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09.15.22 | Sage Advice

The Season for Slowing Down

With fall ending and autumn right around the corner, it’s time to wave warm weather and long days goodbye and welcome the vibrant colors and brisk breezes that come with the new season. You might also be experiencing shifts in your own life too, which is why it’s critical to continue filling your days with activities that enrich both your body and your soul. Today, we’re sharing how you can ensure vibrant living this fall: 

Get Outside

There’s no better place to be than outside in the fall. Encourage yourself to embrace the outdoors this season by utilizing community paths and trails or taking a trip to an apple orchard or park. Another great way to get outdoors is by planning a hiking trip or a road trip to witness the colors that come with the autumn season. While you’re outdoors, indulge in an awe-walk or a podcast.

Choose In-Season Cuisine 

With fall comes some of the tastiest seasonal produce with fruits like apples, pears and pumpkins and vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash. Visit your local farmers market or store to pick up the fresh produce and cook away! Some of our favorite fall recipes include pumpkin oatmeal, chicken and white bean soup and adobe chicken and kale enchiladas

Slow Down

If summer left you scattered or feeling like you had no time to yourself, fall is the perfect time to slow down and do more for your wellbeing. Incorporate more mindful moments throughout your day and make it a point to spend more time on yourself. Yoga and meditation are both great activities for grounding and reflection, and in the fall, you can do both outsides!

Fall is the season for slowing down. Embrace the cool weather, make the most of the season by cooking up season recipes and ground your mind, body and soul. 

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09.01.22 | Sage Advice

The Significance of Healthy Snacking

Many people grow up being told that eating snacks throughout the day isn’t the best way to fill hunger, but that isn’t necessarily true. Practicing healthy eating habits, like those we encourage through Sage Collective’s 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, certainly plays a significant role in the body’s health and wellbeing, but so does snacking. Discover the significance of healthy snacking and a few of the many benefits it provides below:

When snacking, it’s important to remember to stick to the same guidelines you apply to other foods and choose fresh, natural and plant-based foods. After discovering which foods to add to your snacking list, adding them to your daily diet produces countless lifestyle benefits. Here are just a couple: 

Fuels Movement

Sometimes all you need is a boost of energy to get you through the rest of the day when you’re feeling tired, and a snack is the perfect solution! When you’re not hungry enough for a full meal but need to pick me up, having something to snack on by your side is a great way to fuel you through the rest of the day. However, avoid foods normally associated with refueling, like soda. Instead, choose nutrient-rich snacks like a healthy trail mix or energy bar. 

Prevents Overeating

It’s easy to get hungry in between meals, and when you don’t have a snack, it’s even easier to overeat. Having food to snack on between mealtimes is essential to prevent overeating. Grab a fruit full of healthy carbs like a banana or a protein-packed snack like nuts or yogurt. Not only will this reduce the amount of time between meals – in turn reducing hunger – but it also provides your body with a variety of nutrients it might have required or craving throughout the day. 

Improves Focus

Another great benefit of snacking on your favorite foods throughout the day is the impressive ability to help improve concentration. When blood sugar drops and metabolism slows, the body becomes cranky, tired and distracted from the present. Thankfully, you can easily prevent a poor mood and sluggish productivity by adding snacks to your daily regimen!

Next time you feel bad about grabbing a midday snack, don’t! The right snacks can fuel you through the day, improve your focus and empower your body to stay healthy for the long haul.

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08.25.22 | Sage Advice

Introducing Our Newest Team Member, DeShunn Bray

With an impressive passion for forming rich connections with others and making significant impact on the communities in which she interacts, DeShunn Bray has always been a catalyst in her field. From working as the former site manager at Willa Rawls Manor to various security and programming roles, her extensive experience and radiating energy made her the perfect candidate to lead our Vibrant Learning Program at Chicago Commons. We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce DeShunn as the newest addition to the Sage Collective team. Get to know DeShunn in her introduction below: 

Can you talk a little bit about your professional background and how it has made you an expert in your field?

I have over 20 years of experience working with seniors and managing senior properties. I’m also a certified manager of senior housing, so with that has come other responsibilities of managing and securing properties. Not only was I managing one-on-one meetings with clients, but I also had a chance to discover their needs. One of my key responsibilities was making sure that everyone has a healthy, clean environment that helps them live more independently. So as a result, I was also responsible for helping provide services that would enhance their living space and every aspect of their quality of life.

What is your role with Sage Collective and our pilot program at Chicago Commons?

