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12.28.23 | Community

2023: A Year in Review

As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, we at Sage Collective are thrilled to share the highlights of 2023, a year marked by innovation, growth, and deeper connections within our community.

Continued Success of the Vibrant Learning Program

Our journey with the Vibrant Learning Program, in collaboration with Chicago Commons, has flourished throughout 2023. This year, we’ve deepened our relationship with the community, witnessing firsthand the transformative power of learning and engagement. From exploring the intricacies of new technologies to delving into diverse cultures, our program participants have embarked on an enriching journey.

Themes of tradition, storytelling, family connection, and freedom have remained at the heart of our curriculum. Our activities, including armchair travel and digital painting, have not only been educational but also immensely enjoyable, fostering a sense of joy and wonder among all participants.

Expanding Our Horizons

2023 was a milestone year for Sage Collective as we embraced innovative ways to connect with our audience. One of our most exciting initiatives was the integration of Facebook Live into our communication strategy. This platform allowed us to reach new digital audiences and strengthen ties with our existing community.

Our Facebook Live sessions, focusing on updates about Sage Collective’s activities, healthy eating discussions, and more, garnered significant engagement. The enthusiastic response from our audience has been truly inspiring, and we eagerly anticipate continuing these interactive sessions in the coming year.

Looking Ahead: The Vibrant Living Podcast

In our constant effort to innovate and inspire, we are excited to announce the upcoming launch of our ‘Vibrant Living Podcast’ in the new year. Building on the themes explored in our Sage Advice blog, this podcast will dive deeper into the power of storytelling. We believe that stories have the ability to connect, heal, and empower, and our podcast will be a testament to this belief. Stay tuned for this exciting new venture!

As we reflect on the year gone by, we feel immense gratitude for the continued support and enthusiasm of our community. The journey of Sage Collective is one of continuous learning and growth, and we can’t wait to see what the new year brings. Here’s to a vibrant and fulfilling 2024!

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12.14.23 | Community

Embracing Food as Medicine

At Sage Collective, we often explore the different facets of vibrant living, and one aspect that continually resonates is the relationship between our diet and health. The age-old adage, “You are what you eat,” rings especially true as we delve into the concept of food as medicine – a philosophy that aligns perfectly with our journey towards holistic wellness.

Rooted in ancient practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the idea that food can be used as a healing tool has been around for centuries. Today, modern nutritional science echoes these traditions, highlighting how our dietary choices can significantly influence our health and well-being.

Imagine your kitchen as a treasure trove of medicinal remedies. The foods we choose to consume can act as powerful agents in preventing and managing various health conditions. For example, leafy greens and berries, laden with antioxidants, fortify our defenses against chronic illnesses. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts and fatty fish, are not just tasty but also champions for heart health.

Our dietary habits play a crucial role in shaping our health landscape. Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension – prevalent concerns in our community – are deeply linked to what we eat. By focusing on a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, we wield the power to reshape our health and reduce the risk of these conditions. The gut microbiome, an ecosystem within us, is crucial in maintaining our health. Foods that are friends to our gut – think probiotics like yogurt and fiber-rich vegetables – not only enhance our digestive health but also strengthen our immune system, a key factor in vibrant living.

Recognizing that one size does not fit all in nutrition, personalized dietary choices cater to our unique health requirements. This approach, emphasizing individuality, is at the heart of treating food as medicine. The connection between our diet and mental health is an area of growing interest. Nutrient-dense foods not only nourish our bodies but also our minds, influencing our mood and cognitive functions.

While we champion the idea of food as medicine, it’s essential to remember that it’s not about strict dietary limitations or deeming certain foods as off-limits. It’s about balance, variety, and making mindful choices that enhance our health without sacrificing the joy of eating.

As we continue on our path of vibrant living, let’s view our dietary choices as joyful selections for health. Our plates can be a palette of nourishing, flavorful foods that serve as our daily dose of medicine. Embracing this holistic approach, we not only cater to our physical health but also to our overall sense of well-being and joy.

