An Open Letter To The World: Please Forgive America’s Temporary Insanity

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Dear World,

Another week another heart wrenching headline that makes Americans look as unwoke as humanly possible. Mr. Trump, as he is so lovingly referred to by The New York Times and other outlets that use the non-Presidential moniker to voice their own quiet rebellion, has done it again. In defiance of hundreds of years of global solidarity and scientific research, Trump has taken our country one giant step back, siding with only two other nations-Syria and Nicaragua-who reject the Paris Climate Agreement, meant to unite the world against the devastating effects of climate change. His reasoning is, as usual, muddled. It involves something about Pittsburgh? Or was it Something about Germany being “very bad”?

Around the world, the headlines were brutal. One German newspaper's cover showed a giant Trump head lunging towards the earth with an open salivating mouth. The title was just as ominous: "America First, Earth Last." We get it, we look crazy, but before you cast us aside, please give us a minute to analyze what is going on in Bizarro World USA.

Did Trump pull out of the Paris Agreement, which was carefully negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in 2015, because he truly believes it is the right move for our country or is he simply enjoying his role of political rule breaker? It seems “look at what I’ll do next!,” is our current President’s mantra. Trump is a man who is used to seeing his name in lights and this presidency thus far has been a reflection of that. From physically (and symbolically) pushing aside political leaders to sending messages of “covfefe,” (which as of press time is still unrecognized by spell check), it’s hard to know where the reality show begins or ends. And thus, we can’t help but wonder if Mr. Trump is chasing the spotlight rather than thinking of the best for Americans, present and future. Even former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke out against Donald with a now viral video in which he reminds the Commander-in-Chief whose best interest he’s supposed to be looking out for.

“My message to you, Mr Trump is that as a public servant, especially as a President, your first and most important responsibility is to protect the people,” said the terminator. “Two hundred thousand people die every year in the U.S. from air pollution, and half of our rivers and streams are too polluted for our health. We can’t sit back and just do nothing while people get sick and dying, especially when you know there’s another way.”

What is even more concerning is the fact that the world is beginning to pull away from the United States due to a President who most of us did not vote for. While we can’t say we don’t understand why there are so many who would rather not work directly with Trump, we ask world leaders to remember that America is more than Donald Trump. There are millions of us positively in a frenzy due to the ill-advised decisions and scattered leadership of this administration. We, the sane, the science-minded and, ahem, the majority of Americans, are in a downright panic about what is happening in our country. We are rising up, we are fighting back, we are trying our hardest to remind the world that the United States is a country that embraces diversity, science, information sharing and working with our allies to preserve our planet.

We cannot destroy the decades and centuries of camaraderie, intercontinental support and unity, because of one divisive President. It must be reminded that many powerful modern countries of today have had questionable and downright horrible leaders throughout history. Having the foresight to remember we must always come back to the table after the dust settles is imperative to navigating these next three years, seven months, 18 days, and 1 hour of this presidency.

Our Fragile President

The fragility of the male ego is an oft overlooked reality, and one that has come to define many of the world’s most tragic turning points in history. On one hand Trump is a fearless bossman who can fire people and reject policies with ease, but on the other he is a sensitive soul who needs to prove he is popular and well liked. Quick to hate-tweet his “enemies” and overinflate anything remotely positive, we want the world to know we see the smoke in mirrors and we are far from entertained by it. Deciphering the truth has never been harder, at least in my young adult life.

Often history’s most notorious personalities were also emotionally fragile, strange folks who could not handle criticism or questioning, yet were bold in their decision making. The fact that Donald has surrounded himself by only like-minded “yes” people including his daughter and son-in-law, make for a soft sounding board when it comes to rendering heavy verdicts. It is rumored that even Ivanka was against this move, although we can never be exactly sure just what is going on in that family.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of a country that is the biggest culprit of carbon dioxide emissions in the populated universe, sickens the vast majority of us who feel a responsibility to the rest of the world to be leaders in the race against climate change. The dangerous and irresponsible move threatens our planet, our relationships with our allies, and our national security.

The future that Trump is preparing for is one that considers Trump, and Trump interests above all. By isolating us from the rest of the world (which incidentally is the way predators go about catching and killing their prey) creates a future for him that is unburdened by due process or global reprisal. Unlike other leaders (Washington, Eisenhower, and Obama are considered to be top in the bipartisan game) who sought the opinions of experts and lawmakers before making his decisions, Trump believes he knows best. And if history tells us anything, having that kind of ego means he does not.

“But this much is clear now: Mr. Trump’s policies — the latest of which was his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change — have dismayed America’s allies, defied the wishes of much of the American business community he pretends to help, threatened America’s competitiveness as well as job growth in crucial industries and squandered what was left of America’s claim to leadership on an issue of global importance,” wrote The editorial board of The New York Times, which also reveals that in the last few months Trump has ordered rollbacks of every one of the policies on which President Barack Obama pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions. “In huge neon letters, it sends a clear message that this president knows nothing or cares little about the science underlying the stark warnings of environmental disruption. Perhaps most astonishing of all, a chief executive who touts himself as a shrewd businessman, and who ran on a promise of jobs for the middle class and making America great again, seems blind to the damage this will do to America’s own economic interests. The world’s gradual transition from fossil fuels has opened up a huge global market, estimated to be $6 trillion by 2030, for renewable fuels like wind and solar, for electric cars, for advanced batteries and other technologies.”

The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON NYTCREDIT: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency

World, please do not for one second believe this country condones the actions of our rebellious president. We promise you will see us continue to fight back and mobilize, thinking of what is best for our future and for that of the world. We promise we are not robots and we will not ever become consumed by the lies we are being fed. We see what's going on and we don't accept it.

World, please realize that insanity is, in fact, not contagious. Please realize that Americans are mostly hard-working immigrants and children of immigrants who are just as dismayed as the rest of you with what is unfolding in our nation. All we can hope is we continue to uphold the values we stand for, both as individual states (New York, California and Washington have already pledged their allegiance to the endeavours of the Paris Agreement, and even petitioned to be recognized globally as doing so), as well as individuals. World, please bear with us through these next few years while we endure this roller coaster ride in the White House. We promise he will soon be gone and we can only hope our country does not make this same mistake twice.

Fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice - one-way ticket to bon Paris; That is, if you’ll still have us.

3 Min Read

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

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.