From owners, caregivers and seniors in residential assisted living, this difficult period has been a struggle for us all.
It is easy to let the excuses pile up when facing the fatigue and strain that sheltering in place has brought. The ability to simply get up and go and the freshness of mind simply changing our surroundings can give hasn’t been an option for many of us.
- Brain fog
- Languid disposition
- Stiff and tired joints
It’s time to reclaim our bodies and minds. Time to recharge our get-up-and-go attitudes. We can’t redo the past eight months, but there are some small changes that we can make that will set us on the path to action and reignite our passion and zest for life.
The present pandemic has crippled many components of our great nation, but the residential assisted living industry must continue providing quality care for seniors.
It’s a gracious gesture to support essential workers with coffee breaks, donuts, hot dogs, and all sorts of comfort foods. Yet, they are in need of something far more important – health.
Our frontline workers suffer not simply because of the pandemic, but because of poor personal health.
We have lost thousands of frontline workers to more than COVID-19. Many have passed from heart attack, stroke, and other complications associated with diabetes and upper respiratory conditions.
Why did they fall victim? Poor health.
Let’s do something that matters. Let’s give them something that will continue giving. Let’s give them health. How so?
THE BENEFITS OF WELLNESS
Wellness is more than a notion or a famous word for losing weight. Wellness is comprehensive. Wellness extends far beyond the simple measure of weight loss. Our frontline workers need wellness.
They require wellness of:
- their minds
- their bodies
- their lives
So many of our essential workers and their supportive staff suffer in silence. Their families are strained, their livelihoods are threatened due to poor funding, and their dreams are shattered.
True wellness programs address these areas comprehensively.
Our healthcare workers throughout America need wellness now more than ever. Honking horns, donut shops and coffee breaks are nice, but there are more effective ways to care for these important individuals.
Let’s do something meaningful that will make a difference long term, not just a quick fix. True wellness programs will support healthcare workers in the most critical ways:
- Meal Planning
- Body Flexibility
- Goal Setting
- Work/Life Family Balance
They take considerable focus and attention. Helping healthcare workers in these areas contribute to greater healthcare for those who are sick and the prevention of disease among the healthcare workers themselves.
These core areas also prevent burn-out. Wellness cures this vicious debilitating cycle.
However, let us not be trivial in our pursuit. True wellness programs are intentional and all persons at all levels of any company must engage and participate, and this includes residential assisted living owners.
It starts with leadership and trickles down to all.
WHY AMERICANS ARE TIRED
What do Red Bull, Cafe Espresso and Vitamin X water have in common? A poor solution to your energy problem.
America is fatigued more now than ever before due to stress.
Stress leads one to lose sleep, and potentially develop issues like insomnia. Insomnia leads to a host of mental disorders and physiological problems. Thus, America becomes sick because America is tired.
We pose the wrong question: “How do I stay awake?” We seek poor solutions, temporary answers to perpetual challenges.
The better question is: why am I tired? The truth is environmental but equally nutritional. Eating better leads to better sleep, which leads to better overall health. We call this wellness.
One major solution to extreme fatigue or general fatigue and sleeplessness is to reduce stimulants and go to bed at a decent hour. Your body needs six to eight hours to properly regenerate.
Therefore, proper rest for the proper amount of time will lead to better overall energy levels throughout the day.
This is wellness.
There are also other things you can do for those long workdays that tax your natural energy. Here are 11 professional tips for you and your team to help stay awake and healthy.
- Get Up and Move Around to Feel Awake
Movement, such as brisk walks, weighted walks and light jogging increases the amount of oxygen to the lungs, which passes on fresh oxygen to the bloodstream. Cells get more oxygen and you feel rejuvenated. Also, your brain gets more oxygen leading to better productivity. It’s a win-win.
- Take a Nap to Take the Edge Off Sleepiness
Giving yourself rest, especially if your day starts before the sun rises, only helps to increase repair in the body and rest for the brain. Clarity becomes more apparent with a little nap in the midst of the day; especially right after lunch. Naps are powerful and they needn’t be lengthy. Anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes is sufficient.
