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The Healthy Side of Video Games

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Video Games controller

Like every stereotype, video games come with their own sets of preconceptions.  We’ve all heard parents rant about how games teach children violence.  Statements like, you’ll rot your brain, go outside, and get a life are common parental reactions when their children spend too much time in front of the screen.   

Yet what happens when you look at this new genre of entertainment’s possible benefits?  Many changes and evolutions in tech have caused a great divide between the generation of boomers and their millennial counterparts.  Video games are one of the subjects that causes much controversy.  To balance out the popular opinion that videogames are unhealthy, here are a few unique points to consider:

Cyber Social Structures are Still Social when Cyber

The most commonly held caricature of a gamer is a young person, introverted, nerdy, and possibly socially inept.  Perhaps this is the picture painted to those who don’t play games themselves.  Ironically, many games do in fact have complex social networks.  Not only does a game allow someone to play with their friends, it provides opportunities to meet and play with new people, and keep in touch with people all over the world.  In fact, the majority of these game offers people access to social networks larger than most that exist in real life.  

Gamification

Gamification has made its way from games into numerous areas of life.  It’s not uncommon to see incentive systems at work changed from policy to point system in efforts to add a game-like spin in hope to raise employee enthusiasm.  

Game based learning makes light of the learning process by incorporating within it the essence of ‘play’.  Being able to play through complex scenarios offers the brain a healthy way to run through various simulations.  The real world is much less forgiving than a video game, which offers user a first, second, third, or infinite amount of chances to complete a goal.  

The Power of Strategy

One of the greatest benefits of gaming is the ability to strategize and strengthen problem solving skills. Games as simple as Tetris and as complex as Starcraft provide users with a creative ways to solve problems.  In order to solve a problem, it is often required to think both quickly and deeply about strategy.  

Being able to practice complex scenarios through games not only improves teamwork and group dynamic within teams, but also benefits each individual player mentally.  Studies have shown that games sharpen decisiveness, acuity, and many other mental attributes.  

A Game for Everything

One of the most fascinating aspects of video games is that as a genre, it has a ridiculous amount of diversity.  When you look at popular games they could be as different as Angry Birds on your mobile phone, or Brain Age on Nintendo Gameboy, or the Club Penguin social community, or as immense as the immersive World of Warcraft.  

Unlike TV shows, sports or any other form of entertainment, video games contain subject matter that is virtually limitless in its diversity.  Name any possible type of skill you may want to learn, and there is a game out there for it.  

Maybe the most popular examples of video game hits contain violence.  Maybe some people tend to spend unreasonable amounts of time in their basement playing.  Although these two facts do still stand true, video games remain an untapped source of creativity and endless utility.  What incredible  places and scenarios can these virtual portals take us?  How can they help to smear the line between imagination and reality?  And from all this, what can we learn?  Maybe now is the time to pay the vast world of gaming some due respect and admiration.  

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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Lifestyle

8 Easy Habits To Adopt In Your Workplace To Boost Your Health

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boost your health

Working a desk job is not the best for your health. However, many jobs require work on the computer that it feels unavoidable. If you work at a desk in an office, there are things you can do to boost your health physically and mentally. You may not be able to completely ditch your desk, but you can create a more health friendly environment in the office.

Clean your desk

desk

How are you with distractions? Are you someone who is bothered by every little sound or are you someone who would not notice if the filing cabinet was engulfed in flames? Just because you can work in a messy environment, doesn’t mean you should. Walking into a neat cubicle or office will help you remain on task and complete your work. Wiping down your keyboard and mouse will help prevent the spread of germs. Keeping your drawers organized will make locating paperwork more automated and will save time and drama. The same can be said about organizing your desktop. Keeping well-labeled documents and files on your desktop helps you navigate your computer quickly. That way, the next time someone emails you one minute after they need something emailed to them, you can drag and drop without a second thought!

Stock up on healthy snacks

Health habits

Healthy snacks sometimes feels like an oxymoron in a work setting. The standard snacks in offices are often leftover bags of chips, cookies, and soda from conferences and meetings. When that afternoon energy crash comes your way, you may be inclined to reach for some type of caffeine and a sugary or crunchy snack. To avoid the draw of Doritos in the break room, stock up on your own snacks to boost your health. If you are looking for crunchy, try some hummus and veggies or trail mix. If you looking for a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit and pair it with yogurt or nut butter for more satiety. Many healthy snacks can be purchased pre-portioned so you won’t be tempted to mindlessly devour a whole jar of peanut butter at your desk.

