iCAAD INSIDERS: Guest Blog05 Dec 2017
Jan Willem Poot
Founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics
The Power of Keeping Busy
Exercising, healthy eating habits and meaningful daily activities are crucial in leading a happy life. It won’t come as a surprise therefore that rehabilitation at Yes We Can Youth Clinics consists of an intensive 24/7 programme. Keeping busy with positive matters at a healthy level is so beneficial and here is why…
Being bored is one of the biggest pitfalls when in recovery
As Founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics, I’ve designed a clinical programme together with professionals based on keeping our fellows (as we call our ‘clients’), busy 24/7. Being bored is one of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to falling back into ‘old behaviour’. We therefore keep our fellows busy with therapy, psycho-education and a lot of fun activities. We have an inhouse gym, a dojo (training facility specifically for martial arts) and a tennis court, which we utilize almost daily. Also, our premises are set in forestland which we use for mountain biking, running, boot camps and walking. We have multiple high rope courts as well and go on several outside activities a week.
Why we use so many sports activities to keep busy
Our fellows learn new behaviour during the daily one-on-one sessions and group sessions with their therapists and counsellors. Primarily during sporting activities, they can put their newly learned behaviour directly into practice. Our Youth Coaches use their expertise during these sporting activities to help polish the way fellows behave. Sport activities also teach our fellows how to work together and this is the central theme at all sport events. It strengthens the team spirit, as we often engage in group activities and exercises where the fellows learn to help each other.
Sporting activities teach them to set boundaries but push them as well, so they can discover their own strength and learn what they can do instead of what they can’t do. We believe it helps them build their self-confidence and often see fellows who in week one are scared to go up on our high rope courts, but by week 10 they would get up there blindfolded if we’d let them! It is wonderful to see a young person develop like that and it makes us very proud.
Exercising is a good way to clear the mind as well; it relaxes you even when you are physically working. This helps our fellows to let go of all their negative thoughts and worries they have. Most of them discover sports they like during the treatment. Some realise they like boxing so much for example, that they start professional boxing practices when they are back in their natural environment.
It’s all about inspiring and motivating
It’s not only about sports and therapy of course, we educate our fellows through meetings and lectures from people whom have experienced the same things they have. Our Youth Coaches tell them about their own hobbies and dreams to inspire them and to let them know there is more to life than using substances or engaging in bad behaviour. Their behaviour when they enter our treatment centre is often a survival mechanism; their old behaviour is their safe heaven. The goal of the coaches is to show fellows there are other ways to live life. Coaches can tell them how they have changed their lives and their behaviour and how it has benefited their lives positively. Their aim is to inspire and motivate the fellows.
The habit of a ‘normal’ lifestyle
Even though not all activities we do in the clinic can be done once fellows leave us, however what we see is that fellows pick up a routine of getting up at a ‘normal’ time in the morning and going to bed at a ‘normal’ time at night. They pick up the routine of eating at regular times; have breakfast, dinner and lunch as a basis of a healthy lifestyle and they develop positive daily activities such as exercising, work and school. It shows that the power of keeping busy is so strong, that it can either make or break your life.