My title is Manager of Programming and Community Engagement. So when I walk into an assisted living program, or any program that deals with housing or providing a service with senior citizens, I make sure I come in with my “arsenal” — some excellent references and connections to vibrant living. I ensure that Sage Collective has the resources to carry out the different programs that we provide, including putting together an outline to touch on themes such as health, wellness, culture and arts. 

By tapping into that good vibe that we possess at Sage Collective, I also help our participants believe that life hasn’t ended and that every day is a great day. So when our participants’ family and friends see them thriving, it’s a way for them to say, “This is what I still like to do. I’m just a little older, but I am still the same person.’’ Through the programing, participants gain the ability to say with assurance what they need and I’m elated to provide them with that type of confidence and language they need to be able to communicate better with everyone. 

You’re also doing grassroots outreach throughout the community. How meaningful is this type of outreach for organizations like Sage Collective?

Well, you can talk about it, but our thing is to be about it. We have to go out in the field and connect with people on their level, sit down, have a conversation with them, have a conversation with the community, and say, “This is what we need in our community.” So connecting with the public, the Aldermen, builders, and even larger corporations allows Sage Collective to advance our service to others that may be in real need of tackling isolation and depression. If we come in and show them the type of programming we’re doing, we could get funding. And so connecting with different organizations and bringing those resources to the community, where there are underserved seniors or disabled communities is key to what we should and will be doing.

It’s very fulfilling work to walk out of the door and have a purpose. And that’s one of the things that we at Sage Collective make sure people understand — that they do have a purpose in life —  and it should extend beyond what the nation is saying or thinking.

Speaking of purpose and along the lines of Sage Collectives beliefs and values, what unique values held by Sage Collective drew you to work for them?

The fact that Sage Collective has implemented a new way of thinking. Humans have to constantly think differently to allow themselves to change. I can go to YouTube now, and I can download two-minute workouts, 15-minute workouts, and 20-minute workouts and Sage Collective helps put those resources out there so that seniors can know that they don’t always have to tap into their budget and do something expensive to improve their health. Why wouldn’t someone want to be a part of an organization that’s not trying to buy them, not trying to make them spend a whole lot of money to improve their lifestyle, to improve their health, to help connect them with others?

What are you most looking forward to most as a new member of Sage Collective’s team? What do you hope to accomplish in your time ahead?

Making change leaves a legacy. So it’s a great feeling coming on board with a team that shares the same beliefs that I have and takes them to the next level. Even though I am living with the purpose of securing myself and others, I’m also changing the way people look at their futures. And there’s not a lot of people preaching that or teaching that. And I love the concept of being that person that can walk through the door and make you smile and laugh. 

One woman in the Vibrant Living Program made me smile last week when she told me that I had brought out a feeling she had been missing because she was listening to blues music and remembering their younger years. So I think knowing that somebody cares, and then incorporating their feelings into the next lesson, into the next program, into the next adventure, who doesn’t want to be a part of that? So I see myself being that person, taking the time to understand my clients, and then being right there on the level with them. And as far as Sage Collective, as long as they’re in business, I want to be there.

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08.18.22 | Sage Advice

The Enigma of Heirloom Foods

Like everything, foods evolve with time, changing in flavor, color and even shape. And yes, while we’re cautious to eat any of those weird looking foods, they’re often filled with a plethora of flavor and nutrients. Today, we’re exploring heirloom foods and why you shouldn’t let their appearance hold you back from trying them.

What are heirloom foods?

Have you ever noticed that weird-shaped carrot or the odd-colored tomato at your grocery store? Those are heirloom foods! Like all other aspects of life, as time passes, agricultural products and systems change, progressing the popularity of some foods and lessening the use of others. This leads to the emergence of heirloom foods – foods that may have been commonly eaten throughout previous generations but are less so today. 

Why you should add them to your diet

Heirlooms don’t only come with unique looks, but they also provide many nutritious benefits other foods don’t have. The genetics within the plants also typically provide them with pest, disease and weather resistance. 

Whether you’re snacking on an heirloom vegetable, fruit, or egg, each food is also sure to be filled with flavors you haven’t experienced before. The taste is what draws many to the established foods. Beyond their flavor, buying heirloom foods is also a great way to support local farms in your area that may grow them instead of buying usual produce from large-scale farms. 

Don’t hesitate to grab those colorful potatoes or weirdly shaped tomatoes next time you spot them out, you could be missing out on a flavor-filled heirloom treat!

