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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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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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04.21.22 | Sage Advice

Creative vs. Critical Thinking

At Sage Collective, we champion our inspired model of 9 Ways of Vibrant living, and encourage everyone to discover new methods to help better their wellbeing. Today, we’re taking you back to Psych 101 to talk about the key differences between critical and creative thinking, why they’re both important, and ways you can practice both in your life to help you live more vibrantly: 

What Are Creative and Critical Thinking?

Understanding the difference between critical and creative thinking can be broken down simply this way: creative thinking is approaching problems or situations in new ways and with a new perspective, whereas critical thinking is using logic to analyze a situation in order to make an informed decision. Essentially, creative thinking is more subjective (influenced by feelings) whereas critical thinking is more objective (influenced by logic). Both are important when decision-making, so let’s explore some of the reasons why. 

Why Are They Important?

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, creativity – particularly for adults – can lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle. The same rings true for thinking creatively! Brainstorming new solutions and exploring new ideas are imperative for older adults because it helps provide a sense of self that is innovative and capable. The goal with creative thinking is to have an open mind and to approach situations with diverse perspectives. As for critical thinking, it’s equally important to approach situations constructively and logically, but it is the synergy of both thinking patterns working together that makes us great problem solvers. 

How to Improve Creative and Critical Thinking Skills:

To improve critical thinking skills, when you’re problem-solving, make a list of facts and then cause and effects. This will help you logically analyze outcomes, and come to a decision that way. To think more creatively, try asking yourself: what other considerations are there in this situation? What perspective could I be missing? An easy way to practice this is by brainstorming with another person– hearing a different perspective may inspire you to think of others as well, and is great practice for when you’re alone.

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03.31.22 | Sage Advice

The Art of Storytelling & Why You Should Share Your Story

At Sage Collective, we believe that everyone should feel empowered to express their unique voice. Storytelling is one of the best ways to do so while supporting vibrant living, and, has the power to inspire those exposed to it. Today, we’re highlighting the value behind the art of storytelling and why you shouldn’t hesitate from sharing your own story.

The art of storytelling is a valuable tool used by numerous cultures across the world for thousands of years. Throughout history, humans have found various ways to translate their emotions and experiences through ever-changing forms of communication. From cave drawings to spoken word to cinematography, there are countless ways we have been able to tell our stories.  

Finding Your Voice

As we’ve mentioned, sharing your story is a powerful tool that can heal trauma, create empathy, and even help those exposed to it. However, before you can tell your story, you must find your voice.

You might be asking what this means. In simple terms, discovering your voice means that you know the value behind your story. You want others to be able to hear what you want to say, and through this desire, confidence rises, and you are allowed more freedom to express yourself through whatever means. 

Finding your unique voice and sharing your story can be a daunting but rewarding challenge. One of the best ways of articulating your story is through writing or journaling. Writing is a powerful form of self-expression and allows you to communicate your voice through written word. If writing isn’t your forte, try drawing or even scribbling. 

No matter what method you use for storytelling, it’s key to remember that your voice matters. Continue to listen to yourself, be authentic and look for meaning in everything you do. You have the right to express yourself, and by doing so, you could have the power to inspire others. 

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03.24.22 | Sage Advice

Discover Your Inner Creative With Photography

At Sage Collective, we use the philosophy of “vibrant living”, and hope we can inspire you to do the same. There are endless activities and behaviors to introduce into your life to encourage vibrant living, but today we’re shining a spotlight on photography! Photography is not only a creative outlet, but a way to reconnect with yourself, your community, and a way to increase your mindfulness (plus so much more!). Let’s talk about it: 

Photography and Mindfulness

In 2022, we’re all looking for ways to stay more in the moment. Photography is perfect for this, as the art itself forces you to be present and aware of the things going on around you in a way that’s positive and relaxing. Focusing your attention on your surroundings with photography is a way to ground yourself and also strengthen your ability to reminisce. 

With photos, sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negative, the ones that maybe didn’t turn out how we planned. Though this can detract from our mindfulness, National Geographic explains that mindful photography can best be achieved when we change our mindset to think about the great photos that we take, rather than the ones that didn’t turn out how we wanted. 

Photography and Community

In addition to general health benefits, photography is a great way to strengthen your relationships and involvement with your community. Particularly for older adults, sharing photos with loved ones can be a great boost to your social relationships and bring you closer to your circle of people. Posting your photos online and sharing your interest promotes connection, and can be a great conversation starter! 

Additionally, it gets you involved in your community as you traverse your city to capture beautiful moments and scenes. You’ll likely even notice little details in familiar places that you’ve never noticed before, giving you a deeper appreciation and a new outlook on beloved spots.

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03.17.22 | Sage Advice

Why Technology Can Help You Discover Your Purpose

While the internet offers an endless amount of affordances, it often comes with a sense of overwhelming. Often, people will approach this matter by disengaging with the medium. But what if we started looking at it from a different perspective, thinking about how we can take advantage of technology to better our wellbeing and find our purpose?

For most, the meaning of life lies in the relationship we build with our family and community or through the application of various goals and values we assign to ourselves with time. As a significant element of Sage Collective’s 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, we believe that discovering a purpose is an essential component of living vibrantly. 

What many people often forget is that our purpose isn’t set. It ebbs and flows and changes as we do. Throughout these shifts of perspective, we find ourselves lost and without direction, which is why it’s so critical to experience a sense of connection, an affordance technology offers.

