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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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04.14.22 | Sage Advice

Literary Art: Our Favorite Picks This Spring

With a new season comes an endless list of exciting refreshing reads. As we continue to spotlight the importance of family connection, identity and storytelling through our Vibrant Living Program, we’re thrilled to spotlight some of the latest works of literacy art that celebrate each of those themes. Here are our picks: 

The Trayvon Generation, Elizabeth Alexander

Author Elizabeth Alexander reflects on the traumas of racism and racial violence in this passionate literature mix. Pulling soulful works from Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks and a blend of expressive visual art, Alexander spotlights both the tragedies and hopes for what she refers to as the Trayvon Generation. Named one of New York Times’ and TIME Magazine’s most anticipated works of the year, The Trayvon Generation is an essential pick filled with eye-opening short stories and powerful lyricism. 

Because Our Fathers Lied, Craig McNamara

Families often consist of complicated relationships built from years of conflict and confusion. In his latest book, Craig McNamara shares the roots of his estranged relationship with his father, Robert S. McNamara, one of the architects of the Vietnam War. Through this courageous telling of love and neglect, McNamara captures a tale of multigenerational friction, sure to make any reader reflect on their own kindred connections.

12 Notes: On Life and Creativity, Quincy Jones

Known for his legendary music, Chicago native Quincy Jones explores literacy art with his latest project, 12 Notes: On Life and Creativity. The self-reflective novel features Jones sharing his wisdom on discovering a creative muse and using it to uplift yourself and those around you. Jones unveils his intimate creative process and shares a personal guide filled with lessons intended to embolden readers.

Finding Me: A Memoir, Viola Davis

Acclaimed actress Viola Davis finds a refreshing way to share her heartening life story in her first memoir, Finding Me. Davis, who believes that sharing stories “is the most powerful empathetic tool we have,” courageously documents her journey from living in poverty and turmoil to becoming one of the biggest stars in the world. Finding Me is more than just a deep reflection of life; it’s also an empowering story of expressing oneself and discovering identity.  

Whether you prefer reading alone, with a companion or in a book club, don’t hesitate to pick one or two of these books up for yourself this spring. And as with all good reads, spread the word to friends and family when you finish a book you really love!

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04.07.22 | Uncategorized

The Importance of Knowing Your Family History

For many, digging into family histories may sound like a wholly worthwhile experience, while others may find it too time-consuming and extensive of a process – a common misconception. However, it’s more important than ever for all of us to learn, record and preserve the rich history connected to each of our lineages for our well-being and the well-being of future generations.

Our family histories are more than just birthdates and family tree charts; they’re full of rich information that helps each of us gain a stronger understanding of who we are. The information tied to family history has the ability to empower identities and build self-worth, especially for those who might not currently have access to information tied to their family’s past. 

As we collaborate with family, community members and other resources that may help us discover our family history, we not only build connections with people in the present but also from the past and into the future. 

Along with empowering identities, family history knowledge can have dramatic effects on your health and others in your family. Have you ever had a blank mind when the doctor asks if certain health conditions run in your family? Taking the time to reach out to family, and learn more about their medical history, is the best way to avoid this and discover what you might be at risk for. Knowing this history can help you make informed choices concerning your health to live a more vibrant life

There are countless resources online and in-person that you should take advantage of when starting your genealogical journey. The first resources everyone should look to are the ones you might already have, like family trees, scrapbooks and other family history basics. If you don’t have any yourself, connect with distant relatives to gather materials that you believe would be helpful to you. 

Websites like FamilySearch.org are perfect for those of us who want to dive even deeper into their identity and background, and it’s free to use. Another way to stay involved online is by joining the family history conversation online. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are perfect for making connections and expanding your resources through a network of family historians. 

Whether you already have a great deal of knowledge related to your family history or you’re new to the ancestry trend, having access to genealogy can change your life. Try taking an hour out of the day to poke around and see what you can discover for yourself.

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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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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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12.30.21 | Sage Advice

Resolutions for 2022

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success in a new year is by making a list of resolutions before it starts. This tradition is a powerful way to articulate your values and can hold you accountable for your goals heading into the new year. In case you’re unsure of what to add to your to-do list, here are some resolutions you can take into 2022 to continue championing a vibrant lifestyle.

Start Something You’ve Always Dreamed About

Heading into the new year, make it a priority to make an ambitious dream come true. Not only is it essential to set goals for yourself throughout the new year, but achieving them leads to significantly rewarding experiences. Whether you want to head back to school, discover a new hobby or change career paths, don’t be afraid to take initiative of your life. Fulfilling dreams helps give your life purpose, control and meaning. And, if this isn’t the year to do it, when is?

