Wellbeing Design Diary: Awareness

Wellbeing Design Diary: Awareness

Design Diary
How is mental and physical awareness important to health, relationships, a meaningful life? WholeBeSM is a process used personally and shared as a coach. Perfection is unattainable, so the method repurposes passion. In conclusion,  rewards of victory! There are effective nuggets of this method and process. This diary will share what, how and why wellbeing + design is effective. Design Sensibility is the process of awareness of the person, tasks, and environments that play a part to current and future health. Furthermore, it's an exploration of physical, occupational (activities), intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional values. This process heightens awareness to health barriers, health resources and results in healthy habits. Disclaimer: This is my journey. A friend of mine shared a term one doctor uses to describe a person's lifestyle: circus. So, by using this…
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Which of These Fuels the Ability to Focus?

Which of These Fuels the Ability to Focus?

Physical
It's the start of one of those work day's that required every effort to make it to the gym. There's the smell of coffee lingering at work mixed with the aroma of fresh bagels beside a buffet of cream cheese choices. The apples don't have any odor but their shiny appearance jogs memory of the juicy crunch behind it's skin. Which of these fuels the ability to focus? Recently we did an experiment with the various fuel octane types used to fuel the SUV. The manufacturer recommended 91 octane. With 89 Octane the fuel burned faster then what 93 provided. The recommended premium octane proved to save in efficiency at four more miles per gallon. Every vehicle manufacturer identifies what octane is optimal for vehicle performance. Claim your stake as being…
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Have You Seen Sensory Integration Improve Work Results?

Have You Seen Sensory Integration Improve Work Results?

Workplace
Recently I watched this hilarious story that James McAvoy shared on the BBC Graham Norton Show. In his attempt to vulnerably communicate to a recipient who spoke a different language he appeared to confess the forbidden. If you have seen or experienced sensory integration improve work results then James' experience is relatable. Sensations are like languages. Sensations affect the end result. Check out this list of sensory scenarios. When laying in bed while reading a book you become sleepy. When you smell coffee you want to taste it or become alert. When you put on formal clothing you become empowered. Every body has a unique inner-dialogue between sense and perception. Similar to a foreign language, an experience to one person is likely completely opposite to another but it's within the same…
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20 Questions For Sleep Awareness

20 Questions For Sleep Awareness

Physical
In response to the statement "employers can educate shift workers about how to improve sleep" in the NBC Health's reveal we aren't getting enough sleep, here are 20 questions to get started. Answers are provided at the end. How many hours of sleep per night do you suspect the average American gets during the week? How do you think this ranked with the other countries: Japan, UK, Germany, Canada, Mexico? How about on the weekend: U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, Canada, Mexico? Questionnaire respondents were asked: How much sleep do you need to function best? What do you suspect they answered: U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, Canada, Mexico? What do you think differences existed amongst different countries? How does culture effect sleep? How many hours of sleep are recommended for adults ages 18-64? How about older adults…
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Lay Down Sleepy Head. You’ll Be Wiser For It.

Lay Down Sleepy Head. You’ll Be Wiser For It.

Physical
We personally know Client Want, Client Fear, and Client Loathe. Which one are you? “I want to sleep more.”  Client Want follows trends. Their routines may include caffeine to wake or to keep aroused, sugar to quickly surge energy, social media to distract, or saying ‘yes’ to all things. The body works naturally by following a biological clock according to daylight patterns. Find this rhythm. Rest assured a full night of sleep will be the reward. Values in diet, exercise, creativity, spirituality, and social behaviors directly effect the body’s ability to lead a peaceful slumber. GIG Design identifies sleep as an 'occupation' within a physical lifestyle. It's fundamental to wellbeing. In solo pursuit of more sleep, begin a sleep diary. Log how and when daily values are applied and their outcomes. “I’m…
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Getting to Bed

Getting to Bed

Physical
Of course it is best to get those seven to eight hours of sleep in for the next day to run smoothly. The tricky part in achieving this is to pulling yourself away from your to-do list or the mindless moment prior to bed time. Recently, chronobiologists found that we have two types of body clocks. One reason getting to bed may be difficult is because your personal clock is socially directed toward your body's opposite needs (Keller and Smith 2014). This means practicing self-control when it comes to your attention and effort. To say, "I'm getting to bed early tonight," is a start, yet self-control requires physical methods to make a set bedtime a reality. Our brain works by patterns. To activate change it needs an inter-connection across the non-conscious and conscious domains (Charlesworth and Morton…
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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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Wake Up in the Morning

