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…
Read More
18 Diet Resources That Will Empower Your Life

18 Diet Resources That Will Empower Your Life

Physical
Are you fed up with your eating habits? Are you tired of feeling bloated or depleted of energy? We've got 18 diet resources listed below that will empower your life. Doctor Norm Boeve has witnessed the strain obesity contributes to a person's skeletal system and overall health. "Everything you put in your mouth works toward either health or disease. Think 'Is this bad for me'?" Doctor Boeve is a retired orthopedic surgeon who now spends a portion of his time writing in publications and presenting on the importance of choosing to live a lifestyle for health prevention. Below are diet books and websites Boeve recommends.   The best "Starter Book"   How Not to Die (Prematurely) by Michael Gregor Excellent General Book    Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman MD For those seeking information…
Read More
What No One Tells You About Your Cravings

What No One Tells You About Your Cravings

Physical
Do you have an insatiable drive for enhanced experiences? This magical central nervous system response coined in the occupational therapy field as Sensory Craving, may also bring distress. Over the past 20 years I've facilitated sensory needs for the mild to severe cases in adults and children. Fortunate for me...because I'm a mild Sensory Craver. I've witnessed the havoc and joy in managing sensory responses. Craver's desire the excitable - blinking lights, rollercoasters, or a lifestyle like being an entrepreneur or overextended work loads. Adversely, there's also the need to continuously be engaged. For sanity sake a body needs it's rest! The superior advantage of the central nervous system is it triggers behaviors that appear as natural cravings. An example of a craving is body exertion through movement. Pushing, pulling,…
Read More
Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Vanilla Is The New Superfood

Physical
Some of us at GIG have nixed sugar in support of improving performance. Seeking ways to get that 'sweet' something took a turn. It's not out of craving but joy. Jelly Belly's and licorice jelly beans are ultimate favorites. It's nearly impossible to push these past loves out of memory. Grocery stores stock end caps with every brand, flavor, and comic character. Matters get worse Easter season. Then...we rediscovered the vanilla bean. Immediately we dug into research about this saving sweet bean. Vanilla contains chemicals called vanilloids. They reduce inflammation. Stress causes inflammation which reduces mental performance. When stressed the body naturally releases an inflammatory protein (cytokine) to signal systemic inflammation behavior to other cells. Inflammation reduces brain function. The compounds in vanilla reduce stress when in its most natural state…
Read More
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…
Read More
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…
Read More
Reacting to Stress

Reacting to Stress

Physical
This past weekend while on a walk my converse slipped on a bank covered with wet leaves. Friends and I had a good belly laugh due to the sight and unexpectedness of it all.  If I relived that experience with out my friends beside me I wouldn't have laughed. As an infant we learn how to protect our body from falls, how to react to words or people's tone of voice, and how to interact while in different moods. These are all learned behaviors. Reactions to stress stem from learned childhood behaviors. Let's use stairs as a metaphor.  To our physical needs we need to balance on one foot in order to lift the other in motion upward or downward. Eventually both feet land on one surface. Much the same,…
Read More
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…
Read More
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…
Read More
Increase Your Creativity

Increase Your Creativity

Physical
Do you believe it's possible to reduce or increase your creativity? Recently a friend challenged me to try the following formula: 30+ minutes of movement + outdoors + listening solely to the sounds of the natural surroundings = a boost of creativity by 90%! Initially, this came as no surprise. Does it to you? Research continues to prove that we can enhance our natural creativity. In addition to regulating sleep, body temperature and libido, Serotonin is also proven to increase creativity.*  Serotonin levels increase with exposure to bright light, exercise, diet (chickpeas and wild seeds vs meat proteins), and self-induced changes in mood.** My friend's formula falls right in line with these four natural ways to get a creative boost. So, why is it important to increase your creativity? Harvard Business Review…
Read More
Lifestyle Impact

Lifestyle Impact

Physical
Consider this: your daily lifestyle begins and builds upon what you see and seek. Do you agree? If yes, you are in the company of medical generalists such as family practice physicians and pediatricians who graduated from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. The American Medical Association is on board with ACLM's mission to change daily living patterns and habits that support improvements to our health. Occupational therapy practitioners also agree. Traditionally our focus includes preventive contexts of daily activities, habits, patterns and routines. Lifestyle impact exceeds co-dependency on self-help books or eastern medicine. Our idea here is first a genuine self-assessment of your senses to benefit healthy lifestyle impact. This can be accomplished through the sensory impact of the products and spaces you use. Know your behaviors then begin…
Read More
Live and Learn