Put Your Health First

Putting your health first encompasses a variety of choices that you can make throughout the year. It’s important to remember that your body’s health consists of both physical and mental elements. So, while making sure you try to incorporate moderate, regular physical activity into your life along with a variety of nutritious foods, taking care of your mental health is just as important. And, lucky enough, sometimes specific actions will go hand in hand with helping both areas of wellness. 

Live in the Moment

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We believe one of the most significant goals you should have in the new year is to live in the present. To do so, you must focus on the now. A few great ways to do this are by practicing mindfulness, performing meditation or simply performing random acts of kindness in your community.  

We’re thankful to keep learning from the lessons that 2021 has taught us and couldn’t be more excited to see how our resolutions will play out in the upcoming year!

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11.30.21 | Sage Advice

How Spirituality and Religious Involvement Can Help You Age Better

With aging comes many difficulties and moments of emotional turbulence, leaving some to believe they are alone on their journey. However, the aging process also introduces many people to new hobbies, fulfilling purposes and other approaches to life that they had never experienced before. Vibrant living is always at the forefront of our vision at Sage Collective, and one chief aspect of our inspired model is engagement in spirituality and religion. Today, we’re the significant impact that spiritual and religious involvement can have on the aging process.

Sometimes as you age, a sense of community and support is all you need. Churches, and other places of worship, are hubs for mutual respect and are the perfect places to discover connections, engage in thoughtful discussion and participate in meaningful action. 

Despite the anxieties that come with aging, like increased loneliness and isolation, religious attendance has been found to establish a stronger feeling of community support. A recent study published by Geriatrics Journal found that religion and spirituality played a variety of roles in the lives of older adults who participated in them, including strengthening emotional connections and enhancing feelings of comfort and hope during hard times. 

Because religious and spiritual institutions often encourage connecting with those around you, they are one of the best ways for older adults to immerse themselves in a supportive social network and embrace vibrant living. Many religious institutions practice a “door’s always open” policy and will gladly welcome anyone who walks through their entrance. 

Because of these uplifting benefits and more, we encourage you to explore your community and discover a faith of your own if you haven’t already. And no matter the religion, we’re sure that a vibrant community full of love will welcome you with open arms and help produce essential support that will lead to better aging. 

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10.19.21 | Sage Advice

How Museums Might Reduce Your COVID-19 Stress

One of the largest challenges in modern-day life is finding a treatment for the frequent burnout that most of us feel daily. At Sage Collective, one of our most cherished beliefs is that wellness, health and empowerment should be made priorities in every community. That’s why today, we’re exploring how museums might be the perfect answer to your post-pandemic stress and burnout. 

Many individuals, especially older adults, have faced higher stress levels over the past year and a half than ever before. Feelings of uncertainty and unpredictability due to COVID-19 have also led to many feeling alone, anxious and burnt out, with little reprieve. However, there is growing research that offers tangible steps toward alleviating these negative feelings. 

Often in the present day, many feel like time is limited, and burnout is constant. However, solace can be found in the relaxing and revitalizing spaces of a museum. For many, the knowledge that curated spaces of art and history can provide a wealth of benefits for mental and physical health is new.

Recently, doctors in Belgium received permission to prescribe museum visits to combat the mental health crisis in their country, and similar actions have been implemented in Canada. Patients who get the prescriptions can go anywhere from an intimate art gallery to a fashion exhibition at a history museum. 

The goal behind the three-month-long trial is to promote an engaging learning experience and shift people away from the stress of their daily routines in hopes of having a positive impact on mental and physical health. The museums and exhibitions act as safe and welcoming places for patients to unwind from their day-to-day responsibilities and explore new ideas and areas of interest. Not only does the time off allow patients to catch their breath and spend time with loved ones, but it also acts as a moment of respite from the harsh realities of the pandemic. 

Instead of relying on drug therapies, this mode of enrichment has the possibility to be expanded to other areas of mental health beyond pandemic-related stress and anxiety to alleviating symptoms of depression, psychiatric disorders, anxiety and more. 

Numerous museums, galleries and art centers around Bronzeville present the perfect opportunity for anyone looking to combat stress and relax — in person or virtually. The South Side Community Arts Center, Gallery Guichard, Smart Museum of Art, DuSable Museum of African American History, and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry are all wonderful choices to spend an afternoon enhancing your wellbeing and expanding your mind. 

Furniture and a crowd of people fill a bright museum interior.
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