Wake Up in the Morning

Physical
Estimating time is a skill that improves as we age. Neuroscientists support through research that our brain triggers this skill while we sleep (Aritake and  Higuchi 2012). It helps us wake up on time. We are capable of ending sleep accurately, up to ten minutes from the desired wake up time without an alarm clock. Non-REM sleep is a slow-wave type of sleep necessary for normal physical and intellectual performance and behaviors. Sleep deprivation causes the brain to activate sleep rebound or pressure responses. Reduced daytime activity and sleep disruption will respond with poor daytime performance (Trinidad and Miguel 2011). REM sleep supports your mood and memory. This sleep stage occurs repeatedly. Sufficient REM can nix the need for your alarm clock. Wake up in the morning!  Do you want to make it easier? Pay attention to daytime activity…
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Sensibility

Sensibility

Spiritual
Have you danced without music? Recently, in the midst of what I hoped to be a long pause with online radio, I continued to dance without music. My hope was 'my sensibility will improve'. Just what is sensibility? It's the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences. A lack of sensibility may impede performance with misguided responses, lack of attention, or situational discernment. So how does one strengthen sensibility? When athletes strengthen skill they first recognize their weakness. Scientists have proven that when a performer focuses attention externally rather than internally then performance is enhanced. If it's a sprinter with a speed weakness then their mindset is 'imagining the ground as a hotplate' not 'striking with your forefoot'. In parallel, an example to strengthen a work…
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What does rhythmic pattern mean?

What does rhythmic pattern mean?

Intellectual
Recently a client passionately shared the fact that everything has and needs rhythm. He had many illustrations to support his thought-provoking and scientifically proven theory. However, his suggestion that I was a product of rhythm, the movement of my parents having sex, struck me. I reflected on the melodic and beautifully comforting concept of the moment of conception. If I had seen that point of view earlier, I would have been more merciful toward my dad and mom.  I do my best to consider their sacrifices through my childhood but sometimes I'll remind myself of my girlish, manipulative behaviors to refresh my deep gratitude.  I matured and love my parents for who they are. Within that truth, I'm nourished and able to love myself plus others. Just days after my…
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DeClutter Clothing

DeClutter Clothing

Design Diary
There has been many times where I looked in my closet and thought to myself that I have nothing to wear.  Ironically, my closet is filled with clothes and shoes. Sometimes I feel that closet management can be a huge issue. I have so much stuff that I'd resort to dumping my clothes on the top shelves or buried deep into my dresser.  In an OT visual discrimination activity, we often have people perform activities such as word search or ask them to find all the aces in a deck of cards scattered on a table.   If someone has visual spatial or visual discrimination issues, our recommendation may be to block out a portion of the what they are looking at to help isolate the image or to facilitate the search.  De-cluttering is merely the same idea, filtering things you don't use…
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Morning Crazies

Morning Crazies

Design Diary
Planning what I wear to work has been harder over the past year. With shared spaces, what should easily be a 15 minute or less routine, often becomes a hunt.  Where did my favorite top go? Running between laundry baskets or digging into drawers is not uncommon.  I know my role with morning crazies requires a change in multiple areas: environment, obtaining specific items, senses, attitude. Consider reorganizing closet space The closet situation is not working out.  Hangers are a desired item in this bedroom.  I thought back on a time when this was not an issue. Picture a large closet with a glowing light filling it.  That closet brought about borderline morning miracles on a daily basis. Clothing Simplicity The next area to tackle was my mind.  Was my desire to switch…
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Alone Time is Healthy

Alone Time is Healthy

Spiritual
The word "alone" can mean different things. For instance, the self-employed person uses "alone time". Going through your morning routine, doing a crossword puzzle, or cleaning the house are all activities done during "alone time". Most parents would be ecstatic to have an hour of alone time. However, there are other times that being alone can be uncomfortable or down right scary. Being alone can resonate with our spiritual core. We believe our health depends on spirituality. It helps us establish values, adhere to our beliefs, and discover ways to thrive. Spirituality empowers us as we find our purpose. Alone time is healthy. We all experience it. It is what we do with it that can help us grow and succeed. So, if you're not utilizing your "alone time" to…
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Base Color on Emotional Solution

Base Color on Emotional Solution

Emotional
If you have the time, go to Google Images to search 'earth tones'.  The top 10 images include graphic design, tile, fabric, craft ink, stamp ink, fine art, a social website, makeup, and the Earthtones CD cover is, of course, earth tones. Creative use of color may be one tool to living healthier. Here are five considerations to base color on emotional solutions. When it comes to bedroom design, the Home Buying Institute says, "Earth tones are always a safe color that will appeal to the majority." The San Francisco Gate nods to this idea, including that "earth tones are frequently used in craftsman, bungalow and modern architecture. Light earth tones in shades of sand or beige help a small bedroom look larger and brighter." In fashion, earth tones are ever present. They…
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Facts About The Relationship Between Stress and Sleep

