Sleep Day: A Pillow for my career Journey

This year’s sleep day theme is “’Regular Sleep, Healthy Future”, echoing the notion that not getting enough regular sleep does deny us the possibility of embracing the future with open arms and I don’t fancy strolling to the future head down sad reeling from the effects of not getting enough regular sleep.

However, I will be dwelling on the past. Looking back on how having a regular sleep routine has contributed to building and maintaining keystone habits that I have used as pillars for my career goals.

Numerous studies and research have been done on and about sleep, I can’t possibly add anything new besides the fact that it’s scintillating experiencing what the studies have already proved, take root and shape in your own body and soul. And here is how sleep has enabled me to have those keystone habits;

Exercise;

Exercising improves sleep (Kline, 2014), I cherish the feeling of waking up with a high sleep score, especially having worked out the day before. So, I make sure I don’t miss a workout because I don’t want to wake up to a low sleep score that will demoralize me and the effects will trickle down to my day.

Healthy eating;

Diet affects the hormonal pathways involved in sleep (Frank & Gonzalez, 2017). Not until my Fitbit data showed a spike by 86% of my resting heart rate while asleep, did I pay heed to this research. And the correlation to waking up feeling cranky just blew me off my pillow. There are several foods that affect the quality of sleep but since I stick to a veg diet, I am well versed with the effects of coffee.

Reading;  

Reading results in an accidental descent into your own dreamy, fictitious world (dreams.co.uk, 2021). This was funky but I realized that I do wake up from that fictitious world more refreshed if I had read an hour before bedtime, so I kept on reading an hour to bed so that I could have a better sleep score. As well as wake up with the urge to carry on reading from where I did stop, this has helped dictate my day thus echoing Robin Sharma; “the way you begin your day sets the tone and energy for how your day unfolds.”

The major takeaway from the past year of sleep is that sleep has ingredients; exercise, healthy eating, room temperature, food, and many others. And in order to get the best of it, we have to learn to mix those ingredients appropriately and cautiously because too much or too little of them can determine the tone of our day.

Reading in February

Happiness is not me and a book! Although I love reading, I read anything and everything. But this love was put to the test during the month of February when I tried to read based on the month observance (theme) and failed, I could not muster the interest to carry on reading books about black history once I started reading. My heart became stale, I only managed one book and got back to my reading goal list and here are the books I read; 

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison: “Devil’s confusion. He lets me look good long as I feel bad.” Stopped me in my tracks because at times I look good with turmoil inside me, and wondered if I should roll my feelings in the tobacco bin like the character Paul D. The book offers a distressing look at slavery that makes you realize that the turmoils we face today about discrimination can not be compared to what those who came before us endured without the modern psychological treatments of today.
  2. How doctors think by Jerome Groopman: One of the major take away is that we should question everything. And the most shocking ideal is that all that we follow or believe in from classrooms to work, was enacted through arguments and consensus without well thought or practical research. A good example is the two-to-one number that’s used to surgically treat the common congenital abnormality of the heart called a shunt that leads to an abnormal blood floor in the heart. It was at a medical meeting in the 60s out of desperation took a vote, where the median ended up being two-to-one then published in the American Journal of Cardiology. So now all text books have as the truth that doctors should carry out an operation based on that ratio.

As March saunters by, am not allowing this love to be put to the test again. So am looking up literary works of prominent women in history to bury myself in their glamorous literature in honor and respect of women’s historical journey.

TAP DANCING TO WORK

I don’t tap dance to work, but am glad I do not crawl. I enjoy doing what I do even though it’s not my passion, I haven’t found my passion and I even don’t know what passion means.

Tap dance originated in the 1700s at the crossroads of African and Irish American dance forms. When slave owners took away traditional African percussion instruments, slaves turned to percussive dancing to express themselves and retain their cultural identities but Warren Buffet uses it to express his happiness in what he does, articulating the fact that it hasn’t taken away his life when he stated that he tap dances to work contrast to what most of our jobs are doing to us.

Indeed a book was written about tap dancing to work but am not here to review the book neither am I here to talk about Warren’s massive wealth, google can do that for you. Am here because the phrase resonated with a page in the current chapter of my career; what am doing satisfies me, there are intangible results.

Steve Jobs said that the most important thing is to understand and realize that if you poke life, something will pop out the other side, that you can change and mold it. It puts you in a position to make your mark on life instead of just living. When I do respond to someone having a heart attack or seizure or even relieve someone of pain from a wound that they’ve been hiding for fear of visa reversal, and you see them improving, something popping out the other side after poking life, it brings joy to the soul that monetary incentives don’t.

We are in a period of our lives where everything seems to change, the tide is turning, and it seems theoretically impossible to poke life or even tap dance to work but this same tide was ridden by the likes of Marcel Breuer who put his artistic talents to use when he designed Minimalist furnishing that could be easily cleaned, used and not hold bacteria combating the spread of the virus during the heights of the Spanish flu in 1918. We can all find a way to ride this tide, we just have to look within and not without.