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11.16.23 | Community

Savoring Thanksgiving: A Healthy Twist on Classic Favorites

Thanksgiving – a season of warmth, gratitude, and delectable feasts. It’s a time when family recipes and hearty dishes take center stage. While these traditional favorites are deeply cherished, they often come loaded with calories. This year, why not infuse the Thanksgiving table with a healthier twist, keeping the flavors rich but the fare lighter?

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a choice between taste and health. By weaving in more vegetables, opting for lean proteins, and embracing whole grains, we can transform our feast into a balanced array of nourishment and flavor. It’s about celebrating the holiday’s culinary traditions in a way that also honors our commitment to vibrant living.

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple, but this year, let’s turn it on its head. Swap out the bread for quinoa, a gluten-free grain that’s rich in protein and fiber. Mix it with aromatic herbs like sage and thyme, add some chopped vegetables like carrots and celery, and throw in a handful of dried cranberries for a sweet twist. This stuffing isn’t just a side dish; it’s a conversation starter.

The turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables. This year, let’s opt for a leaner cut by choosing turkey breast. Marinate it with rosemary, garlic, and a bit of olive oil to keep it moist and flavorful. As it roasts to golden perfection, it fills the kitchen with an aroma that promises a mouthwatering main course, minus the unnecessary fats.

End the meal on a sweet note without overindulgence. Core some apples and fill them with a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of honey or maple syrup. Bake them until they’re tender and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. It’s a dessert that satisfies the sweet tooth and adds a festive, healthy finale to your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is more than a feast; it’s a celebration of togetherness, gratitude, and the bounty of the season. By giving our favorite dishes a healthier makeover, we not only cherish these moments but also nurture our well-being. Enjoy this day of thanks, filled with love, laughter, and a feast that’s as good for the body as it is for the soul.

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11.09.23 | Fitness & Activity

Shining Light on Seasonal Wellness: Managing SAD

As winter approaches, the days grow shorter and the sunlight becomes scarce. This can lead to a lesser-known condition that tends to be more prevalent in our golden years: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s not just the winter blues; it’s a type of depression that ebbs and flows with the seasons. At Sage Collective, we believe in confronting such challenges with practical solutions and heartfelt support, fostering vibrant living year round. 

One of the first steps in managing SAD is recognizing the importance of light. Light therapy, or phototherapy, is a simple yet effective way to combat the symptoms. It involves sitting near a device called a light therapy box, which emits a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. It’s been shown to cause a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting light therapy, to ensure it’s the right step for you.

Supplementing with Vitamin D can also be beneficial, as our bodies naturally produce less when we’re exposed to less sunlight. Before starting any supplement, it’s wise to discuss it with a healthcare professional, who can advise on the appropriate dosage.

Exercise remains a cornerstone of vibrant living. Physical activity helps mitigate the symptoms of SAD by releasing endorphins and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. Whether it’s a walk in the mall, a gentle indoor exercise class, or stretching exercises at home, keeping active is key to lifting spirits during the colder months.

Staying connected with our community is equally crucial. Social engagement can provide emotional support, which is particularly important for those feeling isolated. Regular check-ins with friends, family, or participating in group activities can be a source of comfort and joy.

Lastly, let’s not underestimate the power of our surroundings. Creating a living space that maximizes light can make a substantial difference. Keep curtains open during the day, trim any outside bushes that block sunlight, and consider setting up your sitting areas near windows.

If you or someone you know is dealing with SAD, remember that it’s more than okay to seek help. Professional guidance can offer personalized strategies for managing symptoms. And here at Sage Collective, we’re always ready to listen and share insights for maintaining wellness in every season.

We’re committed to navigating the challenges of each season together, advocating for well-being with every tool at our disposal. Share your experiences or strategies for managing SAD on our platform. Let’s continue to support each other in leading a full, vibrant life, no matter the time of year.

