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How Your Home Office Can Affect Your Mood & Health

How Your Home Office Can Affect Your Mood & Health

Many of us did not cater for a workspace in our homes, because let’s face it, who would’ve thought that we’d end up working from home permanently due to a global pandemic? While there are definitely upsides to working from our comfy couches and beds, they aren’t the most conducive for not just productivity but your health as well. Our environment, both living and working, has a huge impact on our mood and health. For example, a messy home office can increase your stress levels, while a cramped one can leave your creativity being stifled. With working from home in some capacity becoming the new normal, here are some ways you can change up your home office to make it more conducive for your mood, health and productivity.

Feng Shui

Fengshui is the practice of arranging the elements of your living space to create balance with the natural world. The goal is to establish harmony between you and your environment. It is very important to have adequate air and space flow in your living space to ensure peace and calm.

Having a dedicated room solely for work is the ideal work-from-home setup. It allows you to step away physically and mentally from work at the end of the day. However, if you don’t have one, setting up your workspace in an open, airy space that fits in well with the rest of the elements in your home will allow you feel good and leave your mind at rest. Boxing your desk in between your TV and shelves might make you subconsciously feel trapped.

It is best not to keep your home office in your bedroom. Avoid bringing in the stress of work into your bedroom and let it be just for sleep. This has shown to improve your sleep quality and in turn your overall well-being.

Light

Light influences your overall mood and health in a major way. Having too little or too much of the wrong type of light can tire your eyes out, leading to eye strains, migraines and even depression in the long run. Your sleep pattern can also be affected by this, especially if you’re the type to use your phone or work till bedtime.

Natural light is most ideal light for our eyes and body. Ensure that there’s enough natural light around your workspace, without it interfering with your screen visibility. Take regular eye breaks by looking at green spaces or actually heading out to get some fresh air and that sweet vitamin D.

How Your Home Office Can Affect Your Mood & Health

Furniture

Where you sit is as important as how you sit. Slouching on your sofa and bed might be fun for a while, but you’ll notice your neck and back protesting in pain soon enough. Same goes for dining chairs and tables; they were not made to sit at for long stretches of time.

Invest in high-quality ergonomic chairs and desks that allow you to have good posture while working – your back will thank you in the long run. Ensure that your chair gives your back and neck adequate support, and that your desk is at the right height for you to look and type at your computers comfortably. Carpal tunnel and body strains are extremely painful and will affect your overall mood and health negatively if you’re not careful about your home office furniture.

Personalise Your Workspace

Having a clean and neat home office ensure that your mind also stays clutter-free. Use corkboards or whiteboards to pin up timetables and reminders for important deadlines. Place only essential items on the desk in front of you, that you will have immediate need for, and keep away the rest.

Clutter-free doesn’t mean sterile, though. Cheer up your workspace by putting some cute photos of your loved ones, inspirational quotes and décor that can lift your mood, in case of bad meetings or stressful deadlines. Having a little table plant can also help you feel refreshed as you look after it, and perhaps even inspire some creativity when you need it.

All in all, your home office should allow you to do the best work you can. Whether it looks like a rainbow vomited on it, or a completely minimalist dream with just a single device and a pen, it should speak to how you approach your work. Happy decorating!

Self-Care Rituals for the Modern Woman

Self-care is an important part of maintaining your health and well-being. Self-care goes beyond just treating yourself to a massage or be restricted to your night-time skincare routine. It is a holistic habit that you should whole-heartedly get into for every aspect of your life. Here are a few different types of self-care that can improve your overall well-being.

Physical Self-care

Physical self-care is the most common form of self-care that people practise. Your physical well-being is the most tangible thing that you can see, control, and improve. Having a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, improving your sleep habits, having a consistent skin and haircare routine – these are some important ways that you can improve your physical health.

Mental Self-care

Not enough is spoken about prioritising your mental and emotional well-being on a regular basis. Reflecting on your day or week is a good way for you to put things in perspective, whether it is to see how far you’ve come or just remembering the little things that made your bad day a better one.