Live and Learn

Physical
To say, 'live and learn' is all toooo cliche, yet so true! Here's an example of a recent teachable moment plus five steps to reduce being unaware of what life may be teaching you. It began with how often I use my pool. You see, I moved into a new place just over a year ago.  Initially, I envisioned living near the ocean with a roommate to balance out the cost of additional preferences. I ended up with a better option: my own space with a pool. It took me nine months to use it! Now, this is odd because one way I calm myself is by touch, so my quick go-to may be a soft blanket, a hug or a bath.  Daily I gazed past the function of the pool with…
Read More
Methods to ‘Calm Down’

Methods to ‘Calm Down’

Physical
Have you read the book, The Five Love Languages? A psychologist recommended I read it in preparation for dating. One friend learned I read this book and exclaimed: 'That book is the wedding gift I buy for everyone!' It's understandable because Dr Chapman teaches a simple, physical aspect to relationship - 'love language'. “...Expressing love in the right language. We tend to speak our own love language, to express love to others in a language that would make us feel loved. But if it is not his/her primary love language, it will not mean to them what it would mean to us.” Dr. Gary Chapman What does this have to do with methods to 'calm down'? Love needs 'language' to emphasize its relational, an expression, an action. Calm needs 'down' to emphasize the…
Read More
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Physical
Hot coffee is one of my favorite ways to start the day.  I love the routine of it, the smells that fill the kitchen and the way milk twirls, turns about until mixed. But the longer lasting reaction is a little more complicated.  I have begun to notice that the effects of coffee, i.e. flying through the fastest workday feeling, also comes with some side effects.  After a few sips, I begin to lose touch with my body and ultimately with where my personal sensory needs are at. Benefits of Self-Regulating: Increasing your focus to what requires your attention To further take care of yourself and your present needs To be able to engage in meaningful life activities Ability to deal with difficult situations that arise Know yourself better. Prevent.…
Read More
Four Reasons A Mini Trampoline Works

Four Reasons A Mini Trampoline Works

Physical
Here's one idea to help get past that midday point: trample through it! When most reach for caffeine, sugar or just plain zone out, a mini trampoline (also known as a rebounder) is better than a candy dish for visitors.  It would certainly bring laughter into your work space! Below are four reasons a mini trampoline works in the workplace. Jump and chat. Kick off your pumps and jump. Start jumping contests with co-workers.  Ten jumps or fifteen seconds on the mini-trampoline can circulate your blood to wake up your brain and body, lower stress, and cuts out unnecessary snacking! Katrina manages a team of over sixty employees within an international business. She vows her rebounder is an asset to managing the stress within her day: Outside of many health…
Read More
Smoking and Anxiety

Smoking and Anxiety

Physical
When I overlooked health to discover the joy of smoking there was an immediate bond. Not only did I have no desire to quit but it was a behavior that integrated into every one of my day-to-day functions. Habits may be useful, dominating, or impoverished. They may also interfere with performance in areas of occupation.* To support smoking I would dwell or create environments for it. Specific products suited for the behaviors of smoking were also in my surroundings. And that exceeds just ashtrays. I could smoke anywhere but the ideal experiences were in the comfort of it's suited intention: to distress, to relax, to problem-solve. A space, plus its surroundings - people included - supported my performance needs of smoking and anxiety. Alternatively to smoking and anxiety are those healthy-habit seeking reasons…
Read More
Adjust After Traveling

Adjust After Traveling

Physical
Do you experience difficulty to adjust after traveling? Below are a few ways I regulate into 'normal' routines. In order to distance from stress with the onset of loneliness, anxiety and fatigue I use the following strategies to adjust after traveling. ROUTINES Being away from home lends to falling out of personalized routine. I've found it effective to ease back into normal routines by adding one patterned task every few days or so.  Prioritize those tasks that waver from routine then focus on one, one day at a time. LONELINESS Traveling often is filled with laughter, fellowship, conversations, and crowds. For those of you who are single, the loneliness following travel seems amplified. In reality those with partners feel lonely, too. My first day back home from the holidays I booked my spring…
Read More
Pain At My Shoulder

Pain At My Shoulder

Physical
This last Sunday I went to a yoga class filled with a variety of people.  Regardless of where you are at in life, the instructor gave the most simple and wholesome advice: know your body. It’s by knowing where you are strongest, where you have ached in the past, how you sleep every night, what your job tasks require, where your mind wanders. By knowing yourself, recognizing and being aware, we are able to evaluate and eventually bring changes. This leads me to my right shoulder. Over the past… 10 years… I have had on and off pain at my shoulder which has affected my posture and ability to walk long distances before experiencing pain. I know this of myself and at times I appreciate it and make changes and…
Read More
Reduce Aging Hands With These Reliable Tips

