Studies have shown that since the start of the pandemic many have experienced a decline in well-being, which does not come as a surprise! We've all heard the saying, "laughter is the best medicine" and though it may not be a cure for it all, it definitely is an action that decreases sadness and anxiety. If you're still working remotely from home, below are some quick and easy ways to bring laughter and joy to your next virtual team meeting. They're all less than 10 minutes and that's all you need to bring some fun into your workday!
If you know me then you know I love to sing! And who doesn't love a lip-sync competition? This takes some preparation as you want to give your team at least a week's notice that you'll be having a competition for the next team meeting. This will allow them to prepare by showing up with their song, prop, and anything else they might need to steal the show. You will have to limit the time to 30 seconds to 1 minute per participant and spotlight the contestant when they're performing. To do this on Zoom, tap the participant's name and then tap "pin" or "spotlight video." Have your audience score people on accuracy, dramatics, and overall fun. Have fun with it!
Zoom Tic-Tac Toe
You will need to have at least 9 people or more in order to play this game. On Zoom or your meeting platform of choice, have people in your meeting shift into “Gallery mode." Ask everyone, except for nine people, to turn their cameras off. The result should be the remaining nine people in three rows of three. (Essentially, it should look like a Tic Tac Toe board.) Pick two off-camera players as the game players. These two will take turns asking one of the people on-camera to make either an X or an O with their arms. The player who gets a line of three first will win.
If you enjoy the board game Boggle — where players use a random selection of letters to form as many words as possible in under a minute — you will love Voggle (virtual Boggle). There are two rules for this game: 1) people can only use each letter once per word and 2) each word must contain three letters or more. You must have everyone on your team (there is a maximum of 12 people) write one letter on a piece of paper. On the count of three have everyone hold the letters up to the camera. Give people 10 seconds to write down all the letters. Now give people one minute to create as many words as possible. This is a fun game because not only will this get people thinking, but it will have them laughing as well. Bonus for work-related words!
Nowadays companies, mostly in tech and creative industries, have come to realize the value of an office culture that is willing to be more playful. By creating an environment that is fun and relaxed, they hope to increase creativity, productivity, and improve things like employee retention and increase employee morale.
Below are some ways that employers and/or employee engagement managers can try adding to incorporate more play at work:
Sometimes life gets in the way and it can be hard to connect with your partner in a way that strengthens your relationship and create more intimacy. By giving them a simple at-home massage it can be a great way to boost intimacy and help them feel nurtured. And the great part is that you don't need to be a professional - all you need is some good massage oil (our favorite is Madrona House Apothecary Sensual blend which has coconut oil with sandalwood, tobacco, and clove, $25) and use these massage techniques that are quite easy to learn!
Neck & Shoulders
Now that Seattle has fully re-opened and it’s summer, it’s a good time to take advantage of working out outside, and of course indoors too! For most people, working out is a chore, another thing that needs to be checked off their to-do list, and is usually at the bottom of it.
During the summer I switch up my routine from being so regiment to playful. Think of working out as the equivalent to recess for adults! What I love the most about exercising is incorporating simple workout routines throughout my day. For example, when it’s laundry day I’ll do 10 squats in between transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer or when I’m at the office, I’ll do push-ups for every 50 emails I go through in my inbox. It may seem silly, but by incorporating small amounts of movement in between tasks helps alleviate stress and gets that once mundane task crossed off your to-do list! Lastly, don’t forget to drink plenty of water too.
Last Friday, President Joe Biden named Jessica Stern as the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons. This announcement made me feel hopeful as many human rights of LGBTQI+ persons are increasingly threatened in all regions of the world.
It also reminded me of an exhibit by Pakistani-Canadian artist, Zahra Siddiqui, with who I became familiar after reading her interview with the Huffington Post. She is a photographer, storyteller, and visual artist and is extremely intentional with her work to not only honor the existence of people of color but especially those in the LGBTQ+ community giving them visibility and representation. Siddiqui is best known for her work titled The Invisible Majority - a series meant to speak on the consciousness and civilization of our society. It's meant to empower the BIPOC and LGBTQI+ community as well as those who live along the margins of society. It speaks for the ones who exist but continues to not be valued or seen. I hope you find her work as inspiring and powerful as I do.