That said, mental and emotional self-care doesn’t mean that you only must think positive and that you should strive to be happy all the time. It’s about accepting how you feel and trying to achieve a healthy balance of emotions, both positive and negative. Sharing your experiences and difficulties with someone you trust is a great way to help you start dealing with your feelings in a healthier way.

journalling-good-for-sleep-rawbought-journal-featuring-bernadette-belle

Intellectual Self-care

Intellectual self-care is about engaging in activities that help to stimulate and sharpen your mind. Work-related learning will help you get better at your job, but it is also important to grow your knowledge and skills outside of your career.

Staying informed of current affairs is an easy way to start your intellectual self-care. Reading interesting books on new topics, watching documentaries, and doing your own research are great sources for discussion points with your friends. Forming informed opinions on topics allows you broaden your perspectives and deepen your thinking.

Picking up new hobbies through short courses also helps you learn new life skills that can improve both your physical and mental well-being.

Social Self-care

Humans are social beings; we live in a society where we depend on each other for a multitude of things to get through our lives. Social self-care is about ensuring that your circle of friends and family are supportive and caring – especially for introverts, who may struggle with this part of self-care.

Making an effort to catch up with old friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while, having deep heart-to-heart talks with your children and partner, regularly spending time with those that make you feel better and uplift you – these are some ways you can improve your social self-care practices.

It is also important, however, to set boundaries. Being a people-pleaser or engaging in toxic relationships because they make you feel good for a moment is not healthy – create boundaries that prioritise your well-being and eliminate any relationship that endangers that.

Flatlay of pyjamas in lilac, bright pink and light pink from Rawbought, with scented candles and perfume for self-care rituals

Mindful Self-care

Mindfulness is about being present and aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. This is an effective way to regulate your emotions and reduce your stress levels in the long run.

Engaging your senses even for simple things like listening to music that lift your mood and remind you of good things, lighting a scented candle with soothing scents and even wearing high-quality materials that feel good on your skin can help you feel better both physically and emotionally.

These different types of self-care are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive, there are many different types of self-care habits that you can engage in – you can design your own ritual according to your routines and preferences. Some days, you might find yourself needing to focus on a certain type; it’s absolutely crucial to listen to what your mind and body are telling you and be in tune to what you need.

Stay Home Guide for Lockdown Weekends by Amira Faruq

Stay Home Guide for Lockdown Weekends by Amira Faruq Watching Netflix

Snap lockdowns are becoming more commonplace around the world, as we try to outrun this virus and get used to a new normal. These shorter lockdowns can leave us feeling frustrated, especially when you’ve “tasted freedom” and are asked to get back into lockdown mode. This means that we have to get creative with what we can do at home. I’ve compiled a stay-home guide with some of my own recommendations, perfect for those that need some inspiration for things to do on weekends during lockdowns.

Expand your tastes with some indie flavours

Binging Netflix was a huge part of our collective pandemic experience last year. As the months went on though, I felt like I had “finished” watching everything that I wanted to on Netflix and Disney+ and was all caught up on the popular shows and movies.

Nowadays, I actively look for obscure documentaries, local films and interesting podcasts that catch my attention. I’m a huge fan of true crime, and I can’t recommend the docuseries “Elize Matsunaga: Once Upon A Crime” enough! It’s about a woman who murdered her husband in cold blood, a case that shocked Brazil when it came to light. Though it wasn’t in English, I really loved how it was put together and it had me at the edge of my seat the whole way through.

I usually listen to podcasts as I’m multitasking around the house and I’m really loving “The Double Cleanse” hosted by James and Robert Welsh, a twin pair of YouTubers who specialise in skincare and make up. I’m hugely passionate about both of those topics so I really look forward to their recommendations every week. The thing I love most about them however is their hilarious sibling banter, it reminds me a lot of my own relationship with my sisters, so it’s a lot of fun to hear them chat.

Go Hard(back) on Reading

I’ve recently started to appreciate the beauty of reading from physical books on weekends. It gives my eyes a break from the screens and the weight of the book just feels great in my hands. At the end of my day, I usually have had enough of real life, so I like to curl up on the couch with a good crime or thriller novel to wind down and relax. The book I’m currently reading is called The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, a psychological thriller that is super captivating.

