Bedtime Strategies for 3 Different Sleep Issues

Bedtime Strategies for 3 Different Sleep Issues

Sleep hygiene a significant contributor to performance behaviors. Achieving optimal hygiene requires effort and perseverance. To illustrate how one might achieve sleep below are three stories about three different characters struggling with sleep: C. Want, C. Fear, and C. Loathe. “I want to sleep more.”  C. Want follows trends. Routines include variations of: caffeine to wake or to keep aroused, sugar for quick surges of energy, social media avenues to distract feelings, and typically saying ‘yes’ to everything. The body works naturally by following a biological clock that organizes by daylight patterns. Want an energetic rhythm. Set up necessary sleep hygiene for daytime napping and body-inspired bedtime cues. “I fear over-sleeping.” C. Fear delays going to bed. Routines include variations of: denying fatigue during evening hours, working more after dinner, laying in bed with the laptop or smartphone, and falls asleep on the...
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Master Stress-management With A Multi-Dimensional Approach

Master Stress-management With A Multi-Dimensional Approach

  When walking stairs the body needs to balance on one foot in order to lift the other in motion upward or downward. Eventually both feet land on one surface. Learning how to master taking a step is multi-dimensional. It requires physical, intellectual, and emotional performance. Mastering managing stress is multi-dimensional. The following story illustrates two different reactions to stress: One adult recalled that her father was a friendly, loud, active man who loved to play with her in a very active way when she was small, picking her up and tossing her in the air. Unfortunately, this woman was severely gravitationally insecure, so every time he did this she was terrified, and she hated having him come near her as she did not know when she would be tossed about. Her father felt rejected by her response and eventually gave up interacting with her, resulting in a significant emotional distance between them. She recalled one particular day, when in exasperation, her father told her,...
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A Swing In the Workplace Will Improves Beyond Employee Moods

A Swing In the Workplace Will Improves Beyond Employee Moods

Designers are slowly emerging with incredibly functional and stylish swings. A swing is a simple way to improve mood in the workplace. Swinging stimulates two body systems: vestibular and sensory. Each contributes to balance and spatial orientation for overall coordination. They also modulate mood states (Winter, Walmer, Laurens, Straumann, Krueger, 2013). When a swing moves in circles, twists or moves outside of the typical back and forth path it becomes a mechanism to excite. This effective alternative may replace caffeine or ignite motivation. Swinging got lost in interpretation as children's form of play.  If you work near a playground then take a recess to get through work. Jump on a swing before stress heightens emotional tension. Mood states when spinning demonstrated a lack in increased heart rate, confirming an absence of negative emotions (Winter, Walmer, Laurens, Straumann, Krueger, 2013). It also ignites the vestibular system's substantial effect on our mental state. Invest in performance by swinging often. Hang one from the beams in the...
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How Light May Improve Sleep and Overall Health

How Light May Improve Sleep and Overall Health

Light may lull the troubled sleeper right to sleep! Prior to the discovery of electricity, light from the sun controlled sleep-wake cycles.  Artificial light disrupts this natural rhythm, not only in our external environment but also inside our bodies. Questions to Ask: Are you aware of outdoor lighting conditions? What effect does indoor lighting have on you? Do you feel sleepy when it gets dark outside? What time do you shut off electronic screens (TV, phone, computer)? The Circadian System Our circadian system controls the processes within our body that follow a 24-hour cycle: hormone regulation, body temperature, and sleep/wake cycles. How Light Affects the Circadian System A collection of cells called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) send signals throughout our body to help regulate us to our 24-hour day. Light travels first to our retina, then to our SCN, and ultimately to the pineal gland, which releases melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel...
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What Distorted Thinking Is and How To Stop It

What Distorted Thinking Is and How To Stop It

In the past there were few classrooms or households teaching exactly what a healthy relationship is. Parents may model valuable aspects but don't physically sit down with their children as teachers of Relationships 101. A healthy relationship from 'the inside out' identifies what communication can become. Healthy relationships begin with an honest self assessment. It requires being prepared for a life-long journey of education. It is effortful work, time and awareness to identify then replace distorted information that the mind believes as truth. There are many layers to replacing distorted thinking. Author and professor Benjamin K. Bergen explains in Louder than Words that we simulate experiences, actions and performances in our mind through a scientifically proven process called embodied simulation. "Meaning, according to the embodied simulation hypothesis, isn’t just abstract mental symbols; it’s a creative process, in which people construct virtual experiences—embodied simulations—in their mind’s eye." (Scientific American, 2012) Bergen identifies that we do this deep within our brain processes, during our waking and sleeping hours. Therefore, mental...
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One Simple Step to Get Your Sleep