Reduce Aging Hands With These Reliable Tips

Physical
A few weeks ago, an older woman who was previously a nurse held her hands in front of me.  She said, “Look, look at the difference.”  She further explained that the course of moments and experiences weathered her hands. Particularly the right hand, as she is right handed. Hands guide us by driving. They lift and make us stronger.  They write love letters and e-mails to those across the country. Whether evaluating each curve and line closely or running out the door our hands deserve authentic attention and care. Hands are integral to function every day. Reduce the aging process with these five reliable tips: Wash them.  Particularly, with a soap that smells invigorating or maybe relaxing or reminds you of vanilla sugar cookies. Moisturize them.  While doing so, it is a great…
Read More
Here’s One Way To Avoid Injury in Pilates

Here’s One Way To Avoid Injury in Pilates

Physical
A few months back I shared my new adventures and history about Pilates, found here. So far, I really enjoyed my classes. However, due to the price and my hectic schedule, I opt to do my basic Pilate’s exercises independently. Once you have the foundation of pilates nailed fitness goals may take off with the use of a ball, mat and props for the full Pilates work out. However, I do recommend taking a few classes first before you take off on your own. This helps avoid muscle strains or engaging wrong muscles when moves are practiced incorrectly.  I hadn’t realized that I had been doing my sit-ups wrong until I took the first Pilate’s classes. For the love of saving money here's one way to avoid injury in pilates when practicing…
Read More
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…
Read More
The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

The Wellbeing Tactic of Conserving Energy

Physical
Last night my brother-in-law asked my opinion on the blueprint for their kitchen. It's naked to the studs with an open map to plan task paths. We moved the location of light switches, refrigerator, dishwasher and talked through the ergonomics of a built-in nook. The emphasis here wasn't only ergonomics but their lifestyle, functionality and how to best conserve body energy . Built-in environments benefit from incorporating the wellbeing tactic of conserving energy.  This strategy reduces the onset of fatigue. Clients that incorporate Energy Conservation Techniques (ECT) prevent illness and injury. This occupational science study shares successful outcomes for a group who implemented ECT through an OTs guidance. Below are four principles the UofM Inpatient Acute Care team endorses: PACE  Stop. Rest before you get fatigued.  It is easier to recover your energy by avoiding to…
Read More
Measured Movement

Measured Movement

Physical
Over the past few longer and sunnier days, I've found myself wanting to move more.  I seek being outside walking around instead of hibernating.  This sense of longing certainly comes and goes throughout the year - not due to a sports injury but instead due to my own lack of planning (around weather changes, ever changing schedule, not leaving gym clothes out, etc.) Over the past few years I have learned to be patient with myself during those times I am not exercising regularly and instead focus on what does work.  Focusing on phrases such as "I am willing/open to change" help to make this feeling turn into a thought then into a habitual action. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need roughly 2.5 hours a…
Read More
Pilates Workout

Pilates Workout

Physical
The pilates workout was developed by Mr. Joseph Pilates. Legend says that he called his method "contrology." Sound familiar? You are correct. It means "control." The instructors are usually hyper aware of body mechanics, body awareness, and very well versed with their musculatures. Although, all the minuscule movements are often very precise and slow moving, it's actually engaging muscles that people often dismiss. Pilates focus on a lot of core work and spinal alignment. With dedication, people who practice Pilates on regular basis can achieve long lean muscles instead of bulky muscles. There's definitely a lot of isotonic movements and/or resistance as much as it is needed. You can do a lot of core work (AKA "powerhouse" with Pilates jargon), strengthening, stretching, and coordination. The "core" is engaged with majority…
Read More
Creating a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Creating a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Physical
It's the process that creates a perfect cup of coffee...the aroma, color, shape, sounds and the movement and the location of where the coffee beans are stored or the drive to the cafe. It's all sensory data that is registered in your brain. RadioLab airs how the brain interprets this by using the metaphor music.  The entire broadcast is worth the hour listen, but if your short on time skip forty-four minutes into RadioLabs play-by-play of creating a cup of coffee within the sensory interpretation. Coffee-lovers are stimulated when they hear the word coffee.  Nutritionally, its a completely different playing field. My focus here isn't on how coffee nourishes but to begin a conversation about the effect of creating a cup (or four) may be equally gratifying without drinking it.…
Read More
Eat To Be a Vigorous, Energetic Person

Eat To Be a Vigorous, Energetic Person

Physical
Home management and meal preparation are two tasks that are becoming a lost art. Women and men are prioritizing their career, parenthood, social life, exercise - prescribed chaos a minimum of 4 times a week without time to cook. Being well requires adjusting to new social norms. How do you manage food resources with new social norms?  Children's understanding of meals have evolved.  Take for instance juicing as a meal substitute. Nourishment is evolving.  Nutritional plans prioritize body needs with time management. Fiber is a major missing contributor to each meal. Juicing that extracts the whole food loses the fiber necessary for healthy digestion. No fiber equals havoc on the liver and hormones. Try one of these three ideas to keep nourishment in check with performance: Co-cook through a favorite cookbook…
Read More
Five Lunch Packing Ideas For Time Management

