Marieke Eyskoot is a woman of many talents: a sought-after speaker, presenter, sustainability consultant and now the author of This is a Good Guide, an inspiring guide for a sustainable lifestyle.
By Meri FrigRead More
“Society is reimagining and wrestling with identity at a global level – such as the right to privacy, migration and displacement and perception of women in the media. To help navigate through this change we look to uncompromising clarity.”
By Aleksandra MedinaRead More
By drinking water, our body receives the necessary fluid for the various functions; also our skin becomes beautiful and radiant. The advantages of cold water, however, go further than that.
By Lori LongoriaRead More
Making plans for your next vacation? Travelling slow is all you might be looking for this summer. Find our 5 travel tips here!Read More
Today's fast-paced world craves your attention every minute. It demands efficiency and success, and often pushing yourself to the last limit to achieve it. However, as known, there's a yin to every yang. Slow lifestyle manifests itself as a counter movement to our hectic lives.Read More
Words: Alexandra Mozgovaya
There is no space left for beautiful silence and inner reflection in our frantic worlds. Hi-tech, social media equipped information cult, action-packed lifestyles and a mindset striving for success 24/7 often separate us from balanced mental health and inner strength. It seems like it’s almost impossible to feel really present in our actions and unconditionally happy in the fast-paced daily grind, and it has become equally challenging to stay mentally fit and focused under pressure - "I must succeed", "I must be better than the others", "I must do more than I can physically cope with" are common, unending fear-induced mantras circulating in our minds every day, without us even paying close attention to these fears chasing us silently. Finding harmony and balance in every little thing we do in life is a key to becoming more aware of our actions and making the most out of our valuable skills, without destroying ourselves and our mental strength along with the cult of squeezing out more of our valuable inner batteries every day entirely. It's a real battlefield. We should reflect inwards, find the true meaning of our path and connect with our actions: only silence can help us to re-evoke our inner spirit, regain mental strength and re-evaluate the meaning of our actions and words.
Meditation is an ancient practice that dates far back in history, but we now concentrate on the latest facts and discoveries. For the past seven years, scientific world has brought us a lot of knowledge about meditation and it's correlation to inner peace, yet the topic is still being carefully studied.
In 2010, The Buddha, the Brain, and the Science of Happiness: A Practical Guide for Transforming Your Life was published worldwide by Rick Hanson Ph.D., consisting of a body of research on meditation’s influence on brain work. A year later, in 2011, Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman published the book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding peace in a Frantic World that describes the clear scientific effects of meditation and its studied effect on our mind.
Richard O'Connor, a psychotherapist with 30 years of experience and an author of popular books on the treatment of depression, happiness and bad habits, published his own book called Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You, which successfully proves that meditation is an effective practice helping to deal with emotional downs.
Thich Nath Hanh is a Zen Buddhist monk from Vietnam, rector of the Buddhist meditation center, author of more than 100 books on Buddhism, meditation and awareness. His book Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise also confirms there's a strong connection between meditation and easing our mind, proving that meditation is here helping to guide us to purposeful life, inner peace and living in the present.
We need silence and mere empty minutes for ourselves without any thoughts, worries, opinions, comparison and hypothesis chasing us. All quiet. Void. Information surrounds us everywhere and every minute, we are flooded with the flow of information without even being aware of it: we think, look back, analyse, reflect and contemplate and compare everything - the people, events, daily news and facts, all of it causing unending mental disdain. So we have to find a way to a moment of calmness and give our brains a rest. Meditation is that rest. We should all give ourselves a moment of silence and strive for purposeful living and re-evaluate the true purpose of our actions; we should seek and connect with our inner tranquil, and learn to be more present in today. Only that way the daily grind of silently striving for success and wealth and fame doesn't drain our delicate hearts and carelessly destroy our inner spirit, the true powers of life guiding us forward each day.
Don't worry about the religious aspect of meditation. Most practices, which are available for us, are not directly connected to Buddism, yet are natural to follow.
How to start a simple meditation practice after a hard day?
Meditation in 3 steps:
1. Sit as you like, no matter how – the key factor is personal comfort. Turn off sounds in you room and ask family members not to bother you for 10 minutes. You can close your eyes, or you may not, it is all about what suits the best for you.
2. Just sit and concentrate on your breathing: inhale and exhale. Don't try to control the breathing, just observe. During this time you will experience a constant flow of thoughts and ideas, you may have a desire to do something, to count how much there is to do this evening or tomorrow morning. Let these thoughts flow.