Workout from Home

Lockdowns usually mean that gyms are closed or heavily restricted. Keeping up your momentum for any fitness goals you might have for the year is very important and these lockdowns can disrupt that. In my experience, most gyms and personal trainers have very quickly adapted to this and regularly conduct “workout-alongs” on Zoom for those who are looking to continue working out from home.

If you’re looking for something a little different, I personally would recommend joining Les Mills, an online platform that brings together fitness instructors and workouts from all over the world and lets you stream workouts direct to your living room TV. They offer a huge range of workout options that cater to different fitness levels. My personal favourite is the BodyCombat class, a hybrid between martial arts and cardio that doesn’t require any special equipment and is a lot of fun!

Get Organising

Revenge shopping is a huge phenomenon that sweeping the world where people are making for lost time by overindulging in retail therapy. However, it’s not very sustainable and in most cases, you will find yourself not using or wearing what you bought.

Lockdowns and stay-home times are a great time for you to take stock of the things in your house and do a spring clean. A rule I’ve learnt from my sister Boutaina is that anything that I haven’t reached for in more than 6-8 months probably isn’t needed in the house. Your future self will thank you the next time you need to find something and you don’t have to dig through everything you have for it.

Treat Yourself

As much as we have gotten used to it, we should remember that we’re still in the middle of a global crisis. It is still a highly stressful time and you should cut yourself some slack if you find that you’re not coping well. You shouldn’t feel guilty for giving yourself a short break from the crisis.  

It can look like sending your kids to the kids to their grandparents for a staycation, ordering in from your favourite restaurant, working on your personal projects in your own time or just a weekend of doing absolutely nothing and letting your mind heal and refresh.

Rawbought’s Sustainability Certifications

As owners of the manufacturing process, it is important for us to hold ourselves to international sustainability standards in order to fulfill our commitment towards reducing our negative environmental impact and to have a positive social impact.  The following international sustainability certifications serve as a benchmark for us to reach and surpass while also giving our customers and partners reassurance of our commitment towards sustainability

Check out what our various certifications mean. 

LEED – Gold and Platinum Ranking

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognised symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. 

The main factors that are considered are location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environmental quality and regional priority. Each building is given a certain number of points according to these factors, and the sum of those points will determine the rating the building receives. 

Our factories have received Gold and Platinum ratings, which are 60-79 points and 80+ points respectively.  

MRSL Compliance

MRSL stands for Manufacturing Restricted Substance List and provides brands, retailers, suppliers and manufacturers with acceptable limits of restricted substances in chemical formulations which are used in the raw material and product manufacturing processes.

An MRSL is used as a tool by companies around the world to regulate the safety of chemical formulations used to make the raw materials that go into products and samples. The regulation of chemical formulations upstream, through an MRSL, protects workers, consumers and the environment. 

We aim to be 100% compliant by the end of 2021, where we adhere strictly to limits on restricted substances in chemical formulation in our manufacturing processes.

RCS and GRS

The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are international, voluntary standards that set requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody. The shared goal of the standards is to increase the use of recycled materials. The GRS includes additional criteria for social and environmental processing requirements and chemical restrictions.

As recycling is one of our key strategies to reduce our impact on the environment, holding ourselves to these international, voluntary standards help us stay committed to our sustainability goals. 

Higg Index

The Higg Index is a suite of tools for the standardised measurement of value chain sustainability, and it is central to the SAC’s mission to transform businesses for exponential impact.

We have been certified under two modules as manufacturers – the Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) and the Higg Facility Social & Labour Module (Higg FSLM). 

Higg FEM

The Higg Facility Environmental Module (Higg FEM) informs manufacturers, brands, and retailers about the environmental performance of their individual facilities, empowering them to scale sustainability improvements.

The Higg FEM provides facilities a clear picture of their environmental impacts. It helps them identify and prioritize opportunities for performance improvements. It assesses environmental management systems, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, water use, wastewater, emissions to air (if applicable), waste management and chemical management. 

