Rotaro X The Werk
We chat to Workplace Wellness Expert (and AllBright's Wellness Ambassador) Christina Disler about our mental health, over consumption during this holiday season and the effects of fast fashion. Follow her insightful advice to slow down and keep your cool with the Power of Pause. Christina is the founder of Werk Lab, a holistic wellness + cowork community with a shared sense of purpose and The Werk in Canada.
Our life has been put on hold since March and now we are seemingly thrown back into the swing of things. How do we navigate this?
Raise your hand if you said you needed more time for yourself, and now that you do, you’re overwhelmed by a disorienting, confrontational stillness. We so often experience the recurring thought: “I wish I had the time”. Why do we feel exhausted and worn out from not much of anything? Why was it so hard to navigate this quiet chapter gracefully? This break was unexpected and unsolicited. As the world attempts to get “back to normal” and making up for our perceived lost time in lockdown, we are inundated with targeted ads tapping into this vulnerable state. The overwhelm of the lockdown “before”, and the new “now” can feel very real and challenging.
Slowing down in winter is indeed following the natural flow of things, and feeling lazy is far from being a sin. Our biology needs this time of rejuvenation and recharge from our longer days of summer which supports productivity and energetic exertion. For most, this might be the first year we experience our needed slow(er) winter.
We set big expectations for ourselves in a moment in which we have little agency in our lives: we’ve been spending a big part of our rainy afternoons wandering in the kitchen waiting for miracles to arrive but once you have a chance to slow down, explore and investigate what’s around you, what’s arising within you, once you can create a little space... you can step back and calibrate your choices, and you can find clarity in the present moment.
What does fashion have to do with this?
Mistakenly perceived as design’s frivolous cousin, fashion has been neglected by psychology and wellness. Fashion is a massive part of how we present ourselves and perceive others - one of the most common ways in which we find gratification. Fashion is one of the most polluting industries as well, as it’s widely known to be the second biggest contributor to global warming, adding 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year.
Ever heard of stress shopping? As a coping mechanism, shoppers spent £1.5 billion online on US Election Day this year, 82 per cent more than they did in 2016. Easing anxiety with the comfort of shopping can create a vicious circle: the guilt of mindless purchasing can disrupt the peaceful mentality you were looking for in the first place. Fast fashion garments are not made to age well, leaving us with regret when disposing of them and buying more. Avoiding instant gratification is key as it can be fleeting just as quick. Our mental health and fast-fashion do not mix well, and consuming fashion mindfully is becoming recognised as an act of self-care.
If we have to be honest, the winter months are truly symbolic of the cycle between mindless indulgence and sense of guilt. As soon as the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting darker, we’re bombarded by invitations to mindlessly indulge, overspend. Right after the ‘treat yourself’ motto, there’s January behind the corner. On the 31st of December of each year, the clock turns to 00:00, and with that the dark side of the moon, aka an overflow of “new year, new you” content preaching detox, diet, moderation. We’ve all had different experiences of 2020, and if we are able to look back and feel like we’re better off because of it, it won’t depend on what we have or have not achieved: it will depend on us being able to break a pattern and shift perspective.
Looking at our relationship to the quick, mindless purchase, we’ve compiled an offering of some just-as-quick prompts to empower you and support cultivating presence.
The Power of Pause Exercise:
Find a comfortable position, allow the air to flow into your lungs. Exhale slowly.
Then tune in, and make your choice. Or don’t make any: one might judge a lack of action, we admire it as the dawn of a revolution. Once you’re present, you are not at the mercy of anything outside of yourself.
If something new is what you still need, try fashion with a lighter footprint. We recommend renting your holiday outfits and checking out our resale platform for a special present to yourself or someone in your life.
Rent our full holiday edit here for a more mindful way to dress this festive season