3. Observe these sentences and free them one by one, making sure you continue to concentrate only on breathing. Let go of all of your troubling thoughts and what-if-s one by one. The power of breathing leaves no space for emotionally-draining, negative thoughts. After 10 minutes you can return to everyday work. Meditation practice complete.
There’s a variety of meditation practices available, so you can do any you like. This one is simple and easy to practice whenever and wherever.
Results of meditation?
From scientific viewpoint, meditation can recreate neural communication in our brain – we feel much more positive about ourselves and experience happiness, reduced stress levels and reaction to anxiety. Physical brain abilities rise and happiness hormones in the body develop faster and more effectively. In most researches, meditation practice indicates growth and effectiveness in assistance to fight depression, anxiety disorders and other emotional worries.
Have a moment of silence, reflect inwards and be healthy!
Last month, the second edition of Green Fashion Week went live in Milan, Italy. In the light of the event, we discussed green living tips, climate change and the future of fashion with its founder Daniela Christiansson, also a model and ambassador of green lifestyle and beauty at www.greenmodelme.com...
Daniela, how did you grow interested in a more conscious, ethical lifestyle?
Being Swedish and growing up in Switzerland, I've always led a rather conscious lifestyle — as both countries take care of the environment and are healthy, it has been quite naturally a part of me. Likewise, I have always wanted to have a blog and 6 years ago I challenged my father telling him that I will set up a blog as guidance to sustainable lifestyle to influence people to change their habits and encourage them to believe that together we can cause less harm to Earth. Climate change is real and we have all the resources to fight it, we just all need to gradually change our consumption and lifestyle habits. I hope to influence as many people as possible with GreenModelMe, my team and partners.
What are your key lifestyle tips for adapting a more mindful approach to living in this speedy world?
Learn to disconnect and come back to the joy of small and simple things. Our society is just pushing us to buy and consume more things, which we ultimately do not need. We are a generation that is stressed, addicted to speed, constantly rushing and many individuals lose themselves by living through a virtual world or through someone else's ideals. Also, my father always tells me to slow down. We tend to do too many things all at once because nowadays we have the possibility to work and stay connected almost everywhere we are, which makes all of us never actually having a break in the end. It is an ambitious way and probably one of the best ways to succeed, but not for our own good.
Therefore, I suggest to switch off as often as possible and live in the present. Take some air, relax, do some sport, read, cook healthy and organic food and if possible, do it in a community to share and cherish those moments. Like in the old days.
I am travelling often, which makes me work on my computer or phone most of the time. It is a good opportunity, but I also oblige myself to take a break and look outside the window, sleep or listen to music, when I am alone. I think it is important to share and communicate as often as possible and be less connected in virtual worlds, because these are the opportunities — in real life — where you can create the best memories, which contribute to our happiness and health.
I would say the best approach is to enjoy the present and the simple things with what we have and not constantly keep looking for more. We can as well create a lot of different things with what we already have by reusing or mixing them, for example. We just need a little bit of creativity.
Consume less of everything (food, clothes, everyday products). Be creative and learn to reuse! Additionally, replace many products with better quality and eco-friendly alternatives. You can get a lot of tips from GreenModelMe — on improving your health, finances and the environment.
What are the visible benefits of leading a more conscious lifestyle? How do you preserve a balance and cope with stress?
As said above, I try to disconnect, enjoy the little moments, do some sport and relax, which definitely gives me more power short-term — a better mood, a better concentration and freshness (which is very important in my modelling career, to be relaxed and look fresh). As for the long run, it definitely contributes to my health, self-esteem and happiness.
You are the founder of Green Fashion Week hosted in Milan last month. What do your role and this experience mean to you?
I came to this idea with my manager, the owner of Major Models Milan, Guido Dolci, after attending COP21.
I was invited to COP21 by the UNFCCC to make their promotional video of the Climate Neutral Now Campaign in which I am a champion with my boyfriend, and where I was invited by the UEFA to assist at the SIIS (sustainable innovation in sport).
Everyone loved my idea of GFW and consequently a team was directly created to make it happen as soon as possible. The first edition took place four months later in April 2016 in Abu Dhabi, which was a beautiful success. We called it the Abu Dhabi Fashion Sustainability Experience involving Major Models and my partners of the UN to make a zero emission event.
I am involved with various eco-friendly brands and I develop projects with companies to make the event as green as possible. Furthermore, knowing what I talk about, I represent and promote the Green Fashion Week, that is in addition to presenting it and modelling for it during the event. This project is very precious to me, I always call it my baby and I really hope to make sustainable fashion the new trend — more visible and approachable.