Higg FSLM

The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM) promotes safe and fair social and labour conditions for value chain workers all over the world. Facilities can use the scored assessment to understand hotspots and reduce audit fatigue. Instead of focusing on compliance, they can dedicate time and resources to making lasting systemic changes.

The Higg FSLM assesses recruitment and hiring, working hours, wages and benefits, employee treatment, employee involvement, health and safety, termination, management systems, empowering people and communities.

SA8000 Standard

The SA8000 Standard is the world’s leading social certification program. The SA8000 Standard and Certification System provide a framework for organisations of all types, in any industry, and in any country to conduct business in a way that is fair and decent for work.

We are assessed on the following factors – child labour, forced or compulsory labour, health and safety, freedom of association & right to collective bargaining, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, remuneration and management systems. 

We are proud to have two of only five manufacturing facilities that have achieved the SA8000 certification in Bangladesh, as of 2021. 

SMETA

Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA), the most widely used social audit in the world, is Sedex’s social auditing methodology, enabling businesses to assess their sites and suppliers to understand working conditions in their supply chain.

This audit enables us to assess our suppliers, monitor health and safety for workers, and signal zero tolerance of human rights abuses such as child and forced labour. 

Better Work

Better Work is a partnership between the UN’s International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. It helps to bring diverse groups together – governments, global brands, factory owners, and unions and workers – to improve working conditions in the garment industry and make the sector more competitive.

Our parent company is the first company registered with the Better Work initiative in

Bangladesh and is currently a Cycle 5 participants, which is the highest level in the country. 

Being Our Own Manufacturers – The Difference We Make

Apparel manufacturing facility in Dhaka, Bangaldesh Rawbought is its own manufacturer and manufactures its own sustainable modal pyjamas and sleepwear which meet their sustainability goals
Rawbought’s manufacturing facility in Dhaka, Bangladesh

There are no two ways about it – the Earth needs saving. We have already started feeling the effects of climate change and more needs to be done by both individuals and corporations all over the world. It is especially important for brands in the fashion industry to take into account the environmental and social impact of our production. From design to last-mile delivery, it is crucial for us to engage in sustainable practices for the betterment of the planet and society.

At Rawbought, we are committed to environmental and social sustainability at every step of the way. We own the entire production chain – from design to production to sale. As such, we recognise the influence and impact that we have and strive to harness them to not just reduce the negative impact, but to have a net positive impact on the environment and society as well.

Being our own manufacturers allows us to make a large difference in pursuit of our sustainability goals through the following ways:

Knowing Our Suppliers

The dynamic nature of the fashion industry means that brands have a wide network of partners and suppliers that they work with all over the world. These complex supplier networks can result in brands not always having complete visibility over who they are working with and their quality standards.

Being our own manufacturers allows us to have wider control over who we want to work with. We are able to choose to work with only trusted partners and suppliers who align with our values.

Taking on majority of the responsibility of implementing environmentally sustainable and ethical production practices enables us to make a big difference and see great progress in achieving the industry’s collective sustainability goals. 

Speed of Implementation

Many brands are often stuck in long-term contracts with their production partners, making the process of pivoting to sustainable practices a long and arduous one. However, environmental and social impacts are being felt right now, and it is absolutely crucial for the global fashion industry to pivot to and adopt sustainable practices as fast as possible.

 As our own manufacturers, we are able to make decisions, and more importantly, act on them much quicker than usual. This allows us to set ambitious goals and hold ourselves to higher global standards when it comes to our sustainability goals.

Social Responsibility

Owning the production process also means that we personally employ the people who work on Rawbought’s merchandise.

Fair wage and safe and ethical working conditions are the bare minimum expected of any employer in the industry. We go much beyond that and actively invest time, effort and money into empowering all our employees to reach their fullest potential.

Some of our broader workplace inclusion initiatives include equipping employees with disabilities and from minority communities with professional and personal development skills to enable them to thrive in their careers. 

There is still much we can do in our pursuit of environmental and social sustainability. Being our own manufacturers also makes us more accountable for our own. We are constantly striving towards building a brand that promotes sustainable and ethical consumption, while walking the talk by implementing sustainable production practices.