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As we continue to listen and learn amid this pandemic, we are committed to providing you with upbeat, thought-provoking content worthy of your time. How are you staying connected, enriched and inspired these days? Have tips or resources to share? Pass them along and we’ll include them in a future issue.

Dear Readers,

We are sending this issue of UPBEAT on the eve of what is normally a bustling holiday of travel, large family feasts, and many bear hugs. But since nothing about 2020 is normal, we're sharing a few items that remind us of what we are grateful for — like the first time listening to new music or losing oneself in the artwork of a master. Most of all, we’re grateful to you, our friends, clients, and partners, for keeping us curious, engaged, and focused on a brighter future for all.

— Yours in gratitude, from all of us at Beth Singer Design

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HEAR IT FOR THE FIRST TIME

If you don’t already know TwinsthenewTrend on YouTube, you must check them out! Tim and Fred Williams are 22-year-old brothers who listen to music they’ve never heard before, from all genres, and share their reactions. Through the twins’ ears, eyes, and enthusiasm, we get to hear those songs for what feels like the first time. And they are turning people of all ages onto classics like Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, Janis Joplin, in addition to lots of contemporary artists. When they chose Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ from former President Barak Obama’s A Promised Land playlist — Obama himself paid them a surprise visit! Read more about the twins in People, where Alicia Keys responds, and also in the Chicago Tribune.

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STARRY STARRY NIGHT

Climb inside Vincent Van Gogh’s head and lose yourself for just a few minutes. This amazing confluence of art and music, featuring Jim van der Zee’s cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent,” will open your eyes wider than ever to the genius of the artist. Van Gogh’s paintings are brought to life at Atelier des Lumières, Paris, in a new production that retraces the intense life of the artist, who painted more than 2,000 pictures during the last 10 years of his life. This pioneering immersive digital exhibition by Culturespaces highlights the chromatic richness of his palette, as well as the potency of his drawings and his use of impasto.

GIVING EVERY STUDENT A CHANCE

Designing for nonprofits in the education field makes our hearts sing! We’re so proud of how our work for long-time client Advance CTE, a national organization that helps leaders in the Career Technical Education field create policy and resources so that ALL learners in every state are prepared for careers or college. Our recent update to the state profiles on their website involved interpreting and bringing their raw data to life through data visualization. We learned a lot about how to showcase important facts and results through infographics. It was a fun challenge to clarify the statistics and make them engaging to boot! Visitors can go to any or all of the state profiles using a clickable map, and can look at data across multiple states with a new comparison tool.

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THE HAPPINESS LAB

We may think that more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations will make us happier. But according to Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, we’d be dead wrong. In her podcast, The Happiness Lab, Dr. Santos walks us through the latest scientific research in positive psychology and shares surprising and inspiring stories that teach us new ways to find happiness. To combat increasing lockdown fatigue, check out her episodes on managing emotional burnout during the pandemic. And one of our favorites is “Help Others to Help Yourself.” Her popular (and free) online class, “The Science of Well-Being,” has enrolled more than 3 million people.

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QUICK FIXES, NOT FAST FASHION

Makayla Wray is pushing back against the fashion industry. With her mobile sewing shop on the streets of NYC, she urges people to repair or revamp their clothes rather than buy more. “I would like to normalize people rewearing and saving their clothing,” she says. In SoHo, buttons are a big business for her small cart. “People get rid of things because of not having a button. And it’s such an easy fix.” Seventy percent of the fiber produced globally each year ends up in a landfill or gets incinerated — that’s more than 37 million tons of waste. Upcycling is a huge challenge for manufacturers, but Wray believes consumers have the power to change the fashion culture. Bravo Makayla!

Dear Readers,

Though many of us are breathing a deep sigh of relief now that the election is behind us, we know that managing stress is still a big issue. You are not alone! This issue of UPBEAT will help you exhale your way to happy and navigate with grace — no matter what the world throws at you. Our client for almost two decades, Loudoun County Public Schools, promotes mindful practices as a cornerstone of a wellness initiative for its 11,000 employees. Our latest effort is a piece called “Mindful Mondays,” which brings wellness ideas and practices straight to employees’ inboxes every Monday morning. And now we want to share some of this wonderful feel-good content with you!

