation to React

Sensation to React

Occupational
Sensory Defensiveness results in behaviors that create barriers to lifestyle performance. Occupational therapists are trained to reduce its ugly effects. At a Sensory Defensiveness certification we used role-playing to gain compassion to this behavior. We were challenged to lead one of our peers around the conference grounds for a total of ten minutes. The peer had to keep their eyes closed while the leader had free reign to command them to reach, stoop, step...any action to challenge a sensory experience into feeling lost or without defense. Humans have the ability to sense then behave through actions for safe, healthy cope techniques with all feelings. What we choose to put into our space may have a direct effect to being open or defensive (Cox, Burns, Savage 2004). It varies with each person.…
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8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

8 Easy Freebies For Guaranteed Body Support At Work or For Travel

Occupational
Adjusting to work conditions as a telecommuter has its challenges. Good fortune may bring a flat surface wide enough to support a laptop. Typically, its propped across the legs with occasional havoc if they're crossed. The back bumper of a car may become a chair. A work surface may be the cost of a warm beverage. Sometimes the price jacks-up when there's the unfortunate parking ticket. Of course, there is that occasional back corner desk that costs musty smells from trash-worthy office furnishings. A spirited stress-less performance while on the road depends on adaption.  This doesn't mean to desensitize postural or mental supremacy. These costs become epidemic to musculoskeletal disorders to the spine or hips or suppressive anxiety beatings. The occasional is an exception but retirement may span into later years if hospital bills or…
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Cure Motion Sickness Instantly With This Controversial Remedy

Cure Motion Sickness Instantly With This Controversial Remedy

Occupational
In my recent travels, I discovered that I had motion sickness.  It surprised me to learn the onset of this phenomenon can be during adulthood. People who were sensitive to motion sickness at a young age may grow out of it. I’ve always been able to handle roller coasters, swings and even cruises. Everyone of course has different thresholds. It wasn't until the speedy and rocky speedboat the other week nailed me.  I was nauseated and dizzy. Typical motion sickness! I had to remedy the situation since I knew I had 2 more hours to go until I reached port. Cause There are multiple sensory systems that register movements including inner ears and eyes. Also included is something called proprioceptive input which is the sensory feedback in your joints that…
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Relaxing is Healthy

Relaxing is Healthy

Occupational
How often do we need to remind ourself that relaxing is healthy? It's an activity worthy to be scheduled in. Europeans do. They shut down businesses for up to 6 hours after noon. Sweden recently introduced a six hour working day (Matharu 2015).  Leisure is one way we occupy our time within those everyday life activities (AOTA 2014). This occupation role holds significance value as with work, household management, education, socializing, etc. Improve health and productivity by incorporating the occupation of leisure into your occupational lifestyle. A recent study of 600,000 global men and women found those working 55 hours or more had a 33% greater risk of a stroke.  A visually inviting green space, a flower filled office rest area, or even a nearby stoop by a bush creates a sense…
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Assure Freedom From Injury With This Effective Posture Checklist

Assure Freedom From Injury With This Effective Posture Checklist

Occupational
I have a confession. I slouch when I use the computer. The longer I'm on the computer, the "slouchier" I get.  It's bad. I know.  Admitting the problem is half the battle. Alot of people use computers for work and/or leisure. It's practically a requirement for alot of jobs and for students. Though this instrumental activity of daily living (computer use) is also so common, we often dismiss the fundamentals of computer use. Forget the technical side of it. We are not talking about how good you're with excel or how savvy you are with social media.  Alot of computer classes may teach about computer use, but they rarely talk about posture and positioning of equipment. Lets focus on body alignment and posture.  These four resourceful questions liberate both mind and body before diving into each day of work: Are you slouching,…
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Design For Ergonomic Positioning, Pacing, Creativity

Design For Ergonomic Positioning, Pacing, Creativity

Occupational
A task that we all do, all too often, is email and texting. Before smartphones and laptops occupational therapists were steadily treating carpal tunnel. We still are, yet smaller devices increased rehab needs for Repetitive Strain Injury's or De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis diagnosis. Carol Leynse Harpold offers Ergonomics and Texting Thumbs interventions. Below we offer Carol's and our OT ideas to design for ergonomic positioning, pacing, along with other creative techniques.   Eclectic Home Office design by San Francisco Architect Nick Noyes Architecture   Pacing: a work setting that provides various spaces to take a break, change body position. Pacing: reduce text time by setting a timer Pacing: If limiting time or taking a break isn't an option consider using a keyboard Position: to accommodate back and neck posture in task with arms rested at a height suitable to…
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12 Posture Tips To Energize, Add Grace, Ease Aging

12 Posture Tips To Energize, Add Grace, Ease Aging

Occupational
Growing up I always remember my mother saying “Stand up straight!” or “Sit up!”  I certainly always tried to be conscious of this – especially since I only reached a maximum of only 5’ 4”.  My sister who hit an early growth spurt was a little more defiant. She hunched, slouched and bent over to be the height of her friends in photos and to meet classmates eye-to-eye. Now that wisdom has set in, I understand my posture will energize, add grace, and ease my aging process. Here are 12 posture tips I share with my clients. Posture portrays a lot. Postures often are circumstantial. Playing with kids versus meeting a new business partner secures a difference. Centering yourself during meditation is genuine posturing. Physical body appearance may portray confidence,…
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One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

One of These Three Stress Responses Will Empower You To Boost Performance

Occupational
While sitting at your desk, working in the kitchen...in every task and environment your senses are bombarded. All information comes to us through sensory input. An average of 2,000 bits of information per second enters our brain (Willis 2009). Although, everyone processes through this information differently. Our senses first sift through all of it before it even reaches our awareness.  Neurologically our body organizes then attempts to adjust its reaction to an impulse. Modulation provides a behavior that safely adapts to the stress of change with less risks on health. Everyone responds to stress differently. Knowing how your senses respond may empower you to boost performance: Some of us are sensory over-responders, in which we react to sensations faster and stronger than those with normal response levels (Reynolds and Jane 2007).  These aren't willful,…
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