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08.11.22 | Sage Advice

National Black Business Month

At Sage Collective, we embrace the powerful idea of collective impact and empowering those around us to achieve a more just and equitable future for everyone in our community. One aspect of this includes supporting the local businesses throughout the year, especially now, during National Black Business Month in August!

Created in 2004 by historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr., National Black Business Month was organized to celebrate the more than two million Black-owned businesses throughout the country. Throughout the United States, countless Black-owned businesses are essential pillars of their community and Black Business Month provides the perfect opportunity for local consumers to exhibit support. 

There are countless ways you can support your local Black-owned business; from simple tasks like leaving a positive review to discovering how you can advocate for them beyond their product. What matters most, however, is mindset and intent. 

Small businesses have always been economic drivers behind local economies, and supporting your local Black-owned business can leave an impact beyond the business’ walls. Be intentional about your support throughout the entire year; refer friends, share on social media, forge relationships with the owner or discover how you can uplift them further. 

We encourage you to support the Black businesses throughout your community no matter where you are throughout the month! To discover more Chicago Black-owned businesses head here.

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07.28.22 | Sage Advice

How to Combat Senioritis As An Adult

It’s not just teenagers who can feel senioritis adults can too. We’ve all experienced it at some point; laziness, disinterest, having no motivation, not caring about the outcomes of our life. But just because these symptoms of checking out are universally experienced doesn’t make them okay to ignore. Today, we’re investigating adult senioritis, how checking out can affect your wellbeing and tools you can use to combat it:

What Senioritis Looks Like As An Adult

You might know senioritis as the affliction many seniors in high school experience as they enter their final year when their motivation declines and their drive to succeed diminishes. Though this phenomenon isn’t just found in young adults, anyone can experience senioritis. 

Typically, senioritis begins when there is a sign of a major transformation occurring in life, like graduating high school or even starting a new job. It begins with a fear of the future and feeling like you may not have control over a situation. As we age, many of the small tasks we enjoy earlier in life become tiresome and lose value to us, which can lead to checking out. 

However, it’s important to remember that checking out looks different to every person. The key is to recognize the signs and signals once you see them and begin taking action to snap out of the senioritis. 

How You Can Combat It

After acknowledging that you may be checking out, don’t start by setting unattainable goals for yourself – start small. Give yourself a to-do list of a handful of goals to reach every day, whether that’s going to the grocery store to run errands or making sure you respond to all of your emails. 

Once you’ve given yourself a list of small goals to aim for, the next step is to pair an incentive to it! Use motivations that connect back to why you might be checking out in the first place; if you’re starting a job, go shopping for new work clothes. Whatever your incentive is, use that to help drive you to complete your goals. 

As you tackle senioritis and become an active participant in your life again, remember to take it one step at a time. It might not always feel like you’ll be able to step out of it, but you will. 

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07.14.22 | Sage Advice

Take A Break: How Microbreaks Can Change Your Day

At Sage Collective, we encourage self-care through many elements of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living. Taking advantage of tools like meditation and even going to the museum to relieve stress and fatigue can be game-changing when it comes to our health. Another often unused device is taking microbreaks. Learn more about their power and impact on our well-being here:

Whether you have limited availability throughout the day or you’re uncomfortable making time for yourself, studies have found that scheduled breaks leave a powerful impact on the body and mind. Microbreaks in particular – lasting anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes – can leave even larger impacts on our wellbeing. 

Sophia Cho, co-author of research conducted by the Journal of Applied Phycology states, “A five-minute break can be golden if you take it at the right time.” The paper found that microbreaks were useful in conserving and managing energy and engagement throughout the day. 

Besides the vast health benefits that come with taking microbreaks throughout the day, another comfortable aspect behind the tool is that the activity can involve anything you want. You can easily break up your routine by taking a power nap, walking during your meeting, stretching or even talking to a friend on the phone. 

So, next time you find yourself in need of a minute or two of rest and relaxation, listen to your body and take a break. 

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06.30.22 | Sage Advice

Change Your Mindset On How You View Leisure Time

Working and finding purpose helps to bring meaning to life, but leisure time that we spend with people we love and doing things we enjoy is what brings extra health and happiness. While some people may view their leisure time as wasteful, a new study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finds that the more negatively we see this time, the less enjoyment we will receive from it. 

Goal-oriented activities like working out and meditation are typically viewed in a positive way whether or not those who participate in them view it as wasteful because of their productive value. But activities like hanging out with family and friends or enjoying activities for pleasure like watching television or simply relaxing are often viewed as self-indulgent.  

