Wellbeing Design Diary: Awareness

Wellbeing Design Diary: Awareness

Design Diary
How is mental and physical awareness important to health, relationships, a meaningful life? Wellbeing Design identifies the method and process used personally and shared as a consultant. 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. Creative wellbeing 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.…
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How Do You Know If An Employee is Lazy or Value-driven?

How Do You Know If An Employee is Lazy or Value-driven?

Workplace
Every culture carries undertones of expectations or commonalities. For example, where there are four seasons it's common that productivity slows during summer months and the days between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. Businesses reduce expectations with anticipation their employee's work performance will change. Is this a wise approach to managing production?  When we narrow productivity to the individual's responsibility of managing their daily performance we factor in basic quality of life choices. Lifestyle includes physical, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, social, and emotional aspects. Maintaining productivity within these six lifestyles simplifies with cultural support. An emotional example is when a culture shares a common language that invites fear responses. Under all circumstances this reduces the manifestation of workplace harassment. Presenteeism may appear as laziness. The result of an employee showing up to…
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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,…
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A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

A Seamstress Exhibiting Stress In The Workplace

Workplace
GIG Design's team discussed observations of a seamstress exhibiting stress in the workplace. Observations of the work environment included details of the lighting, noise, temperature, and peer engagement. The work space is an open area of approximately thirty seamstresses, all sitting at a sewing station actively engaging in production of a product. Observations of the seamstress were noted to be signs of distress as exhibited by facial expressions, frequent posturing with head tilted into hand through elbow support, uncharacteristic pauses of production. Following a lifestyle profile and sensory assessment she identified as under-responsive to sensations. Under-responsiveness This form of regulating the nervous system is categorized by muted, delayed responses, and low sensory registration. This individual passively regulates their nervous system, has a high threshold to sensory stimuli, and passively reacts to sensations.…
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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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The 40 Hour Work Week Disrupts the Natural Work Flow

The 40 Hour Work Week Disrupts the Natural Work Flow

Workplace
“I used to be exhausted all the time, I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa, but not now. I am much more alert: I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life.” These are the words of Lise-Lotte Pettersson, an assistant nurse and participant in a controlled trial of shorter work hours in Sweden. The results will be published in 2016, but so far results indicate nurses are less fatigued and more efficient (Crouch, 2015). How many hours do you work? Is it too few, too many, or just right? A 2014 Gallup survey of 1,200 American adults discovered that the average full time US employee works 47 hours per week and 18% work 60 hours or more (Green, 2015). I’ve been…
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The Power of Walking

The Power of Walking

Design Diary
Let's rewind to early morning this last week. Imagine being shaken awake for a sunrise walk. A walk! Initially, I was startled but threw my shoes on and made my way outside anyways. While walking through the park, looking at the trees and the pond, several things changed. My outlook towards the day was suddenly one of adventure and my body felt restored and recharged. I took a few deep breaths and kept walking along, taking in my surroundings. The power of walking and not only walking but walking outdoors is correlated to enhance overall well-being (Bratman et al 2015). Unfortunately, even just walking has to be built into our day. But what if we change our outlook on being outdoors and even walking. There's opportunity. It could be included…
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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,…
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Mood In the Workplace

Mood In the Workplace

Emotional
Designers are slowly emerging with incredibly functional and stylish swings. A swing is a simple way to improve mood in the workplace. Swinging stimulates the vestibular system, the sensory system that contributes to balance and spatial orientation for overall coordination. This body system was found to modulate our 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 is a great alternative for those who long to quit coffee or simply need to excite themselves to gain motivation. Somewhere it got lost in interpretation that swinging is a children's form of play.  Parents jump on a swing with their kids - why not for adult play? What are your thoughts…
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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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Distorted Thinking

Distorted Thinking

Emotional
Have you been educated on what a healthy relationship is? My parents modeled valuable aspects but they didn't sit me down as teachers of Relationships 101.  When I decided to research what 'healthy from the inside out' meant, I began to experience what healthy relating is. Healthy begins with an honest self assessment. It requires being prepared because it is a life-long journey. I say this because it takes work, time and awareness to identify then replace distorted information that your mind believes as truth...but it can be done. There are many layers to living honestly but here I expose a near-time experience known as distorted thinking. Author and professor Benjamin K. Bergen explains in his book Louder than Words that we simulate experiences, actions and performances in our mind through a scientifically…
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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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Design The Will to Act

Design The Will to Act

Intellectual
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. MAX DEPREE Burns integrates an abridged version of the U.S. Army's leadership development philosophy, which he goes into more detail about in his article about defining reality.  His philosophy includes seven values: Discipline, Motivation, Altruism, Physical Fitness, Continuing Education, Creativity, Respectful. Within these values he emphasized behavior patterns, goal setting, and communication. Each requires…
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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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Active Listening in Cultural Differences

Active Listening in Cultural Differences

Social
Right in the the middle of an important task that has a deadline you get interrupted by your Fellow. What do you do? This scenario begs for the least amount of listening. Some may just use a body gesture, like a hand in the air without diverting the eyes from task. This action isn't a normal listening behavior. Active listening in cultural differences fosters healthy relationships. C'mon, giving the hand is on the selfish side of relaying information. (Grohol 2013) One might hope those that interrupt would pause in anticipation for a body gesture of approval. This isn't always the case. This is a social dilemma which happens in a variety of occupational scenarios. Let's look at an example of cultural diversity when in play - like a break from work…
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Aesthetics and Functionality