Bring your reusable water bottle

water bottle

If your workplace has a filtered water dispenser or a classic water cooler, you can use your breaks to walk over and hydrate. By bringing your own water bottle, you can reduce waste and monitor your water intake. If you use a smaller water bottle, it will allow you more opportunities to get up and fill up. If you use a huge bottle, you may be getting your steps in on the way to the restroom. Either way, stay staying hydrated is super important if you want to boost your health.  

Set timers and get up

regain confidence

People only have so much mental stamina when it comes to tasks. Setting timers is something that can help motivate you to completely dedicate yourself to a single project. When you know you only have 30 minutes of concentrated effort before you earn a break, it becomes easier to power through. When the timer goes off, give yourself a five minute break to walk around, stretch, or use the restroom. Use the break to tear yourself away from the screen and give your eyes a rest. This habit helps break up the day and drives productivity.

Headphones On Om

belkin

Working at a desk could have you feeling super plugged in all the time. This is a fact of the current workplace and it is pretty unavoidable. A lot of people turn to playlists and podcasts to get into their flow state. It is important to be mindful about what you are listening to. There are a ton of apps and podcasts that offer guided meditation and motivational soundtracks. You do not need 8 hours of guided meditation everyday but it is nice to break-up the trap music with some super positive vibes and take time to breathe and be in your body.

Ditch take out

morning rituals of entrepreneurs

While healthier options at restaurants are on the rise, packing your lunch is still the way to go. This is a habit that starts at home and carries over to the office. By bringing your lunch, you can tell exactly what is in it, control the portions you eat, and save some money. Eating complete meals that include protein and healthy carbs and fat can help your energy levels remain steady throughout the day. If you need more meal prep ideas to boost your health, you can find them here.

Eat somewhere else

smart food

Whether you pack your lunch or pick something up, try to sit somewhere that is not your desk. Aside from the fact that your keyboard and desk is really germy, it is just healthier all around to have a designated eating area. If your work doesn’t have a designated eating area, maybe you can duck into an open office or conference room. When the weather is nice you can try to get outside and boost your Vitamin D. Bonus points for inviting your coworkers and having a face-to-face conversation with them instead of messaging them back and forth on G-Chat.

Stand, Sit, Walk?

Vanguard

Desks are becoming more versatile these days. You don’t have to sit all day anymore! If you work from home, your desk situation may be more mobile, but office workers may not have that flexibility. Many offices are encouraging employees to get desks that adjust between sitting and standing. You may even work somewhere that allows desk treadmills to boost your health. Even if sitting is your only option, there are free online guides and resources on how to adjust your posture to alleviate neck and back pain.

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Why Amazon’s Second HQ Should Choose Nashville

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Amazon's Second HQ

Nashville is amongst 20 cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters site. The “Country Music Capital of the World” hopes to boost their state’s job market with the new Amazon Headquarters. Amazon’s second HQ expects to invest more than $5 billion to build the 8-million-square-foot facility and promises to create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 15 years. Before any decisions are made, the company created specific requirements to be met for each city. Some of the requirements include a metropolitan area with over a million people, a time distance of 45 minutes from an international airport, direct access to public transportation, and to be able to expand 8 million square feet in the next decade.

The Unemployment rate is on the rise in Nashville. City officials have their sights set on the on the jobs that Amazon’s Second HQ will provide for 50,000 residents. “It is going to increase the size of the economy,” University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox stated, “It is going to bring in a really highly skilled labor force that is not already there, a lot of community leaders. To have somebody with the worldwide vision of Amazon look at Nashville and say, ‘This is the place we want to be’ is really good for the brand.”

The aspect of new jobs may not be enough for some to welcome the online retailer with open arms. Residents of Nashville fear the new site would affect the housing market for low income families  in the process. “If you look at the size of Nashville, a headquarters like this bringing tens of thousands of jobs, it’s going to radically affect what the housing landscape looks like,” said Javier Vivas, Realtor.com’s director of economic research. Amazon’s decision creates an atmosphere for the conservation of gentrification not only for Nashville, but the other 19 cities in the running. “We have a housing crisis now and all this would do is throw gasoline on the fire,” said John Summers, a former Metro Council member who now leads the Coalition for Nashville Neighborhoods. “We cannot build affordable housing to replace what’s being lost by the rapid gentrification in all of our inner-city neighborhoods.”

The community of Nashville are now able to broadcast their opinions on Amazon. While state officials deal with the financial benefits, agencies and businesses within Nashville are now able to give insight on their city as well. This is why Amazon’s second HQ should choose Nashville.

If you are an agency from Nashville, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia

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Amazon’s second headquarters

Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.

While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.

The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration  of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.

Amazon’s second headquarters

Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.

A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”

Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.

If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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