If you watch POSE or American Horror Stories then you might be familiar with Angelica Ross who plays Candy and Nurse Rita respectively. She is a trans woman, an actress, a transgender rights advocate, and a self-taught computer programmer who founded TransTech - a firm that helps employ transgender people in the tech industry. Founded in 2014, TransTech offers free career prep and courses on everything from coding to public speaking, as well as mentorship.
Before Ross began her career in acting, she was a webmaster for an adult website and taught herself skills such as photography and graphic design just from watching online video tutorials. As she began doing more work to customize the site, she eventually taught herself to code too.
Currently, Ross has been working on getting more LGBTQ+ centers across the country to become TransTech hubs. Prior to the pandemic, members could access the space Monday through Saturday and use that time to look for jobs, connect with mentors, or access systems to help them find freelance, remote work during their transition process. To learn more about TransTech and support its mission, please visit Transtechsocial.org.
You may know her as a former professional golf player, but Maya Reddy is also the Founder and CEO of Queer Asian Social Club and an LGBTQ+ activist.
A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Maya was captain of the Varsity Golf Team and a three-time NCAA All American. She turned professional in 2015, played on the Cactus and National Women’s Golf Association Tours, and gained status on the Symetra Tour before having to take a step back from the sport due to its exclusive culture and the many harmful bigoted experiences she endured. As a result of that culture, Maya focused her pain on fighting for and becoming an advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive policies in sports, working closely with organizations like Athlete Ally.
Today, Maya is dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ inclusive policies in sports and intends to use her J.D. to strengthen that work in inclusive policy formation, advocacy, and litigation defending trans and queer folks in athletics and elsewhere. What an inspiration!
It's hard to celebrate Pride Month without mentioning Vogue, and no, we're not talking about the magazine! Vogue, or voguing originated in the late 1980s and came from the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1960s.
William Roscoe Leake, also known as Willi Ninja, and the "Godfather of Voguing", and the Father of the House of Ninja, was very much a part of that scene. I first heard of him in the iconic 1990s documentary, Paris is Burning, which is on Netflix. The documentary focuses on drag queens living in NYC and their "house" culture (family) that provided a sense of community.
Willi was a self-taught dancer and even though he did not create this expression of dance, he perfected it and worked on refining it with clean, sharp movements. His influence can still be seen today. Kemetic hieroglyphics, the young Michael Jackson, Fred Astaire, Olympic gymnasts, and Asian culture inspired his movements.
It was through the House of Ninja that voguing moved from the underground ballroom scene to appearances in mainstream media. House of Ninja has had a fruitful history in the entertainment and fashion industries, even appearing in Madonna's Vogue music video. In the 1990s, House of Ninja began collaborating with major fashion designers including Malcolm McLaren to teach models — notably supermodels Naomi Campbell and Iman — about posture, movement, and posing through the art of Vogue. If you're interested in learning more about the ballroom dance scene, watch POSE on FX. It's a great to show celebrate Pride Month!
Today marks the start of Pride Month! To honor those who have played a pivotal role in pushing for LGBTQIA+ equality, I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite queer trailblazers for the month of June.
You can’t acknowledge Pride Month without mentioning Marsha P. Johnson, a Black, trans, bisexual woman, who lead the movement with protest and clashes for six days at the Stonewall Inn. On June 28, 1969 in New York City, police raided the gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting into Christopher Street outside. The protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, also known as ‘The Mother of Pride’. She organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This eventually became what we now know as the New York City Pride March and was the catalyst for the formation of similar parades and marches around the world.
What is your core? Your core muscles are the muscles deep within the abdominals and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. Some of these muscles include the transversus abdominis, the muscles of the pelvic floor, the oblique muscles, and the multifidus; this is a deep back muscle that runs along the spine.
Most people either have lower or upper back pain, mostly caused by improperly functioning core muscles. Having a solid core creates a foundation for all activities. All our movements are powered by the torso – the abdominals and back working together to support the spine when we sit, stand, bend over, exercise, and more.
Try these four exercises 2 to 3 times a week for 30-60 seconds for 3-5 sets.