WHAT’S THE WORLD TURNING TOWARDS

We think we know based on statistics and crunched up numbers but we don’t know because we listen to the trend, to what’s popular and not to our hearts. We are spiritual beings having a human experience here on earth, so what drives us should come from within, from inside us and not from outside us. But so often what shapes our lives is derived from outside us, from the movies we watch, social media, the people we work with and hang around.

These ideals blur our hearts and souls from a higher calling, from what’s purposeful and fulfilling where we don’t have to always look at our shoulders because we walked over someone. But walk in light with confidence knowing that the decisions we made are genuine and no one has been hurt.

SKILLS DON’T BECOME OBSOLUTE

Coming into occupational health I thought I’d need a new pair of hands, skills to maneuver through this new journey I was embarking on. So prior to training and certification I did a little digging and reading into materials related to First Aid and Occupational Health at large, ignoring to sharpen on my skills attained from Loss Prevention. Little did I know that I will need the same old pair of hands, those innate skills from Loss Prevention. So here I take you on a journey of being conversant with old skills in a new role;

Investigation;

Investigation means to examine, to search or analyze; in loss prevention it entailed uncovering the history of an incident, what happened before, during and after to map out a cause. But am seeing investigation take a new format in occupational health, we listen to the patients’ story to map out the onset of an ailment. Collecting medical history is investigation, now am not qualified so here is where the skill of communication comes in. To rely information appropriately to the doctors and nurses on my team for assessment, analysis and relay back what medication to be disbursed.

Communication;

I am a bad communicator and it has led me to most of my regrettable moments in life but in occupational health I could no longer push it under the rug because it could mean life and death unlike in loss prevention. In loss prevention we always communicated calling for back up especially during over whelming incidents because we couldn’t handle the situation alone, I have used this more in occupational health since am not a qualified physician but a first aider though I encounter cases that go beyond my sphere of training. And to go around these I have to be in constant communication with the doctors, nurses and the HSE team at large to provide back up to cases that they can understand and assess effectively for me to disburse their instructions.

Surveillance;

Surveillance means to observe, to closely watch with the intent. Whereas am not interpreting data or analyzing it as surveillance is portrayed in clinical and health echelons, am using it to follow up on patients, observing if the prescribed treatment is having its desired effect. If it isn’t, is the patient taking medication as instructed? If so is there anything that’s stopping the medication, for instance drugs like tobacco and gutkha which decrease the efficacy of medications. This is where I use loss prevention instinct, to closely look around the patients’ rooms/apartments for clues of drug abuse since most are hesitant to declare usage of gutkha.

This new journey is making me realize that skills don’t become absolute, they can be transformed to serve us and those around us to achieve company goals and maintain the overall vision.

References:

1. Lucas C, Martin J. 2013. Smoking and drug interactions. Australian Prescriber 36: 102-104

2. Lisa Sanders. 2009. Every Patient tells a story. Broadway Books.

3. Philip P. Purpura. 2002. Security and Loss Prevention: An Introduction. Fourth Edition.

First Aid: The Journey thus far.

My next gig after loss prevention is being part of a COVID-19 task force team as a First Aider, its a small team of Medical personnel’s for a government contractor. This is kind of my big step job because I have finally broken into the Health, Safety and Environment Industry and most importantly occupational health. Am getting to see first hand the kinds of injuries, ailments and illnesses that affect workers in the construction industry even though it’s giving me more that.

As the pandemic loomed in the background, I knew occupational health was going to be at the fore front of work, whatever industrial revolution was brewing and I was vying for a place at the table.

The differentiator in the hiring process was not my partial first aid experience or theoretical awareness in safety. Which was good because I can barely make it through my project. Rather the key ability is being able to speak Hindi, empathy and to leave my pride at the door, because it does involves cajoling up to patients.

And here are the lessons that keep me enjoying the journey and be conversant with it;

Be courageous enough to sack at something new;

Though first aid wasn’t totally new for me, working as full time is coming with a whole new perspective to it. On top of responding to emergencies like seizures, I have to take vitals, keep records of patients’ hospital visits and setting up covid-19 kits and testing centers. My first day I wasn’t nervous until I entered the clinic and realized it could go for a hospital in a tiny village in a third world country, I held the stethoscope the wrong way then asked inappropriate questions while taking patient history and I beat myself up but I carried on until I started doing it with confidence, kind of like faking it till you make it. And I now look forward to every new day to try out something new, I just love the adrenaline that comes with venturing in the unknown.