- Give Your Eyes a Break to Avoid Fatigue
One cause of sleep deprivation is excessive blue light exposure. What’s the leading cause of blue light exposure? Computer screens. All of the time spent working on a computer is detrimental to your overall health, your wellness. So, get off of the computer. How? There is a tactic that can easily be employed in virtually any workplace but can be seamlessly integrated into the healthcare space. Work no more than 50 minutes on the computer and then 10 minutes off of the computer
- Eat a Healthy Snack to Boost Energy
Resist anything that says energy snack. That is code terminology for sugar, which gives you a quick boost and a hard crash into fatigue. Instead, eat whole foods often throughout the day. Try fueling your body with a healthy whole food snack every two hours. Snacks such as these will provide better overall energy in the long run:
- Peanut Butter and Celery/Carrots
- Nuts: Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Macadamia Nuts
Healthy whole food snacks truly fuel the body for the long-haul. They will provide a good source of energy hours later, instead of instant sugar rushes which result in hard sugar crashes and reduced productivity and unclear thought patterns.
- Start a Conversation to Wake Up Your Mind
The workplace is such an isolated one. Coworkers would rather email one another who share cubicles as opposed to turning around and just talking. One natural energy booster is intellectual stimulation and that happens best with other humans, not a computer. Talk to your coworkers.
- Turn Up the Lights to Ease Fatigue
Dim workplaces are bedtime stories waiting to happen. Avoid lulling employees to sleep by using appropriate bright lighting. Also, nothing beats sunlight. Try to get as much natural light into the workplace a s possible. This will fuel employees more than any other kind of lighting. However, make sure employees are able to see, but not blinded. Good fluorescent lighting that illuminates not intensifies is best.
- Take a Breather to Feel Alert
For those working long shifts as healthcare workers, especially in ICUs and residential assisted living homes, a deep breather is ideal. How so? Literally, practice deep breathing for approximately 60 to 90 seconds. Deep breaths combined with long slow breaths out. In through the nostrils and out through the mouth. Exercises such as this inject oxygen into your bloodstream and brain quickly, providing much needed cellular support.
- Switch Tasks to Stimulate Your Mind
Switching tasks is incredibly stimulating without being stressful. In other words, change what you are doing and when you are going to do it. So, if you have a morning ritual, switch it to the afternoon. If you have an afternoon ritual, switch it to the morning. Even trading off mundane or simple tasks with a coworker is ideal. The change in tasks and pace will stimulate the mind shirking fatigue.
- Drink Water to Prevent Tiredness
Instead of eating first, drink water. Drinking plenty of water hydrates every organ and system in the body. Proper hydration ensures proper productivity. A hydrated brain works far better than a dehydrated one. Therefore, drink water and plenty of it.
- Get Some Daylight to Regulate Your Sleep Cycles
Get outside during the day. This is vital, especially with Daylights Savings Time upon us. Get outside at lunch or take a break and walk around. Getting fresh air and sunlight fuels the body remarkably.
- Exercise to Increase Energy and Reduce Fatigue
If nutrition is the cake, then exercise is the icing. That’s right, proper nutrition comes first, but exercise is close on its heels. Exercise does not have to be excessive, however. Low intensity exercise done two to three times a week at 20-minute intervals is ideal. When this type of regimen is combined with proper nutrition and hydration, the results are dynamic, even synergistic. Fatigue will be a thing of the past, as exercise infuses the body with so much oxygen and burns calories and increases absorption of nutrients.
NATIONAL WELLNESS AGENDA
The Residential Assisted Living National Association is a great resource for assisted living businesses. At RALNA, industry leaders can get legal support, group discounts, useful blogs and so much more. Click to learn more about free memberships.
This assisted living article is about overall health and wellness.
Wellness is more than a weight loss program. Wellness is more than an eating program. Wellness is a comprehensive effort to strengthen and preserve the entire person. Wellness programs in residential assisted living homes work best when everyone engages as a committed team. This includes ownership, leadership, employees and residents.
When everyone gets well together, fewer suffer from unwanted fatigue and preventable illness.