Aesthetics and Functionality

Emotional
Do you believe what you see may change behavior?  Aesthetics engage our sight. We may identify with its beauty, coziness, charm. These words prime feelings.  Feeling that 'sense' of beauty responds with behaviors like hugging, tasting, smelling, or jumping up and down. There's a flip side. Sight also triggers behavior responses for safety, avoidance, or adversity. Cozy to one may be a deep-seeded threat to another. Interior design is an ideal way to nourish desires. When rooms or offices are designed without the user, it fragments personal needs based on opinions on aesthetics and functionality. Designer's opinions are helpful to convey a feeling, a 'look', and to support the functionality of a space. Pinterest, Houzzz, and  blogs may be helpful resources to piecing together a design plan. There's a story people buy…
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Reading and Visual Fatigue: A Personal Journey

Reading and Visual Fatigue: A Personal Journey

Design Diary
It took me awhile to figure out why I hated wearing my glasses, why my eyes got so tired as a young girl.  I was born with medial strabismus, a hereditary trait that causes cross-eye.  With modern day surgical techniques I was able to follow family footsteps in correcting ocular alignment. My brother's surgery resulted with an eye infection. Subsequently, he had permanent damage with blindness in one eye for his lifetime. My 'cosmetic' surgery was considered successful, still risky, leaving me with residual visual issues. One is intermittent reading. As a toddler I wore eye glasses or eye patches and followed the nagging of my mother to do eye exercises. These techniques strengthened my ocular muscles.  At one years old I had my first surgical procedure. The second at age sixteen brought self confidence…
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Being Over Stimulated

Being Over Stimulated

Spiritual
How would you rate your driving skills? It's such an intense task. Cars driving directly at you or whizzing beside you. The speed. Oh! The interesting signs or the shops. The interesting people on city sidewalks. In the past, I raved about my driving skills.  Honestly, they are just down right average. While driving, I'm intrigued at what surrounds me so I weave. I know I do this and sometimes I give myself mental warnings. Sometimes. Yet, there are times my curiosity drives me! Not only do I weave while driving the car but I do the same in my day to day tasks. For instance, today at the grocery store. I started to browse magazine ads, stared at new items, and then smelled every single rose to find the most fragrant ( the largest white…
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Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Interior Design for Positive Aspects

Spiritual
The first reflection of a person is said to be witnessed in a still, calm body of water. Following, craftsmen caught onto the fact that a polished stone, like copper and bronze, provided much sought after mirrors for grooming. Today the task of mirrors reaches beyond your reflection to reflect your best self in metaphor or form. Reflection also takes shape as a thought, value or goal. When your arrow aims at healthy roles, habits and performance, then design your environment to support following through at your very best.  Steelcase recently blogged on their 360 Research page that wellbeing is systematic and holistic. "The team went on to conclude that the places where people come together to work can be designed to have a positive impact on a variety of dimensions of worker…
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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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Creating Routines in your Life

Creating Routines in your Life

Intellectual
Creating routines in your life is important.  It is something I have been slowly integrating into my life. I am curious by nature.  Therefore, I tend to drift off the path more often than I should. It brings initial excitement but results in suffering. I know that, for better or for worse, routines promote commitment.  At times, it may be cultural or temporary.  However, routines are patterns of behavior that are observable, regular, repetitive and provide structure for daily life.* In this Psychology Today blog, the author presents 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…
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No Means No; Yes Means Yes

No Means No; Yes Means Yes

Spiritual
Does your 'no' mean no? Does your 'yes' mean yes? Oh, I've been here.  In fact, I just recovered from this. When in the throws of life, action may readily happen before time allows deep thought about the implications. Rest assured, this is normal and happens to us all. Confusion may set in, but what we choose to do in the midst of it will determine the affect on all of our core aspects. Yet, this spiritual aspect is worth nestling into. No means no; yes means yes. Several years ago, I wrote down nine questions the book Boundaries nudged me to consider. Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone…
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Cultural Context

Cultural Context

Spiritual
Is it difficult for you to perform at your best while working at the office? This was my experience at an internship. It was customary for employees to work by shift and to keep the environment conservative. The standards in the culture was a quiet work space. However, I thrived around moving bodies and sounds of life. Customs, beliefs and behavior standards are just a few cultural contexts. Activity patterns, expectations, ethnicity, values, political aspects are also included.  The premise of cultural context includes opportunities for education, employment and economic support that are accepted by the society in which one is a member. Work as an occupational therapy practitioner has guided me to understand my sensory self - or how my sensations respond to stress. I'm aware that I have low arousal.…
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Loyalty in Life

Loyalty in Life

WholeBe Toolkit
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 method 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. Creative Wellbeing begins with our WholeBe Toolkits. Read more…
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Focus and Conquer Those Daily Intentions

Focus and Conquer Those Daily Intentions

Design Diary
During occupational therapy sessions this last week at the preschool we created a “Determine Your Session” game. The student was given a ball and had to throw it at one of the numbers located on the therapy mat. Once the number was determined, then that child had to do the activity that many times. For example, trace you name in four different colors, jump seven times on the trampoline or roll eight play dough snowballs. This got me thinking – how often does this realistically happen in life? Sometimes we are given several choices throughout our day or faced with daily options that are not too enjoyable. This tactic can help focus and conquer those great intentions. Recently, I was working with kids that have oral defensiveness and the thought…
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How Do Persuasive Rules Target the Bravery of Living By Values?

How Do Persuasive Rules Target the Bravery of Living By Values?

Spiritual
We kick around the terms wise and expert when claiming a person's character. The word 'Ecclesiastes' means teacher. This biblical book endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life.  Wisdom is acquiring knowledge by experiencing and exploring all the resources. Expertise claims being the best of 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…
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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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Create a Trust Environment

Create a Trust Environment

Intellectual
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'…
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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

Emotional
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…
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