Culture 22 May 2017
We are living at a time when our voices are more critical than ever. You hear that everywhere, from everyone, and all the time. And you know what? It’s absolutely true.
Global warming has gone from a scary scenario in the far future to real, imminent reality. Religious persecution in the U.S. has gone from a 16th century injustice that's been conquered to a terrifying possibility 250 years later. Slavery has moved from a shameful part of American history to modern day law and order. Did you know that sex trade is rampant on the web? Double click on that term and you will find the dark web filled with underground child sex rings and human trafficking exploits. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, with 68% of them trapped in forced labor; 26% of them are children, and 55% of them are women and girls. It also estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide. That’s close to the GDP of Portugal. Does this make you sick? Good, it should.
This is compounded by the fact that we are a consumer generation. As these scary stories unfold, we gobble them up. We have content coming out of our pores; we are inundated by every feed out there, news outlet, social platform, blogs, hell, this very article is an instance of it. We are a straight-up "gimme gimme" generation, and with new apps rolling out every day, we can have anything sliced up and served to us in any fashion we like the moment we see it. Groceries, designer labels, mindfulness, and mediation. Virtually everything is for sale, including things that should never be commoditized, such as human rights.
There is enough drama out there in the world today to make anyone want to crawl into a hole and hide. So what’s a generation to do? The answer: #Resist. There are future generations to protect and vulnerable people to defend. As Nelson Mandela said, “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”
Hope, fueled by action. That’s why we built Bridge2Act. The goal is to bridge the gap between sobering realities and small actions that people can take to make the world a better place. We hoped that the aggregate of these small deeds would build on each other to create something beautiful, inspiring, and impactful.
Through this process, we have been blown away by the impact of the individual contributor. With social invigoration enabling a generation of influencers to use their social star power to galvanize followers into action, we have witnessed the power these perfectly-curated personalities yield in providing a voice for the world’s most exposed.
We flipped the script, and focused on a generation of shoppable content that fights back. What if others used their channels as well to create content that promotes awareness and activism, simply and securely? It would be a masterpiece. Let’s point all our gimme-gimme tendencies to apps focused on furthering social good, progress, and equality. And yes, I am biased, since I co-founded a company that does just that, but there are others out there doing the same.
Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn partnered with Show of Force and PBS to create A Path Appears, which is a favorite of mine. They “provide a unique and essential narrative about making a difference in the world — and a roadmap to becoming a conscientious global citizen… [it] examines the struggles women face in the United States and abroad, and the inspiring individuals working with them to create effective solutions.”
The influence of celebrities has always been known, through things like ad campaigns and spokesmodels. However, lesser-known is when celebrities use their app-based notoriety to create awareness and solicit activism. We witnessed that firsthand last year on Giving Tuesday when we launched #IDreamOfChallenge at Bridge2Act. Through millions of social impressions and numerous donations, this group of amazing humans cultivated tremendous impact for over 40 nonprofits in 24 hours. Take HBO’s Ballers and Marvel’s Inhumans beauty Serinda Swan. Serinda has hundreds of thousands of followers and fans across her various social channels and her activism has always been a hallmark of her Hollywood brand.
While some celebs leverage philanthropy to promote their personal brands, others are aligned to causes fundamentally at their core. Serinda is one of the latter and she is not alone. Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Regina Hall, Eva Longoria and so many others have made activism part of their brand and it’s creating a significant opportunity for them to pay it forward in a way that strengthens their star appeal.
We are a generation that can move mountains. We start revolutions, topple governments (think: the Arab Spring), make and break stars, and promote equality from our phones. Why can’t we help the unfortunate while we are at it?
The essential questions become: will you be part of enacting and furthering the solutions when they present themselves? Will you take action when promoted and donate to incredible organizations doing work to create a better world for us all?
What will you do about it? This is your chance.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.