One Simple Step to Get Your Sleep

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 pull away from that to-do list or mindless moments prior to bed time. To activate change the brain needs an inter-connection across the non-conscious and conscious domains (Charlesworth and Morton 2015). The body clock is one way to achieve sleep. Chronobiologists identified 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. Self-control weakens through the day. Our body performs through energy. We wake up with a full tank of energy then slowly exhaust it through mind and body activities. Since our brain...
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Key Aspects to Achieving These Seven Leadership Values

Key Aspects to Achieving These Seven Leadership Values

Occupational therapy practitioners are found in a variety of industries outside of health care, including automotive, architecture and non-profit sectors. Jim Burns is a major in the U.S. Army as well as chief of O.T. at Evans Army Community Hospital in Fort Carson, Colorado. He quoted Max Depree to support his opinion of what the key aspect of leadership is: selfless service. "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; the last is to say ‘Thank you.’ In between the two, the leader must become a servant." Burns integrates an abridged version of the U.S. Army's leadership development philosophy in his philosophy of these seven values: Discipline, Motivation, Altruism, Physical Fitness, Continuing Education, Creativity, and being Respectful. Values emphasize behavior patterns, goal setting, and communication. Each requires an internal force or the will to act. Collaboration and connection builds achievement. Social-being cues senses to form opinions. Design...
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Five Questions to Identify Which Stress Condition Is at Risk

Five Questions to Identify Which Stress Condition Is at Risk

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'. Research resolved speculation of body and mind side-effects as early warning signs of job stress, including: cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal and psychological disorders. Workplace injury, suicide, cancer, ulcers and impaired immune systems are more often...
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Design for Physical Environment, Work Attitudes, and Wellbeing

Design for Physical Environment, Work Attitudes, and Wellbeing

Interior design is a rewarding way to nourish behaviors. Rooms or offices designed with the user meets personal needs by aesthetics and task functionality. The insight of a designer facilitates the 'look' and furnishings, yet an opinion without understanding performance restraints functionality unique to the user. A relationships exists between the physical environment, work attitudes and wellbeing (Hammon and Jones, 2013). Aesthetics prime feelings and direct behaviors. When a steady grip is on a hot beverage then perception of peer attitudes sway towards warm, friendly (Bargh, 2008). The opposite is true with a cold beverage. Sight perception may trigger a responses for safety, avoidance, or adversity. A practical approach to creating or organizing a work space is to fist explore then identify work task elements. These may include time demands, stage of life, natural lighting, and body regulation. Secondly, observe reactions to color, form, object scale, and lighting. WholeBeSM Design Toolkit identifies specific performance elements unique to work roles, work space, and performance behaviors. Our performance...
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Loyalty in Life

Loyalty in Life

The word "loyalty" has deep roots. "Loyalty in life" involves perception and emotion. It's similar to allegiance and includes a sense of duty. At times our behavior isn't loyal to our values. Like snapping at someone you love because you are sleep deprived or hungry. This is an example of how loyalty can waver due to poor self-regulation. Sleep is one of the first things to go as a result of job deadlines, travel or family obligations. Anxiety becomes the antagonist to lack of loyalty! GIG Design's WholeBeSM process recognizes the following six core aspects: Physical Occupational Intellectual Spiritual Social Emotional The first step is to recognize your self-regulation issues. Loyalty in life directly affects your health, your relationships, and your success. Design Sensibility is taught with our WholeBeSM Toolkits. Read more about our services. //  ...
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Six Key Employee and Workplace Contextual Elements

Six Key Employee and Workplace Contextual Elements

There are workplaces with a culture expectation of work tracked by shift hours or a behavior standard to cover all tattoos. A workplace belief and custom may be whispering through cubicle workstations. These are examples of contextual elements in the workplace. Context is one of three performance factors used to improve performance outcomes. Contextual elements identify opportunities for education, employment and economic support as accepted by the culture in which one is a member. Context is one of three performance factors to divide performance into behavior-specific elements. The elements categorized as contextual include: expectations of culture, personal beliefs and customs, behavioral standards, demographics, stage of life and history, and relationship to time.   Occupation and sense are the additional factors to organizing performance elements. The context factor digs into workplace policy and procedures, as well as the employee's present state of workability, perspective, and values. When employee...
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When Work Routines Are Necessary or Not