— Yours in wellness, from all of us at Beth Singer Design

ISSUE 21 | NOVEMBER 10 | 2020

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STOP WAITING TO BE HAPPY

Finding joy has been difficult in recent months. Preoccupied with all of our adult responsibilities during such challenging times, we grown-ups don’t giggle nearly enough. Laughing reduces stress, enhances immunity, and improves relationships — so try a comedy podcast or find some jokes online. And here’s another tip: hanging out with positive people can increase your chances for long-term happiness. Mindful Monday #4 has more great pathways to everyday joy.

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THE POWER OF MUSIC

Did you know that when you hear music to your liking, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine that has positive effects on mood? That’s right — listening to music CAN reduce stress, lessen anxiety, improve your exercise routine, and even improve your memory. Want to know how? Check out Mindful Monday #10, written by Pfizer Medical Team.

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FREE YOUR MIND

Rushing through your daily activities can mentally exhaust you and have noticeably negative impacts on your body and overall health. Shove your to-do list aside and try focusing on one thing at a time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and give the task the undivided attention it deserves — no phone, no interruptions, no multi-tasking allowed! Feel like you accomplished something? You did! For more mindfulness techniques, check out Mindful Monday #8, written by Healthline.com.

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TALK YOURSELF INTO POSITIVE

Are those unspoken thoughts in your head mostly positive or negative? Your answer to this question likely reflects your outlook on life and your attitude toward yourself. Mindful Monday #3, written by the Mayo Clinic Staff, looks at the effect of positive thoughts on longer life spans, lower rates of depression and distress, and better coping skills during hardships and stressful periods (like now!). We positively recommend these easy tips for improving your mindset.

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STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNITY — NATURALLY

Simple dietary changes have been proven to improve your body’s natural defenses and help fight illnesses. Zinc can reduce the duration of a cold by one-third. Olive oil is linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. And fermented food like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir increase bacteria in your gut, to give harmful invader cells a good fight. Read nine ways to easily boost your immune system in Mindful Monday #7, written by Healthline.com.

ISSUE 20 | OCTOBER 14 | 2020

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FORGET MENTORS. FIND YOUR HEROES!

Beth recently read two pieces by Sergey Faldin, editor of Tough Cookie and blogger for The Ascent on Medium.com. The first was 10 Things I Learned From Seth Godin and the second was 10 Things I Learned From James Altucher. There is LOTS to think about in just those two blogs, but one key takeaway is this: Mentors are overrated and instead you should pursue heroes. Mentors are scarce; heroes are abundant. Mentors have limited advice and time to spend with you; you can watch heroes all day on YouTube. Beth also loved Altucher’s suggestion of becoming an “idea machine” and the accompanying daily practice instructions.

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ARE COCKTAILS-TO-GO HERE TO STAY?

Walking home with a piña colada on a sunny day, pretending you are in New Orleans, might eventually feel normal — wouldn’t that be nice? On Eater, the website for foodies, Jaya Saxena suggests that keeping cocktails-to-go legal would be a great way to continue supporting restaurants and bars beyond the pandemic. Everything from the pleasure of picking up a Bloody Mary with breakfast, to suburban sprawl, to issues of race and class are thoughtfully presented. And check out their Eaters Digest for a host of podcasts on our new dining reality, such as “How ready are we for indoor dining?” and “What happens to outdoor dining in the winter?”

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ACTUALIZING AUDACIOUS IDEAS

Beth has always been interested in big ideas. “And I’ve had the chance to implement some of them while collaborating with wonderful colleagues and friends during my professional journey. These have been some of the most fulfilling experiences of my life,” she says. Sun 10/25 – Tues 10/27, Beth will be speaking at Taking the Lead, a Women’s Career Accelerator Workshop, about how to use your skills and talent to leave your legacy — and harnessing your passion to make those audacious ideas come to life. If you are interesting in fast tracking your leadership journey, please join her, along with a powerhouse of women leaders, for inspiration, networking, and actionable takeaways. Beth’s guests get a $50 discount with code JOINME20.

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THINK LIKE A NORWEGIAN

This winter, we could take a few lessons from our Norwegian brothers and sisters, for whom transitioning to fewer daylight hours — and all that comes with it — is normal. In The Guardian, David Robeson writes that a fresh look can make spending more time indoors, or outside in colder weather than you’re used to, more fun than you expect. You can reduce stress and learn to “actively cope” by recognizing your potential for growth and exploring new ways to connect with Mother Nature. As the Norwegians say: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”