Self Care

Operating in your IPS - Ideal Performance State

With a large percentage of the population now working or isolated at their place of residence, these relatable & simple tips or suggestions might help you or someone else.

MMA TEAM has designed a pragmatic instrument to assist you to calibrate what you are doing, where and how you are placing your energies and what you are making a priority. When bundled together we refer to this as our Ideal Performance State or IPS. We have pragmatically combined 7 elements that you can self assess against. The assessment will provide you an indication as to how close you may be capable of repeatedly operating towards your optimum.  Our belief is that we could all ensure we have simple (easy to follow) routines in place to assist us to provide perspective, display a positive disposition, be fresh of mind and deliver our required outcomes. 


To assist during these trying times, we have offered 2 pragmatic suggestions per each of the 7 elements that may help remind you of what is included in your own IPS - Ideal Performance State.

#1. SLEEP

Why sleep is so important?

Human Growth Hormone is released during sleep. Both sleep and exercise induce the release of human growth hormone. Experts estimate that as much as 75% of human growth hormone is released during sleep. In normal healthy people, the major period of HGH release occurs during the first period of Stage 3 sleep during the night, about an hour after you first fall asleep. Stage 3, also known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, accounts for about one-quarter of your sleep each night. Deep sleep is the most restorative in all stages of sleep. During this stage of sleep, HGH is released and works to restore and rebuild your body and muscles from the stresses of the day.  


Suggestions if you need them:

  • Unbroken Sleep. Aim for 7- 8hrs (if you can and if you feel you need it) of ‘unbroken sleep’ at least 5 out of 7 nights. Unbroken sleep is where the real benefits exponentially add up. We all know how good it feels to wake up after a great night's sleep. If something is on your mind and you cannot solve it now, write it down and deal with it tomorrow. Go to bed tired not stressed.
  • A transition to sleep. To assist in reaching an unbroken sleep, consider introducing a ‘transition process’ that progressively slows you down and prepares your body and mind to rest. Switch off or mute your phone, sit quietly for a few minutes, gently stretch your bodies tired muscles, read (but avoid your Ipad's blue light), reflect on your day, mentally let yourself power down, try to make yourself yawn and let your body tell itself that you are ready for sleep. The transition not only helps you to get to sleep, but it’s also crucial in helping you stay asleep. Prepare to power down.

 

#2: HYDRATION

Why is Hydration important?  


Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.


Suggestions if you need them:

  • Buddy up with a vessel. If it happens to be a water bottle, cup or mug fill it up with water and ‘keep it next to you’ as much as possible throughout the day (mindful not to mix items with others, and clean thoroughly). Sip, sip, sip away. One of the most familiar sayings is to aim for “8 glasses a day,” but this may not be appropriate for every person due to exercise and other lifestyle factors however; if hydration is not a focus at the moment, aim for 8 a day it’s a great place to start. Keep hydrated.

  • Beat the bland - infuse. If you get to the point where you can't palate even one more bland drop of water, it may be time to experiment.  Without needing to go to the supermarket you can easily make your own at home. Try adding any of the following to your water:
    Sliced citrus fruits or zest (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
    -  Crushed fresh mint
    -  Peeled, sliced fresh ginger or sliced cucumber
    -  Crushed berries or perhaps some lemongrass.  Aim to enjoy it, not endure it.

 

#3: CONNECTION

Why is Staying connected important? 

If you are uncertain of what to prioritise in these unsettling times, let the science help guide us. Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School clearly states, taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

Suggestions if you need them:

  • Schedule breaks. Schedule breaks into your day to do quick 'check-ins' with people close to you. Time might be precious for everyone but if you plan ahead, you might be able to engage in some enriching and uplifting conversation. You may feel better after you've done this, and they may too. Never underestimate the value and impact this can have for you as well as the impact you can have on others in moments of uncertainty. Be the instigator.
  • Value your time. It's tempting to want to spend time on the couch or to catch up on your chores. Please also don't forget where you gain your ‘personal nourishment’ from. It may be your partner, family, friends or even your yourself time. Perhaps it’s a fabulous time to start that hobby you have always wanted to do, play a musical instrument, a new language, golf, jigsaw, surfing - although mindful of non-essential travel and personal distancing!  Isolation does not mean Isolated.

 

#4: DE STRESSING

Why is de-stressing important?

At MMA we believe stress is not the problem, the problem is more the lack of recovery. De-stressing is a tremendous way to help you RECOVER from what has been and transition to be ready for what is to come. Benefits can include (among others):

  • Capacity to provide perspective.
  • Chance to reflect and assess.
  • Positive & realistic disposition.
  • An increased preparation (physically, mentally, emotionally) for what lay ahead.