Haste inhibits learning;

Haste not only leads to cognitive errors but it does deprive us of the ability to learn as well as the process of immersing ourselves in what we are doing and instead focus on the destination (end result). I used to rush through my responsibilities and to dos; taking vitals, assessments and induction with a goal in mind of covering many people as possible. But at the end of the day while reflecting and journaling, I could hardly put it in writing. So I now slow down no matter the demands, keep my awareness to what I am doing and there’s an improvement on my quiet contemplation. Henceforth my learning journey as a First Aider has improved.

These tit bits of wisdom are helping me grow in the role and develop my skills towards a career journey am on and contribute more efficiently to my team that am responsible to.

Books I Read in January

I spend a lot of time reading. I have a lot of reading to do for my research project: often essays, as my research is into occupational health, and then also academic texts on areas like mental health. I’m really enjoying my research, but I also make sure to give myself time each day to read something non research related. For 2 hours each night before I turn the light off, I love loosing myself in a good book. It helps me unwind at the end of a busy day.

Here are the books I’ve lost myself in during the month of January.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

I read a lot of self-help novels, partly because I had a whole that I wanted to fill and I didn’t know how or who to turn to, but also because I genuinely enjoy it. One of the best self-help novels I have read recently is The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. As well as the way it precisely articulates the limiting beliefs of taking things personally and making assumptions; where I languished for most of my early years as a young adult. The vividness of the portrayal of the covenants is so well done, and I was immersed into this powerful book.

Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries by Lisa Sanders

Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries is linked to another of Lisa Sanders medical novels, Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, which I absolutely adored, as I write about it next. Derived from the New York Times column, she writes as she’s confounded by the cases, she makes the cases come to life enticingly for non-medical personnel’s like me, and I immediately warmed up to the path to diagnosis however frustratingly unclear some paths where. It’s really touching because of the pain that the patients endured, and right now she’s my favorite author by far outstripping the crown Malcom Gladwell held for four years.

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders

I love a knowledge that’s communicated into story collection. I think it’s the way you can get glued to a novel and not get bored while being enriched, and how a collection can take you through different spheres of knowledge. I haven’t read enough Lisa Sanders so I decided to give this collection a try. I like the depth of contrast to the mechanics of diagnostic medicine, to how it is done in real time at the patient’s bedside. The unexpected outcome, and the way doctors address questions of ailments that some only read about.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington.

Over the past few months, I have been questioning myself why a sound human would reject or be skeptical of receiving the covid-19 vaccine. I love reading books on history but I had never come across this kind of history in the books I did read. Medical apartheid didn’t come recommended, I happen to chance on it after reading about Lisa Sanders. It grows from the early years of slave trade and follows along the medical line of research, not only on blacks but whites too, these people whose stories am feeling drawn into and moved by. I’m only a few chapter in, but I can tell this is a novel that deserves the praise of putting a light on injustice to the minorities. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Life lessons from working in loss prevention.

Growing up as a child, I never really had a mental grip on what I wanted to be or do when I became older, compared to my peers who had gigantic dreams and fantasies. So I sleep walked through a couple of gigs, alongside being an entrepreneur and never did stop to reflect on what I was doing and where it’d lead me to. Eventually the train wreck came to a standstill, and to run away from the feeling of falling I got into security which led me to loss prevention that was an eye opener into pausing and reflecting on what I was doing through CCTV reviews.

Despite all the numerous lessons, here are my outstanding life lessons from working in loss prevention;

  • Protective layers; in loss prevention layers are used to protect people, property and information. So next time you check into a hotel you’ll notice that your room has a door (which is obvious), peephole and CCTV cameras all over; these are part of layers of security to secure your world. Therefore during the course of our lives we have to put in place layers that filter what comes to us and cushion us from a disastrous life when things don’t go our way or bump into pitfalls like the ongoing pandemic. These layers could be friends/family, investments, insurance or emergency funds that we turn to one at a time as the other gets depleted until we get back onto our feet or an opportunity shows up.
  • Journaling; in loss prevention you do write a bunch of stuff (reports) that most times go unread but are read when there’s an incident, our jobs are at stake or our company is being sued. Therefore I keep journaling even if deep down I feel I won’t have time to read it, but I read it when I get off track and am trying to find my footing or where I went wrong. So if you do journal be persistent and if you don’t take baby steps, it’ll come in handy one way or another.
  • Presence; a professionally attired security guard (Officer) standing in a certain area can prevent trouble or just on arrival at a scene is enough force to stop a fight or prevent an argument from escalating. Therefore our presence in the lives of those we do love or care about is very important even if we are just seated besides them doing nothing, it says a lot about our priorities. (Even though sometimes guards are seen but they see nothing).

After a quiet life in the loss prevention industry, I chose to pull the curtain even after fighting to stay put being driven by the urge to be perfect. Having read Morgan Harper, “pursue the narrow path, a life that calls for something more and not perfection but fullness.” I jumped ship and luckily enough am not sleep walking through this one.