Five Lunch Packing Ideas For Time Management

Physical
I used to either eat out or eat garbage - frozen lunches with high nitrate and sodium - but then I would see my colleague with an array of or colorful vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Some signs of disservice to myself that I had noticed after lunch was that I was extremely lethargic and craved salt. Two sure signs of dehydration. Being able to time manage and pack a decent lunch is becoming less and less common. People find themselves with malnutrition, high cholesterol, and all that comes with a poor diet.  However, just like any other occupation, OT's view meal prep as part of instrumental activities of daily living. Throwing a frozen burrito or TV dinner in your lunch bag is not necessarily meal prep. It's conveniently lazy. …
Read More
3 Ways to Meditate

3 Ways to Meditate

Physical
Have you ever tried to sit still and be still? It’s actually pretty challenging to achieve. Aim for an absolute absence of thought, stopping all the noisy “mind chatters” or “inner voices”. Whether it is a bustling day with children running around, an endless to do list, stressful day at school or work, or simply feeling anxious, meditation may be a good tool and skill to stay centered, to feel grounded, or to find balance in life. It doesn't always happen, but people may even transcend their minds or experience enlightenment through the process. For people who are starting out to meditate, it is recommended that you sit in a quiet place, preferably dim, to dull out all the other senses. Tailor sitting or sitting in a lotus position on a meditation cushion,…
Read More
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…
Read More
Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

Undo Cruel Food Obsession. Seize Life With These Five Tactics.

Physical
The day began with a mess of disorganization. Our team was out of synch and it cost valuable time. Every hour that morning another issue arose. The climax was financial catastrophe! This stress lead the team to emotional behaviors which created a different kind of work. Internal body regulating and mind work. The challenge was to remain calm through it all. Being overwhelmed with stressful feelings causes confusion. Emotions are a vital part of us to sort through problem-solving.  Suffering rears emotions from childhood experiences then initiates personal boundaries - healthy or unhealthy. Our primal instinct is to act for safety in seeking feelings of comfort. Feelings are stimulated by our senses. Our behavior is the reaction. Often people express a reaction by being "full of" an overwhelming feeling. "I'm full of excitement!"…
Read More
Food Can Be A Trigger

Food Can Be A Trigger

Physical
It is that season when there is always something baking in the oven or a tea kettle boiling for tea or cocoa. Family mealtimes are emphasized and social gatherings are regularly scheduled. The work offices are stocked up with cookies or treats in shining, foil wrappers. Holiday treats and celebrations bring a sense of community, nurture our bodies and feed our soul. But what about those who have difficulties or disordered eating habits? The increase in food can be a trigger or stir up anxieties. Recently, I found out a person very close to me was having such difficulties.  She reported always having such emotional pain followed by physical pain of overeating and then ultimately this effected her self-worth.  This was difficult to discuss and shows bravery on her part.…
Read More
Health Significance of the Fall Season

Health Significance of the Fall Season

Physical
The fall season begs for the sight of leaves changing color, cool air and sweaters. In warmer climates fall nods to seasonal produce, like pomegranates, brussels sprouts, and pumpkins.  Everywhere, school buses and shorter days hint to a summer gone. The health significance of the fall season lies in transitioning. Change may take form as a battle of self-control. Since transition is adjusting to change like paying heating bills, eating starchy foods, or rising earlier to miss heavy traffic it may bring feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, sadness. Food may be your friend for transitioning to change. Since food is a daily relationship it may be a simple starting point to attend health significance of the fall season. Consider incorporating these three categories of food into your balanced diet.  ALERTING FOODS…
Read More
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…
Read More
Our Gut Brain

Our Gut Brain

Physical
Who said we feed more than one brain? The butterflies. Those feelings that begin in our stomach plays one part by our second brain. That's right - the one in our gut. Here's how this breaks down. Our gut houses a system called the enteric nervous system. It communicates to our head brain feelings that exceed hunger. Our head brain directly communicates to our gut brain the conversion of sensations to feelings. This information exchange regulates hormone secretion. Stress strains our mood-regulating hormone, serotonin, by a whooping 95%! Organs suffer from that much serotonin. Stress is as common as life choices. It's not bad. The culprit is how we prepare for stress and manage it when it happens. Take action with healthy votes. One is preparing for stress like proper nutrition, the sight…
Read More