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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
While Chicago brings a variety of enjoyable activities to partake in during the winter, sometimes a break from all the bustle and noise of the city is welcome. For our fellow Bronzeville residents who might need a getaway this winter, here are the best day trips you can take to brighten your perspective with a change in scenery:
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Only a 1-½ hour drive away sits the quaint city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The beloved destination has been a top destination for Chicago residents for generations and offers a variety of fun-filled activities and stops for all ages. While the summer months are Geneva’s most popular tourist times, winter brings a much tamer atmosphere.
For lovers of the outdoors, Geneva’s Lake Shore trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy spectacular views in the brisk air. Once February arrives, the famous lake becomes filled with extraordinary ice sculptures, bonfires on the beach and more. While it is the coldest season, don’t miss your chance to experience the incredibly warm community.
Michigan City, Indiana
An adorable city located just off of Lake Michigan’s shores, Michigan City should be high on everyone’s list to visit this winter. The town is only one hour away from Chicago and is surrounded by one of America’s most stunning national wonders, the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks. While winter isn’t typically the time of year many choose to visit the lakeside landscape, witnessing the sand-swept mounds covered in layers of soft snow is sure to delight all visitors.
While many enjoy a stroll on one of the many trails found in the park, the town offers guests a variety of other ventures, including shopping at the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, dazzling architecture at Barker Mansion and an array of wineries and breweries.
Take a Joyride up Lake Shore Drive
Sometimes the best day trip is just hopping in the car and taking a drive to enjoy your surroundings, which is exactly what Lake Shore Drive delivers. Arguably the prettiest extended urban parkway in the nation, the 18-mile expressway runs from Ardmore Street on its north end to 71st Street on its south end, and lucky for Bronzeville residents, the best place to start the journey is from the south.
The ride is filled with recognizable Chicago landmarks that include the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park alongside spectacular views of Lake Michigan. However, once you reach the end of the trip, don’t be afraid to stop there. Exiting on N Sheffield Road will take you through several alluring suburbs filled with even more attractions and impressive architecture.
Whether you’re taking a thrilling trip to a neighboring state or simply enjoying a joyride down a historic street, we hope this inspires you to find your new favorite winter getaway from the city!
The stunning view of Lake Michigan from the Indiana Dunes near Michigan City, Indiana