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11.02.23 | Community

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is often associated with Thanksgiving, a time to express gratitude and come together as families. But the month also holds a special significance for family caregivers. Welcome to National Family Caregivers Month – a period dedicated to acknowledging the silent heroes among us who dedicate their lives to caring for loved ones.

What started as National Family Caregivers Week in the mid-1990s has since evolved, thanks to President Barack Obama’s proclamation in 2012, into a month-long tribute. This expansion wasn’t just a mere extension of time but rather a recognition of the year-round efforts these caregivers undertake. 

While showing appreciation is a crucial aspect of this month, its scope goes beyond acknowledgment. The aim is to rally support for caregivers, raise awareness about the challenges they face, and provide them with vital resources. The Caregivers Action Network (CAN), for instance, introduces a theme each year. This year’s theme is #CaregiversConnect, which spotlights the importance of connections as a way to educate and support others. 

By shining a light on the hardships and trials caregivers endure, we pave the way for better policies, resources, and societal understanding. Whether it’s lobbying for better workplace support, highlighting the emotional strain, or emphasizing the financial toll of caregiving, the advocacy element of this month is pivotal.

As individuals, there’s much we can do. From offering to babysit, assisting with chores, or merely lending an empathetic ear, every bit helps. Community groups and local initiatives can also play a role, perhaps by setting up support forums or offering respite care services. The strength of a community lies in its unity, and together, we can ensure our caregivers feel seen, supported, and valued.

As you move through November, take a moment to think about the caregivers in your life. They might be neighbors, friends, or even family members. While their sacrifices often go unnoticed, this month serves as a reminder of the immeasurable value they bring to our communities and lives. 

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10.26.23 | Arts & Culture

5 More Books You Have to Read This Fall

With autumn back again, there’s no better time to dive back into the art of reading. Last year, we recommended 5 books to enhance your fall reading, and this time around, we’re back with five more. Our selection this season includes captivating memoirs, enthralling collections of stories, and thought-provoking manifestos. These literary treasures are your passport to new worlds, fresh perspectives, and endless inspiration. So, let’s dive into this season’s must-reads:

How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair

How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair

Found on nearly everyone’s fall book list, How to Say Babylon is a story that resonates deeply with our values at Sage Collective. Sinclair’s memoir illustrates a powerful story of a young Jamaican girl, who, even through a life of strict abuse, discovers her voice and the power of sharing her story. For anyone who loves a tale of liberation and one rich in moving storytelling, this is the book for you.

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, Curtis Chin

Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant, Curtis Chin

In another recently acclaimed memoir, Curtis Chin shares his experience growing up as a gay Chinese American in 1980’s Detroit. The memoir is filled with laughs, heartfelt moments and vivid memories of Chin’s past. For anyone who holds an appreciation to the community around them and belief in its power to shape us throughout life, this should be at the top of your list. 

Our Strangers: Stories, Lydia Davis

Our Strangers: Stories, Lydia Davis

Author Lydia Davis’ latest collection of short fiction stories poetically explores a variety of topics from marriage to what we put in our coffee. Anyone who loves the ability to revisit the same story a handful of times and with each time, coming out with a new perspective will appreciate Our Strangers: Stories. And in a move to support small businesses, the book is only available to purchase form online independent retailers and bookstores. 

To Free The Captives, Tracy K. Smith

To Free The Captives, Tracy K. Smith

Smith bluntly shares her views on where the state of the Nation is in her latest novel. Exploring every topic from the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 to her own experience as a Black woman, mother and educator in the 21st century, she presents a manifesto on how our country could come to a new, shared perspective of recent history. 

Wednesday’s Child, Yiyun Li

Wednesday’s Child, Yiyun Li

Award winning Author, Yiyun Li explores the unexplainable feelings of aging, alienation and grief in her latest collection of stories. Each piece, previously published as singular works by The New Yorker, Zoetrope and other publications over a span of a decade, shares a different perspective on the cost of living. 