Because of technology, we are more connected and informed than ever before, but it’s also more difficult than ever for us to hide from negative behaviors. “Technology has to be utilized to bridge the gap that it has created. When so much of our lives are played out through technology; the best way to enhance them might just be through it,” says Constellation AI, one of the leading companies building technology to enhance human wellbeing. 

Because of technology’s various resources, including access to new communities, activities and knowledge, it has the potential to empower individuals and better our ability to find purpose. Discover how you can use technology to better yourself, find a way to live in harmony with both your physical and digital environment, and through that connectedness, you’re sure to discover your inner purpose. 

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03.10.22 | Sage Advice

Most Beneficial Mobile Apps for Adults & Seniors

As we continue our Vibrant Living Programming, we also want to resume sharing rich content that compliments our spirited training, and this month’s theme is discovery. Because the online world is so vast, no matter how experienced your knowledge is, there’s always more to uncover. Today, we’re exploring some of the most beneficial mobile apps that every adult should consider discovering for themself. Learn more about them here:

ShopWell

One of the best ways to curate a vibrant lifestyle is by following a healthy diet that includes moderate caloric intake and plant-based eating. The ShopWell app is a great way to assist you on your journey and help you match foods to your dietary needs. After creating a profile the app will help you create a nutritious shopping list full of everything your body needs, making anyone more confident with their cooking. ShopWell is available to download for free on all IOS and Android devices. 

NPR

Along with producing one of our favorite podcasts in 2022, NPR provides instant access to all of their breaking news through their NPR and NPR One apps. The NPR application allows users to read the latest stories and listen to public radio stations from the convenience of their phones. For those who prefer audio stories, NPR’s partner app, NPR One, offers the organization’s best podcasts and shows. NPR’s mobile apps are available to download on all devices.

Lumosity

For those searching for a unique form of entertainment that can still stimulate your brain, look no further than Lumosity. This brain training app is a great way to exercise your mind with various exciting, interactive games that focus on memory, speed, flexibility and problem-solving. The app is free to download, but also comes with a paid option for anyone wanting to look for an even more challenging and rewarding experience. 

Pocket Yoga

Another beneficial way anyone can live more vibrantly is by regularly being active and reducing stress, and thankfully, practicing yoga is an excellent activity to cover both. Yoga is an extremely valuable exercise for anyone searching to improve muscle strength, balance, mobility and flexibility. My Pocket Yoga is an amazing resource for yoga lovers, providing graphics for over 200 poses and videos led by certified yoga instructors. The app is downloadable on any IOS or Android device. 

Zoom

As much as many of us love to admit we are tired of Zoom, the application has provided an accessible way for everyone, from coworkers to family members, to connect throughout the pandemic. Zoom’s mobile application is nearly identical to its computer version, so anyone familiar with its companion should have no problem feeling comfortable maneuvering through its mobile version. 

The application still remains extremely relevant today, connecting loved ones across the world. In addition to audio and video calls, Zoom conveniently also allows users to share their screens and record conversations. Zoom is free to download on all IOS and Android devices.

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02.10.22 | Sage Advice

5 Podcasts to Help You Start the Year off Great

With the new year comes a plethora of rich podcasts for audiences to dive into. As our Vibrant Learning Program with Chicago Commons continues to explore the affordances of modern technology, we wanted to share a few tips of our own. Last autumn, we spotlighted five of our favorite podcasts at the time, and today, we’re spotlighting five more that are sure to bring you joy and an excess of knowledge throughout the year:

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brains

Hidden Brains prides itself on being “a conversation about life’s unseen patterns”. Each week, the stimulating show explores deep questions that lay at the heart of the changing world to help listenings not only better understand their surroundings but also themselves. Episodes range from discussions on the psychology of self-doubt, working from home, difficulties of apologizing and everything in between. Archived episodes of the beloved podcast can be found on NPR, and new episodes can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

Reply All 

For some of us, the internet is an unexplored world and for others, it’s a comforting tool. And while those audiences seem distant, Reply All provides a perfect place for everyone – novice or expert – to listen and learn. The tech podcast does an amazing job of exploring stories involving complex technologies in accessible ways, explaining what they are talking about as they go. Previous episodes have included investigating online scams to the best accounts you should follow on various social media platforms. You can listen to Reply All on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.  

Grief Cast

While a podcast all about the process of grief might not sound fun, Grief Cast explores themes hard to find anywhere else in the podcast world. Cariad Lloyd, the podcast’s host, brings a new comedian guest to the show each week, which helps transform the discussion into a dark comedy at times. Wandering through discussions of grief, loss, and the “weirdness that happens when someone passes”, Grief Cast is a perfect podcast for anyone looking to feel a little better during a hard time. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

How to Fail With Elizabeth Day

With so many podcasts filled with stories of success, it’s sometimes just nice to hear how some people’s failures led to a larger impact than their largest success. How to Fail With Elizabeth Day provides just that; Day shares her platform to interview a variety of guests on how their failures have shaped who they have become today. The inspiring, comforting and relatable podcast showcases just how when we think we’ve hit rock bottom, there is always a way up. You can find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

The Daily

Known as one of the most popular podcasts around, The Daily covers all you need to know about world news in less than 20 minutes. The New York Times produced podcast covers one in-depth news story each weekday. Michael Barbaro, journalist and the host of the show, provides listeners with the top story of the day paired with guests that include Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, other acclaimed journalists. The archived episodes are easy to explore for listeners, and there are many ways to listen, including on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Echo or simply from The New York Time’s Website.  

While podcasts may be an unknown area for many, the audio stories afford amazing resources, tools and manners of entertainment for both newcomers and natives alike. You can listen to each of the podcasts on their websites, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts. 

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