You always seem to look so effortlessly flawless. What are the beauty tips you religiously follow?
1. Drink a lot of water
2. Eat clean whenever possible
Pretty natural, right?
Who is your 'green lifestyle' or 'green fashion' muse?
I don't have one in particular because I find that many people are an inspiration to me. The people working in the business, such as companies or designers, are the best coaches, as they have all the knowledge in the world. I love to learn in that way and I always keep myself updated with the latest news. I read articles and blogs as well, because I like to see different opinions and ideas. I also watch documentaries when I have time.
What are your latest go-to eco beauty products you would recommend?
Thank you for asking me the latest because there are so many great ones! I am a fan of Moroccan Natural, which is an organic skincare brand. I love their Cactus Oil. I find Dr. Hauschka very good because it is a complete organic cosmetic brand with both skincare and make-up products. Their philosophy is very much concentrating on what is best for the environment and the human's health. 100% pure lipsticks are very good and I am of fan of Kure Bazaar nail polish. They cure your nails as well.
What fascinates and inspires you the most about eco fashion? How to still look stylish with consuming less?
The story behind the clothes. Knowing how the garment has been made and learning about its components interests me the most, and the creativity, skills and innovation behind the garment always fascinate me. I love when the designers tell me about their values, the story of the garment and the materials they are using. We can do so many things with natural products and consume less, if we just change the production process and materials.
I have always used the same clothes several times and created different looks by just changing the accessories, which makes it easy to style a look. I don’t see the point in buying one garment knowing that I will only use it once. I usually shop what I like and therefore, it is sad to use an item only once, no? I see that as a waste of money and resources…
There are so many amazing eco-friendly brands out there. People often think that they are not beautiful, or look too basic, but they are completely wrong! This is one of the goals of the GFW — making people aware of the amazing conscious designers and spread the message of the issues to do with fast fashion and climate change. I always love to discover new eco brands — I have a list and I’ve almost lost track of it already, because the numbers are just growing. I love it!
We often wonder how sustainable living and slower lifestyle could be incorporated into our day-to-day lives. One approach that benefits living slow is making the most of your time — enjoying the various experiences life has to offer to the fullest. Travelling is a great example of that experience, and having a relaxing stay, without too many fancy, digital nuisances, is something we often strive for. Thanks to innovations in architecture and increasing interest in running a healthy lifestyle, some hotels have now become the epitome of sustainable design — creating a pure, holistic atmosphere for your stay. We took a glimpse into the environmental solutions at Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus in Hamburg, Germany, where modern architecture meets fully sustainable accommodation.
Words: Johanna Raudsepp
The extraordinary wooden façade prominently stands out in the middle of a busy city — made from mostly locally sourced certified wood, the Wälderhaus (which literally means ‘forest house’) is a modern forest delight. “Guests are fascinated by the innovative atmosphere within the hotel and how it is created,” says a Wälderhaus representative. “A nice bonus is, after a visit to the Science Center forest or an overnight stay, you can truly learn something about the connections between the city and nature. The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.” The architecture of the building, despite standing out with the use of materials, fits in with the cityscape.
The building meets passive house standards — it is self-sustainable and thus doesn’t damage the environment. In addition to a restaurant, which serves the guests only locally sourced food, the three-star plus standard hotel Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, with 82 rooms, offers space for special exhibitions and conferences. Here sustainability meets modern innovation to provide the guests with a 360-degree, relaxing holiday. Sleeping between organic cotton sheets and enjoying gastronomic treats at the restaurant ensures you will depart your stay with a well-rested, worry-free mind. As a cherry on top, the Wälderhaus features a green roof, planted with 9000 bushes, 500 hornbeams and various North German tree species.
A fully natural approach is surely gaining popularity. As people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, they hold higher standards in terms of sustainability when travelling, as well. The Wälderhaus meets the needs of a conscious traveller. “The guests want as little plastic or artificial in the room as possible, also little electrosmog or superfluous ‘energy eaters’, like minibars. The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.”
An eco-approach in the hotel world will definitely be more prevalent in the future. “The eco-concept pays off. We save about 30% energy in the forest house compared to a conventional hotel. The issue will hopefully become even more important. We like to be pioneers and show that it is possible to [be] sustainable, comfortable and modern at the same time. The number of 100% eco-hotels will surely continue to rise.” The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is truly a pioneer in this field, and we cannot wait to see more of such creative, yet environmentally conscious solutions in a modern, urban setting, leaving space for a slower approach to life.