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 fall. You can find them at your neighborhood libraries, local bookstore or online. 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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10.19.23 | Community

The Importance of Screen-free Time

There’s an undeniable charm in reminiscing about the times when activities like flipping the pages of a book, taking in the sounds and sights of nature, or engaging in heart-to-heart conversations didn’t involve any digital devices. Today, as we sit in the digital age, screens have seamlessly positioned themselves into the fabric of our daily lives. They connect us to distant loved ones, open doors to vast troves of information, and offer unprecedented convenience.

Yet, as much as we might appreciate the joys of instant connectivity, it’s essential to remember that there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. The pull of the screen, while captivating, often comes at the cost of neglecting the world around us.

Consistent exposure to screens has its downsides. Physically, there’s the all-too-familiar sensation of eye strain after a long day of scrolling. Our posture might hunch, and the blue light from screens can disrupt our precious sleep cycles. Mentally and emotionally, the constant barrage of information, notifications, and digital engagements can leave us feeling overwhelmed. There’s also the small shift in our social interactions, with virtual chats often replacing genuine face-to-face connections.

But stepping back from screens allows us to rediscover various joys that lie just beyond their glow. It’s similar to joyspotting, where the world reveals delightful treasures waiting to be noticed. There’s the tactile joy of sketching on paper, the rustle of leaves during a morning walk, the enriching depth of a live conversation, and the simple act of being present in the moment.

To strike a balance between the digital and the real, consider implementing some conscious changes. Set designated tech-free hours during the day, allowing yourself to disconnect and recharge. Dive into hobbies that don’t require a screen—be it gardening, painting, reading, or even just daydreaming. Encourage face-to-face interactions, whether it’s through a friendly game night, a shared meal, or a leisurely stroll.

In our fast-paced world, where screens continually beckon us, it’s a radical act of self-care to pause, put down the device, and immerse ourselves in the tangible experiences surrounding us. It’s not about dismissing the advantages of technology but about cherishing the moments that make life vibrant and genuine. So, while we continue to navigate and appreciate the digital realm, let’s also remember to frequently take a step back, breathe, and savor the world beyond the glow of screens.

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10.05.23 | Arts & Culture

Understanding the Tradition of Walking Moai

We’ve all felt it: the comforting presence of a friend beside us, turning a regular walk into something special. That burst of laughter, that shared secret, or that debate over the best coffee shop in town. Now, imagine multiplying that by a few more friends, all walking together, with a shared sense of purpose. That’s the magic of a Walking Moai.

Originating from Okinawa, Japan, the term “moai” translates to a heartwarming “meeting for a common purpose”. It’s more than just hanging out – it’s about belonging to a tribe, each step echoing with shared dreams and aspirations. And when it comes to walking, this sense of unity turns every journey into a festival of memories.

And it’s not just about the fun moments. When we walk with our pals, we’re not just burning calories, we’re sparking joy. A study from 2020 whispered a sweet secret: walking with friends makes you healthier, happier, and more motivated. It’s as if our bodies and minds instinctively know: life’s better when we’re together.

In today’s world, where loneliness sometimes sneaks up on us, Walking Moais are like a warm hug. They’re more than just a group – they’re a family. A circle where shared stories replace solitude and laughter keeps away the blues.

What’s even more magical is the transformation that happens when we walk, talk, and dream together. Those in the known “blue zones” have shown us the way. Walking isn’t just about movement; it’s about connecting, feeling, and living. A quick stroll can chase away stress, and brainstorming on the go? That’s where the best ideas are born!

So next time you’re lacing up your shoes, consider inviting a friend or two. Walk, chat, dream, and discover the world through the wonderful rhythm of shared footsteps. Whether you’re chasing health goals, seeking heartfelt conversations, or simply wanting a break from the daily grind – your tribe, your Walking Moai, awaits.

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09.28.23 | Arts & Culture

Who Said Playtime Is Only For Kids?

From building sandcastles to playing hopscotch, every day was an adventure as kids. But as we grew up, responsibilities piled up, and the word ‘play’ somehow took a backseat. However, diving into recent research, we’re led to a revelation: Maybe it’s high time we adults introduce play back into our daily lives for better mental health and happiness.