When Work Routines Are Necessary or Not

Creating routines improves performance because by nature it becomes a habit. Being of a curious nature provides moments of drifting off a routine path. This initially offers excitement and may lead to altering a routine. It may also result in suffering. There's risk in drifting off routine, yet there is reward with sticking to them. Routines create commitment. It may be a cultural routine which often is temporary. However, routines are patterns of behavior that are observable, regular, repetitive and provide structure for daily life.* Psychology Today presented how people often change in unpredictable ways over time.  "Ultimately, of course, we bear the responsibility for who we are. But the way we influence who we are isn't by simply deciding to be different. We have to be clever. We have to pull levers—arrange positive influences—that actually yield the changes we want." This may be why a routine is temporary. Questions to Ask: Which internal influence draws out of a work routine? ...
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Why Replacing Rules with Values Replaces Wisdom with Expertise

Why Replacing Rules with Values Replaces Wisdom with Expertise

We kick around the terms wise and expert when claiming a person's character. The word 'Ecclesiastes' means teacher. This biblical book endorses wisdom for a well-lived life.  Wisdom is acquiring knowledge by experiencing and exploring all the resources. 'Expertise' is a claim for being the best at systematic thinking or beliefs. Individuals who are wise aren't necessarily experts. Health claims about products, strategies, or environmental effects aren't all in agreement. One individual may follow their curiosity with discernment to challenge their doubts and beliefs. Another may follow curiosity along one belief, quick to deny entertaining alternatives. Some examples are health supplements, medication, diet, or types of fitness. The art of persuasion is a daily occurrence. Internal conflict is experienced when a behavior is scolded from a resource that is inconsistent in their behavior. Persuasion may break belief, values or trust with residual unsettling feelings. Those who experienced a forceful 'time-out' as a child because they modeled an adult's behavior may relate here. Persuasive...
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Relaxing is Healthy

Relaxing is Healthy

How often do we need to remind ourself that relaxing is healthy? It's an activity worthy to schedule. 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 is a role that holds significant value to work, household management, education, socializing, etc. Questions to Ask: How many times in one day is their a period of relaxation? Is it counterproductive to relax for five minutes an hour during a work day? What is involved in a period of relaxation? Does periods of relaxation cause the feeling of restlessness, as though it's 'waisting time'?   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...
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Create a Trust Environment

Create a Trust Environment

I remember what I was wearing, the room I was in, the furniture, the color...the smells. Past memories surface when least expected. In a fleeting moment confusion may occur. The mind races towards how to direct behavior. A task or person may trigger past trauma, pain, or uneasy sensory memories. Aware or not, everything registers in to the brain as a memory (ASA 2014). So colors, objects, people, patterns - anything in the line of sight (and peripherally), smell, taste - all registers as 'data'. The brain organizes this information to use as a response behavior. Trust is included in the life memory bank. Comfort, safety, restful environments or things are included as trustful. This intellectually driven method aids to establish trust. Conflict resists trust. The brain organizes conflict into 'fight' behaviors like passivity, anger, or manipulation. It's capable of experience-dependent change. It needs present experiences to change its original interpretation. Questions to Ask: Is there a person or people at work...
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Try These Five Breathing Boosts To Overcome Feeling Tired or Burned Out

Try These Five Breathing Boosts To Overcome Feeling Tired or Burned Out

Sigh. Not a word muttered, yet a deep exhale is serious communication from the body. Over ninety percent of my clients need to be re-educated on breathing due to poor oxygen intake or poor energy conservation. It's time to breathe. Harvard Health claims "reawakening (breathing) allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms." In times of stress or pain deference we unknowingly hold our breath. This brutal beating ages us. Try these five breathing boosts to overcome feeling tired or burned out: Take a Deep Breath offers the science of breathing. Breath Focus is an excellent reference on relaxation offering one to ten minute techniques. When the ideal environment isn't available for you to relax, your imagination always is! Harvard Health's 10 minute relaxation technique may guide you through a thoughtful process into your imagination.  That image, object - your 'go-to' places can be used without delay, any time, no matter how much time is available. The idea is this: incorporate relaxation into your day.  Shift a reactive measure into...
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