Guest post by Mari Tynkkynen
Every occupational therapist knows about Meyer philosophy; “Find the balance between work, play, rest and sleep.”
This writing is about how I see these Occupational Performance areas and how our bodies will react to them.
Work is productive doing and it feels like working. Even if you don’t have a job, you probably have things in your life that feel like work. By working you achieve something and you can be happy about the results. Ideally you have a job and you like it and that doesn’t always feel like work.
Sometimes work brings stress in your life. Stress can be positive or negative. If you work too much or your situation in life is stressful, your body needs more cortisol-hormone. It helps you to concentrate and keep on going in a difficult situation. But if stress becomes chronic, you can be tired all day and feel totally awake when you’re trying to sleep. This happens because your body produces cortisol at the wrong time of the day.
During a stressful day you have a higher risk to make bad choices with food. Bad choices increase imbalance in your body and those altogether may lead in other symptoms.
Play means playfulness in your daily life. It is also an attitude towards how we do things. Play is all about getting excited about what you do. If you love your work and it challenges you in a perfect way and when you work with excitement you forgot the time and everything else. This may lead you to flow-experiences. Playing has long term influences, because there is a risk that you smile a long time after playing.
By doing things that you love, your body generates endorphin. It reduces pain. When you are very happy your body products happiness hormone oxytocin. That is the best antidote against stress and depression.
Rest is a time for your thoughts and autonomic nervous system. Rest is quiet time for your brain, a couple of minutes of silence. Time when your thoughts stop for a second and you breathe deep.
Your energy level rises more when you spend a couple of minutes in quietness than when resting hours at a sofa while watching tv.
This is because while watching tv your brain is working and your body rests. The thing is to let your brain rest for a while. Good ways to rest are for example yoga, pilates, relaxation or meditation cd’s.
While you rest your blood pressure decreases and your heart rate slows down.
By letting your brain rest you will become more creative and patient.
Sleep is the most important thing to your health.
By sleeping your body recovers from the day and gets ready for a new one. Lack of sleep affects the body organ system. You see that happen in ordinary life. If you don’t sleep enough you’ll have troubles to remember, setbacks seems oversized, you might be grumpy and you want to eat everything fatty, salty and sugary.
In the evening it gets dark and the body starts to product melatonin hormone. But it needs to be dark, no tv or computer, because their bright light prevents its secretion. Your own body’s melatonin helps you to fall asleep and sleep well. Melatonin-hormone is also a strong antioxidant and your body needs that to recover from the day. If you’re having a trouble to fall asleep, you should try to do a relaxation exercise before going to sleep.
Mari Tynkkynen – Mari is a woman behind Terapiaperhonen Oy. She is occupational therapist. Besides that she does also nutrition coaching, which is based on functional medicine, FLT Ravintovalmentaja – Pro Health®. (Links only in Finnish)
Mari thinks that everything is linked to everything. That’s why we need to think widely and explore the world. The most important thing is to listen to our own body and mind.