The study explains that those who viewed their leisure time as less enjoyable and wasteful were found to have more anxiety and stress in their life, and those who viewed it oppositely were happier. Results conclude that happiness not only has a linkage to whether people partake in leisure activities but also how they value that time spent. 

It can be a strenuous process to change your mindset, but it’s important to remember the value that lives behind leisure time. Instead of viewing the time as wasteful, relating it to procrastination or work and tasks, start to picture it as beneficial time you can utilize to take care of yourself. 

You can read more of the study here.

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06.23.22 | Sage Advice

Smoothies: How You Can Pack Everything Into A Delicious Drink

Good dietary choices make for the foundation of good health. And, as we age and our bodies change, these decisions become more and more important for our wellbeing. Previously we’ve shared various healthy eating tips everyone can follow to keep you and your diet on the right track throughout the year. Today, we’re spotlighting one nutrient-packed refreshment that – thanks to the season’s ample availability of fresh fruits and vegetables – is the perfect for summer: smoothies. 

The Benefits Behind Smoothies

Eating fresh produce is critical to everyone’s health, and thanks to smoothies’ ability to condense large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, they make the perfect snack to fill up on nutrients and boost wellness. For those looking to increase their digestive health, smoothies provide the perfect opportunity to fuel your body with high-fiber foods like strawberries, bananas and dark leafy greens without singling each ingredient out.

Because of the large amount of water contained in many of the ingredients found in most smoothies, they make staying hydrated easy throughout the hot summer months when it’s most important. They’re also a perfect way to start your day thanks to the extra boost of vitamins and energy they provide and the fact that they usually reduce food cravings throughout the day and are surprisingly filling.

Make Your Own

Besides the seemingly endless benefits that come from smoothies, what makes them so convenient is the ability to customize them to your liking and dietary needs. Whether you want to target protein intake by using yogurts and nut butter or antioxidant-rich produce like spinach and blueberries, there’s no way to go wrong. Here are two of our favorite recipes: 

 

Green Smoothie: 

2 cups of spinach or preferred green

1 cup of your milk or juice of choice

1 banana cut into chunks

½ cup of pineapple chunks

½ cup of grapes

¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt

Ice as needed

 

Berries and Vegetable Smoothie:

1 cup of blueberries

1 banana cut into chunks

1 cup of spinach or preferred green

1 cup of milk or juice of choice

¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of nut butter of choice

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

Ice as needed

 

The directions for making a smoothie are simple. Just add all of the ingredients to a blender, blend and enjoy!

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06.16.22 | Sage Advice

Simple Ways You Can Expel Stress This Summer

As one of the pillars for our model of 9 Ways of Vibrant Living at Sage Collective, we believe stress reduction is crucial to living a vibrant life. And while stress is a normal component of life, our focus isn’t to eliminate it but rather to learn how to manage, control and minimize it. Today, we’re spotlighting four tools everyone can utilize this summer and throughout the year to reduce stress:

Get Outside

Spending time outdoors is one of the easiest ways to relieve stress throughout the summer. While sunshine is accessible year-round, summertime is when you can benefit the most from the vitamin D it supplies! Vitamin gain leads to stronger and healthier bones and boosts immune systems. Research has even found that exposing yourself to fresh air and natural light for as little as 15 minutes a day helps to decrease emotional distress. 

Spend Time With Friends and Family

Time outdoors isn’t the only thing you should be adding to your daily routine in the summer. Another way to assure less stress and anxiety is by spending more time with your friends and family. As the proverb goes, “it takes a village.” Community and safe spaces are extremely significant to our wellbeing, especially when going through a stressful time. So, setting aside time to spend with family and friends is a sure way to help you stay stress-free! 

Reflect on Your Day

Whether it’s prayer, meditation, or simply practicing gratitude, taking time to reflect on your day is another way you can expel stress. As little as ten minutes of any of those activities can leave a profound impact on how you view your days, even when you may be facing stress. Along with reflecting on your own, taking opportunities to practice acts of service is another powerful way to relieve stress while engaging with your community and building relationships!

Take a Nap

Naps aren’t reserved for just little kids and are much better for our health than many people realize. Along with being a great way to break up your day and provide a much-needed break, naps have been found to lower the risk of heart disease, increase the body’s energy and lower stress! Naps don’t have to be long either; studies show that the most beneficial nap length for our bodies is only 10 to 15 minutes.

Living with stress isn’t enjoyable for anyone, but once we utilize the correct techniques and tools, controlling and minimizing stress is much easier than it sounds.

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