Suggestions if you need them:

  • Explore. Be curious and explore ways to help rebalance and recover. You could potentially meditate, reflect, do an inhouse/on-line Yoga session, use an App like Breathing or Smiling Mind, sit on your back deck and listen to the sounds or just listen to music. Don't feel guilty about experimenting with a range of opportunities that provide you with quiet time. Pause, reflect, realign! 
  • Move it or lose it. As previously mentioned, there are numerous ways to help you to destress and ‘being active’ is an alternative option. We carry around so much latent tension throughout our body, especially in our shoulders, neck, and face. Even a small amount of movement (even 5 mins of elevated activity) has the physiological capacity to lift our spirits and make us feel good. If you are isolated at home and feel like you need to move, what are your options?  What can you do in the house and outside? Maybe it's as simple as putting on your favourite song, singing your heart out and dancing around the house. If the family, friends or neighbours don’t appreciate your singing skills, maybe you could sit on the floor when the ads come on the TV and stretch! Move the blues away.

    Be mindful to follow any relevant health advice from your medical practitioners.

 

#5: NUTRITION

Why is nutrition so important? 

Most people know good nutrition can help maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits of good nutrition go beyond weight. Recovering from illness, injury and increasing energy levels are just to name three.


Suggestions if you need them:


Fuel your body: Good nutrition can be hard to maintain at the best of times. Between the juice cleanses, detox diets, and superfoods, it’s easy to lose track of what we should do.  Adding to the current pressure with Covid 19 we can easily be tempted into eating bad foods more than usual. Sometimes willpower is not enough so we need to make sure we can compromise with mid-level snacks rather than high fat, low-value comfort foods like chocolate, ice creams, cakes and biscuits (yep, all the good stuff). If you can beat the sugar urge with nuts, avocado, fruit, rice cakes, low-fat protein bars, carob or cacao, you may not get the immediate satisfying effect, but after the first 5 minutes, you may be glad you did. Choose wisely.


Think Green and Purple. (If possible) These are the superfood colours, and we can make up for a lot of nutritional shortfalls by having 3 serves of green or purple fruit or veggies EVERY day. It's all the usual suspects like kale, broccoli, peas and beans but also sweet potato, purple cauliflower, eggplant, beetroot, blueberries, acai and purple carrots. Hot or cold, these are the foods that give us sustainable energy and feed our brains, and this is precisely what we need when things are intense. Colour your intake.

 

#6: POSTURE

Why is posture so important?

Sitting and standing with proper alignment improves blood flow, helps keep your nerves and blood vessels healthy, and supports your muscles, ligaments and tendons. People who make a habit of adopting a strong posture are less likely to experience related back and neck pain. It also sends a ‘positive projection’ to yourself and the people around you. 


Suggestions if you need them:

  • Don't hunch before lunch. Just make a conscious effort to sit or stand TALL with your head directly above your shoulders and fight the urge to slump forward with your shoulders or arch backwards from your lower back. Every day you do this strengthens your postural stabilisers (core) and helps you look and feel more confident. The added bonus is you’ll have more energy towards the end of the day. DHBL
  • Catch and correct. Ask a family member to remind you if you slump. Check your reflection in the windows and set your internal monitor to catch and correct yourself. Keep notice of how often you hunch over when standing, or when your screen is drawing you too close, or when your shoulders are dropping and your bum sliding forward in your seat. Sit up when on the couch and at the dinner table. Postural awareness helps you finish a long day less fatigued and with fewer creases in your clothes! Sit and Stand tall.

 

#7: FUTURE FOCUS

Why is having a Future Focus so important?

The expression ‘look forward to’ is a common phrase. It means, to expect (something) with pleasure. Thinking about ‘something’ in the future gives people something to look forward to and inevitably assists the balance of stress, fatigue and/or boredom. 


Suggestions if you need them:

  • Looking forward to something. It is not unusual for someone to hang on to life against medical odds until a relative or friend arrives at their bedside, or until a special anniversary or birthday. In times of turbulence and uncertainty being curious, exploring and identifying what you are looking forward to can help.  What are you looking forward to tonight, over the weekend and next week? When it arrives enjoy it.
  • Beyond the NOW. As the pandemic continues to evolve, businesses need to start planning for ‘recovery’. Smart businesses will look beyond the now in order to avert tougher times ahead.  What is beyond the NOW for you? What are you looking forward to when the pandemic starts declining? Are you looking forward to getting back to your old normal? Are you looking forward to hugging your friends or having an endless supply of toilet paper? Whatever it is look forward to it.

Below is a downloadable PDF version. 

Click here for the SELF CARE tips

 

If you need assistance or additional Self Care ideas, let us know.  

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