The Transformative Power of Play

The act of playing, it turns out, isn’t just child’s play. It’s a profound tool that can transform our well-being. Engaging in playful activities has the potential to boost creativity, alleviate stress, and elevate our mood. It’s a reminder that joyspotting doesn’t have an age limit.

Engaging in play can also aid in cognitive functions. Just as children use play to understand the world, adults can use it to sharpen their minds, enhance problem-solving skills, and even foster better relationships with others. When we laugh, play, and engage in light-hearted competition, we break barriers, build trust, and foster camaraderie.

Reclaiming Your Playful Spirit with Vibrant Living

Our Vibrant Living program at Sage Collective recognizes the essence of holistic well-being. It’s not just about maintaining our physical health; it’s about nurturing our emotional and mental well-being. Embracing play and playful activities is aligned with this ethos, promoting not just life, but a life lived to its fullest.

So, how do you reintroduce play into your life? You don’t need a playground or toys. Playing for adults could mean trying out a new hobby, dancing whenever and wherever, joining a recreational sports league, or simply engaging in light-hearted banter with friends.

In the whirlwind of responsibilities and deadlines, it’s easy to dismiss play as frivolous. But as research suggests, it might be one of the simplest yet profound ways to infuse joy into our lives. Rediscover the magic of play. In doing so, you won’t just be rejoicing in the moment, but rejuvenating your soul. After all, why should kids have all the fun?

Who Said Playtime Is Only For Kids?
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09.21.23 | Community

Understanding the Japanese Philosophy of Nagomi

Words have the power to evoke profound feelings, emotions and connections. Much like the warmth captured by Hygge, or the humanistic beliefs shared in Ubuntu, there are countless philosophies from across the globe that make life more vibrant for all. Today, we’re diving into an ancient philosophy that embodies everything calm – Nagomi. 

What it means

Nagomi, pronounced “na-go-mi”, is derived from the Japanese verb “nagomu”, which means to calm down or to be comforted. At its heart, Nagomi is all about finding a sense of calm, peace, and tranquility within oneself, and by extension, with the world around. It signifies a harmonious balance between the inner self and the outer environment.

This philosophy emphasizes the importance of feelings over thoughts, promoting the idea that our emotions often harbor deeper truths about our well-being than our minds. For the Japanese, Nagomi is not just a fleeting feeling but an art of living that involves deeply respecting oneself and others and finding serenity even in the presence of chaos.

How you can practice Nagomi 

Much like Hygge’s invitation to enjoy the cozy and comfortable, Nagomi encourages us to cultivate moments of introspection and inner calm in our lives. Here’s a few ways you can incorporate Nagomi into your daily routine:

  • Nature Walks: Japan has always held a deep reverence for nature. Take a quiet walk in nature, in a garden, forest or along the beach. Breathe in the fresh air, observe the colors and textures and let nature’s symphony soothe your soul.
  • Mindful Breathing: Spend a few minutes each day focusing on your breath. Deep, conscious breathing can instantly bring a feeling of calmness and clarity. 
  • Traditional Arts: Engage in traditional Japanese arts like flower arranging or tea ceremonies. These activities require patience and concentration, allowing you to be fully present in the moment. 
  • Minimalist Living: Embrace simplicity in life. Declutter your living spaces and keep only what is truly essential. The external calm will reflect internally. 
  • Connection: Like Ubuntu’s focus on human connection, Nagomi also values the serenity that comes from harmonious relationships. Regularly engage in meaningful conversations and activities with loved ones, cultivating a space of mutual respect and understanding. 

At Sage, we believe that life’s beauty lies in its intricacies. From the vibrant moments of togetherness that Hygge brings to the profound interconnection embodied by Ubuntu, and now, the tranquil harmony of Nagomi, there’s a world of philosophies awaiting to enrich our lives. Embrace them, and find your own path to a vibrant life.

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