Facts About The Relationship Between Stress and Sleep

Physical
Neurosicentist Russell Foster nailed the facts on sleep in his most this TED talk. His advice rings true and in line with wellbeing education and strategies we facilitate. Sleep rebuilds bodily needs that logic is unable to do. Here are Foster's facts on sleep: Retaining information while sleep-deprived creates a self-battle - 'smashed' is how Russell described the war. Sleeping enhances creativity because while sleeping that function is strengthened (creativity = problem-solving). What we burn up during the day is restored while we sleep. What we burn up during the day is restored while we sleep. It's worth re-typing. Fatigued brains crave strategies to wake it up like drugs or stimulants. Caffeine represents the stimulant of choice across much of the Western world. The other stimulant is nicotine. Fueling a waking state with…
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Coping Strategies for Stress

Coping Strategies for Stress

Emotional
Have you been pushed to a point to leave your job? Office politics and peers are two known challenges to personally coping with stress. Personal issues add stress into work environments, too. Those committed to adhere to a stress-filled work role require behavior strategies for compromising. Stress coping strategies might challenge another core lifestyle role. Especially when values and morals are compromised. Children model their elders in life experiences. They learn what their values, morals and beliefs are within their surroundings. Their ideas on handling conflict blooms from their culture.  When people share stories about how conflict or violence shaped their success and failures it offers diverse opportunities in how to cope or strategize for managing stress. Conflict is personal but it reaps great rewards when openly discussed and resolved.…
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Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

Color and Pattern Relationship to Life Experiences

Design Diary
The human eye can see over 7 million colors. Visual stimulation is fascinating.  On top of that, we can see patterns (2D) and texture (3D).  Plus, wall colors and patterns can really change a room’s atmosphere. Colors such as sage green and soft blue are particularly calming to me. Perhaps, these colors remind me of a green grass knolls and the endless blue sky. Neutral colors in particular can calm your senses as well.  In contrary, colors such as bright red, orange, electric (neon) yellow or pink may be quite exhilarating. I like wearing these colors to work out. Not to mention, it might prevent a car from hitting me when I'm on the road.  Polka dots, contrasting checkered bright colors can be very alarming or alerting.  There are patterns…
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What It Takes To Sleep

What It Takes To Sleep

Physical
Our sleep patterns are effected by stress, our daily activities and prep-for-bed routines. Here's what it takes to sleep by visiting our sleep environments: The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Report Card states that 90% people watch TV before going to bed, 33% are on the computer.  Their Fact Sheet states the bedroom is for two things only: sleep and sex. Their tip: Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and comfortable. Think window treatment fabric and quality, materials to dampen sound (i.e.: carpet, wall insulation, noise-reduction product). OT Idea: Know sleep and rest are an occupation you're responsible for. Understand your sensory needs then create sleep and rest environments to support an ease into sleep, to maintain sleep without disturbance, to accomplish a full night (7 to 8 hours) of sleep. Examples…
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Overcome Floundering With These Seven Sleep Basics

Overcome Floundering With These Seven Sleep Basics

Design Diary
The American Occupational Therapy Association dedicated an entire issue to sleep.  Rightfully so, it usually takes up a third of our day, if you're lucky.  Within the article, it is cited that 10-15% of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia and 5% suffer from obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Those statistics are alarming - there are a lot of sleep-deprived people driving, working and attempting to function in everyday life.  Certainly good habits around sleep are important but sometimes that is easier said than done. Sleep Basics Make sure the bedroom is a restful place.  Have inviting comfortable linens, a heavy blanket, your favorite pillows. Avoid stimulants or exercising 2 hours before bed.  But do be sure to include exercise daily to help establish an appropriate sleep rhythm. Establish a consistent nighttime routine and…
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Boost Sleep

Boost Sleep

Physical
All this social media talk about sleep. Is it overrated? Sleep is an occupation that directly supports its counterpart occupations like work, self-care, participation, education, and interdependent relationships. When you're unable to sleep an average of 7.5 hours daily occupations may face an uphill climb to simply focus then act. The less or more sleep the steeper the hill to being productive or to be at your best performance (Hublin et al 2013). Recently, I've been burrowing stress and it's surfacing. I can't fall asleep! Do you sympathize? Share your story in the comment section below with that remedy (or others) that worked. Perhaps, you're a pro! Any routine may remedy next day blahs. But is it creating a healthy lifestyle for gracefully aging? Let's beginning with the notion of…
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Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

Texture Helps Us Make Sense of Our Environment

Design Diary
  Since being sold in the 1990s, the family farmhouse has changed hands twice and continues to be renovated. My German relatives originally came to NY in 1904 to start a farm and family.  This last week I was able to go back to visit with my Yaya (grandmother) and boyfriend.  All the memories of the interior were vivid but there was no longer that physical reminder.  Outside, the barns still stood but were certainly in a further state of collapse and seemed so much smaller compared to my memories. Over a diner breakfast, Yaya reminisced and mentioned that her favorite rooms in the house were her bedroom and the kitchen.   As she talked about why, she consistently got hung up on the feeling of the quilt, lighting, the kitchen…
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